How has depression impacted my daily life? Depression’s biggest impact has been on my relationships. Currently, I’m going through a divorce. My soon to be ex-husband also suffers from depression. We handle our depression very differently. I sought out therapy about two and a half years ago. He didn’t. I learned to communicate and process out loud, whereas he internalized everything. It was very hard on our relationship. Now, I have a new partner and he is an open book. I have stages in ways I communicate with someone new. At first I don’t want to communicate for fear of saying the wrong thing or upsetting someone. He asks me to communicate verbally versus texting when we are having issues. Often times my new partner asks me why I’m depressed. The answer is there is no answer.
Depression also affects my relationships with family members. My family knows that I have depression and they know I’m on medication. What they don’t know is that it hurts when they don’t ask how I’m doing. When I was released from the hospital they all asked me how I was doing. That stopped about a week later. So how do I deal with it? I put on that fake smile that we all know so well and pretend that I’m ok, even when I’m not.
Vacations are hard for me sometimes. I try so hard to be happy and have a good time but, I’m not going to lie, it’s difficult sometimes. I’ve become very good at hiding my depression because I don’t want to be a bother to anyone while on vacation. We should never feel like a burden to anyone. If the people close to us really care, they won’t be bothered by us telling them that we truly aren’t ok.
Let’s talk about depression and friendships. I don’t have many friends but the friends I do have are pretty understanding. They get that sometimes I don’t want to do things because I’m having a difficult day. They also know that sometimes they have to convince me to do things because I’m having a difficult day. I’ve found that it’s important to have friends that don’t judge you or get annoyed because you have a mental illness. If they truly care, they won’t be bothered by hearing about your illness at all because they know that an illness doesn’t define the person we are.
Depression and work life is very hard for me to manage most days. Not many people know about my mental illness because I was told not to talk about it while I’m on the clock. A few of my work friends know and I tell them when I don’t feel like getting out of bed and coming to work. One of my coworkers tells me that she’s glad I come to work even when I don’t feel like it. Hearing those comments makes me feel like someone cares and understands that mental illnesses shouldn't be something we’re shameful of or should have to hide.
One thing I’ve found that helps make my depression manageable is journaling. My journal is my safe place because I know no one will read it. I don’t even re-read what I write because if I do I usually feel depressed again.
So, what have I learned over the past few years? My illness doesn’t define me. If the people close to me truly care, hearing about my illness won't bother them. It’s important to have a good and safe support system in place. Tell the people you trust about your illness. Don’t feel like you have to hide depression. Find a good therapist that you click with! Be open to medication. It’s ok to not be ok. It will get better.
This article was written by MyDepressionTeam member Stephaine as part of the Member Spotlight Series. Stephaine enjoys writing, photography, ghost hunting, and elephants.
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