When you live with depression and anxiety the world is your oyster…
I’ve had a tough time trying to put together a BLOG that’s worth sharing recently. Not from a lack of words but from a lack of inspiration. I’ve written many and then relegated them to a growing pile of ‘perhaps, one day’. It’s a pile of ‘works in progress’.
It’s often difficult for those living with, those living with depression and anxiety to know exactly what to do. How do you deal with someone who appears to be a pathetic ’non-coping’ sook with an illness that seems at best, a cop out? It’s an answer I’ve longed to come up with, not just for myself, but for those around me.
One aspect of depression is that it allows us to build a self-fulfilling perception of inability. That inability can then be fed to a point where it’s our depression that validates our inability to do something rather than our unwillingness. It’s not acceptable to be unwilling but it is acceptable to be incapable.
I have a theory. It’s based on my own experience so it might not apply evenly, but I’m going to tell you anyway.
If you’re not willing to do what it takes to treat your clinically diagnosed mental or emotional illness, you need to be smacked!
There I said it.
Untreated mental and emotional illnesses impact heavily on the people around us. Our partners, our parents, our children. It interferes in our workplace and our ability to earn an income and support our families and ourselves. And yes, I include myself in this. Frankly, after a while, feeling bad starts to feel good. The thought that we might be accountable is frightening and we avoid wellness because it scares us. Feeling bad allows us to opt out of the hard things in life.
My recent relegation back to the pit after devastating personal events has ‘knocked the stuffing’ out of me! And, after working hard to get out of one all-consuming pit, I’m back to riding the high seas of ups and downs as I rebuild my resilience and plan again for recovery.
Treatment comes with it’s own overwhelming fear that we are somehow not ourselves when we’re being treated. That somehow the medication changes the essence of us. It messes with our head and can make us feely foggy or create brain zaps. It’s even listed on many antidepressant medications that the medication may cause depression and anxiety and even suicide. Under the care of a specialist, these rare side effects can be managed and medications changed to ensure you are on the correct treatment with none or few side effects. But like all medical treatments it can take time to reach manageable outcomes or recovery.
This, to me, in the context of being able to get on and do life, seems a small price to pay. It’s in the planning to recover that we have power. If we are planning to recover and doing what’s necessary with expectancy, we can live meaningful rewarding lives. Of course the depression itself generates rumination of our failures and lack of worthiness that can be difficult to redirect. That’s why recovery planning and treatment can be crucial in the fight for wellness.
If you’ve tried the treatments and you’re still broken, okay. There are some things that can’t be fixed. That’s when we need to get on with building a life that accommodates our incapacitation. If you’re coming back from a pit, it can take time to get back on your feet, build your confidence, but it can be done.
If you’ve had your spleen removed you need to take antibiotics for ever. If you have Diabetes you need to take insulin for ever. If you’ve received an organ donation you need to take antirejection medication for ever. In these physical conditions sufferers will do and take anything to live beyond their illness. Depression however, with it’s incessant whispering of unworthiness convinces us that recovery is impossible and we should expect to be a useless burden.
You may not be able to stop the whispers but you can start making plans.
From Alan Lakein: Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.
If you need to talk to someone NOW call Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Deb Shugg is an awarded businesswoman, wife & mother, author and a sufferer of depression and anxiety.
If you need help to deal with your symptoms see your doctor or contact an organisation such as Beyond Blue.
(Abuse of another person is NEVER okay. If you are being abused or, if you are an abuser please seek help.)