By Joey Askew
Is anyone else struggling with depression right now? I’m a massive mental health advocate and frequently share my own experiences of borderline personality disorder. Yet I still find it so hard to stop hiding my depression. And though I would never judge anyone else for having these plaguing feelings of zero-energy, self-doubt and frustration at being almost completely unable to function, I find I’m judging myself to the max. Why can’t I just meditate more to fix this problem? Where the hell has my motivation gone? Why can’t I just kick myself up the ass?
Trying to hide…
Depression makes me way too isolated, as I literally try to hide what I feel are my “inadequacies”. I’m afraid to stop hiding my depression. I don’t want my friends to know I am panicking about going out because I feel too overwhelmed. I don’t want my family to think that I’m not living up to my goals of being a therapist in training right now. On one level I know this is not me. I know I am a motivated, enthusiastic and passionate person. But the literally physical pain of struggling to get out of bed or concentrate even for five minutes makes me doubt myself to the core.
What are people going to think of me? I have deadlines to meet and usually love my studies. This leads to me feeling incredibly frustrated with myself, even though I know this frustration is only making the depression worse. But then if I “give in” to this tiredness and “reward” my body with the sleep and rest it is so desperately trying to enforce, will I prolong the depression or make it worse in some way? I feel I should kick myself up the arse and “stop making excuses”. But at the same time I know I literally can’t. I am giving all I have and there is no energy left right now.
My therapist says I am not being kind and compassionate towards myself, and even while I know this is true I feel guilty. Guilty for not making deadlines. Guilty that I’m not even able to reply to friends’ messages right now. Guilty that I can’t function as my real self. Guilty that I feel like I’m letting others down as a result of all of this.
The question is, what really is the best thing to do? I’m guided that the answer is most probably in how I would respond to a friend if they were in my situation. What would I say?… and what would you say?
How to stop hiding my depression
For now I’m choosing to embrace the tiny bursts of energy I still have left, to remind myself that this is not my fault and that everything changes. I know I will be back to my usual self in a few short weeks. I choose to listen to my body and give myself rest because I know this will shorten the depression considerably. I choose to learn as much as I can from this experience, stop blaming myself, and talk about depression with you lovely people rather than apologising or hiding myself away in fear.