Depression is a serious condition that is all encompassing for the individual sufferer. It is sometimes seen as a mental problem or an emotional weakness of sorts by people who do not understand it. But sufferers of depression know that it can permeate all aspects of your life.
Depression can begin as a mild depression and then over time it can grow to a more serious condition that interferes with daily functioning. Some people have depressive episodes that tend to pass in time, while other people feel like they have been sucked into a black void that will not let them out.
It can almost feel like an external entity is either crushing you down, or pulling you into an altered state of consciousness that becomes like a prison. This prison is filled with darkness, sadness, hopelessness and apathy about things that you once cared about doing.
Getting any motivation, or traction in your life can be difficult to impossible, if you are suffering from depression. It can be hard to do activities, work, or even clean the house and do basic daily tasks. This can quickly begin to lead you into a downward spiral that is very hard to get yourself out of.
One element that is common with severe, or chronic depression, is the element of shame. There is sometimes toxic shame to begin with. That can be something that goes back to childhood. It may be shame that other people programmed you to feel.
If you grew up with people that were critical about your feelings, the way you expressed yourself, or critical in general, then you are probably carrying toxic shame in your subconscious. If you were abused physically, or otherwise then you may be carrying a feeling of shame from that abuse, even if you are not aware of it.
Why would someone who was abused be carrying shame about that, when the abuse is the fault and choice of the abuser?
This is a question that is often asked by people who did not have an abusive childhood, and have never been in an abusive relationship. There are aspects of mental abuse and emotional abuse that program shame into the victim. People who have not experienced emotional abuse or mental abuse have trouble understanding this, but it is very real.
It can be difficult to talk with people about your childhood, and also about adult abusive relationships because they may invalidate what you experienced. This makes you feel worse, and it reinforces the shame that you already feel.
The other aspect of shame that is often felt by sufferers of depression, is the shame of feeling that there is something wrong with you because you suffer from depression.
Other people around you function better than you do, and they seem to be more equipped to deal with life than you do. If you feel like the depression is something you have to hide from others, then that can lead to feeling shame about it.
Depression is not something you have to feel shame about, but it is not easy to just turn that feeling off. Shame is one of the most difficult emotions to deal with because it can feel out of your control. It feels like an entity in itself that takes hold of you because you deserve it to.
Feeling guilt about something you have done wrong is different than shame.
Deep seeded shame is extremely painful and it makes the person feel like they deserve to be punished. You might even feel like the depression is your punishment for being an inadequate person.
There is nothing that is inadequate about you. Even if other people are able to deal with their lives better at this time, it does not mean that they are better or more deserving than you.
Shame is an emotion that is programmed into you. You feel ashamed in comparison to other people. It could be that you have been compared unfairly to people and situations that are not the same as you. You may have grown up with disordered parents who manipulated your feelings, in order to superimpose the feelings they wanted you to feel, in place of the true feelings that you had about things.
All of these childhood experiences are carried in the subconscious because it was the time that you were learning how to interpret the world, your reality, your feelings, and your place in the world. If you were made to feel that you had a lower place in the world than other people do, then this belief was filed into your subconscious brain.
Just because you may feel like there is something about you that makes you less than others, does not make it true. It is just the programming and the false beliefs that were put into you.
As an adult with depression, there is stigma that you have to deal with. The perception by the general public about mental illness and depression is often not correct.
The media tends to misrepresent aspects of depression and mental illness. Most people who have never experienced any mental illness do not have a real picture of what it is like.
If you are suffering from depression, you may feel isolated from others even when you are in a room full of people. You feel different and broken somehow. The inability to be able to communicate about how you feel and what you might need, can make you feel like an alien on an unfriendly planet.
The feeling of isolation can make the depression worse. There is a need for understanding and connection, but you are afraid to be made worse by being invalidated, minimized or disbelieved. You feel like you are surrounded by a strangling darkness that no one else can see.
It can help to know that you are not alone. There are many other people who feel like they are the target of this crushing dark pain. It is not a sign of your intelligence or you ability to be competent or functional. Many depression sufferers are extremely intelligent and creative.
The more isolated you become and the more alone you feel, the worse the depression can become. Forcing yourself to be among people does not always help either. In fact it might be something that makes you feel even worse and more alone.
Being around people who do not understand mental illness or depression can make you feel out of place, and like you do not belong or fit in with anyone in the world. But this does not mean that you do not belong in the world, or that you cannot find people that you do fit in with.
Depression is physically painful, as well as emotionally painful. Strong emotions are always felt in the body. You may even be able to identify and point to the most painful places where you feel emotional pain.
Over time the places you feel the physical pain from depression may manifest illnesses and disease. Carrying shame can also lead to physical illness.
Emotions that are repressed, held inside, or not healed can cause all kinds of diseases and sicknesses, including heart conditions, gastrointestinal diseases, cancers, arthritis and joint pain, migraines, chronic fatigue syndrome, nervous system disorders and more.
If you have fatigue and chronic pain, in addition to depression, then it becomes a loop that is hard to get out of, where one things leads to the other.
Insomnia and anxiety disorders are also common with severe or chronic depression. Sleep deprivation from insomnia can increase the depression and also illnesses. Many of these aspects of depression end up feeding back into it. It can feel like you are literally being attacked by your own body, your brain, or an outside force.
Even though it seems like no one understands what it is like, it is important for you to know that you are not alone. You are not crazy or imagining things. The pain from depression is very real, and worse because it is invisible to others.
Invisible disorders can be the hardest to deal with because it hard to get validation about your day to day reality. You feel like you are living in a different reality than other people. In many ways you are living in a different reality from most other people, but there are others who feel the same way that you do.
You are not alone. It is important not to minimize your feelings, even if it seems like the people around you do not know what you are going through.
Allow yourself to accept the reality you experience as valid. Believe that you are just as worthy and deserving as anyone else, and that having depression does not make you less than anyone else.
You may be having trouble getting through the day right now. Things may really be harder for you to do than they were before, and than they are for many other people. Be kind to yourself and allow compassion for yourself.
Allow yourself to feel compassion for what you are going through and for how it feels to have this depression pulling you in and surrounding you. Accept this depression as your brain letting you know that something is demanding attention.
You are very important and there are times when your brain is trying to protect you by letting you know that something really needs attention and care. Do not judge yourself for having depression, or for having difficulty with daily things because of the depression.
There is no benefit if judgement, and it will just make things worse. If you are feeling judge mental towards yourself, then try to identify where this judgement is really coming from. It may be someone else’s words that are actually speaking in your head, and not your own.
It is necessary for you to care for your depression, just like you would care for a sick friend or a sick child. Care for yourself and care for the depression you are feeling. Look inside of yourself and see what needs are not being met.
It is not selfish to take care of yourself, or to be extra compassionate towards yourself during depression. It is a serious thing that is demanding your attention and care.
Love yourself as much as you would love another who was suffering.
Find ways to nurture and heal yourself. Connect with others who understand. You do not have to base your feelings about yourself on those beliefs of other people who do not understand mental illness or depression.
You are not inadequate and you are not an alien. You are not exaggerating the way you feel in your own head and your own body. You know how you feel , and only you know how serious your depression is. It cannot be judged by anyone outside of yourself.
Allow kindness and compassion to flow towards yourself.
Accept kindnesses from others and begin to let go of any negative beliefs about yourself that others have put there. Your past does not define you, and you are allowed to love yourself just as you are at this moment in time.