I am sitting right beside my sliding glass door in my condo. It’s the only place that lets the sun in. I am fighting sitting here because it’s cold and lighter than I like. I prefer the dark and warmth of my couch these days. But the light is good for me. For my depression.
Those of us who have experienced trauma will experience depression. To what degree will be different in all of us, but we will experience it. It is incredibly difficult to explain to anyone else – even someone who deals with regular depression – because our depression is a result of our trauma.
Yes, it could still be that it has caused a chemical imbalance, and possibly medication is needed, but even that is difficult to do since many medications take away our ability to feel which we need to process our trauma.
I am still on a small dose of depression medication. I am unable to go off of it yet, but I can’t go on anymore or I cannot feel – good or bad. Yet I am severely depressed. Right now more than at other times. We are all different – for me it comes and goes as to how bad – but it’s always present.
I have no joy or the ability to feel it. I cannot laugh. I do not smile. Small things make me angry and irritable. I tend to complain often. I feel a heavy weight on me like I am carrying something on my chest. I used to overeat when depressed now I lose my appetite. I am staying in bed longer though I don’t sleep well. The list goes on. My guess is you relate to at least part of it.
For us depression is a reality. Our hope for it to dissipate lies in working through our trauma. What I never realized were many of the symptoms of depression were things I have beat myself up for…and still do sometimes. Things which people tell me I just need to get over, or be a better person about.
Like complaining. Did you know a person who is irritable, complains a lot, or gets angry easily is usually depressed? Not trying to be a difficult person – it’s part of their depression.
This was actually one of the first signs I showed of depression. I was teaching in a job I once loved and I started complaining to everyone about all the little things that annoyed me about my job. People thought the same thing I did – that I needed to “get over it”.
You don’t “get over” depression. I remember that now when I hear someone irritable and complaining about something – I wonder if they are struggling with depression?
Other symptoms of depression include:
- Irritability and anger over small things
- No pleasure or loss of interest in everyday activities
- Inability to sleep or sleeping too much
- Lack of energy – everything takes a lot of effort
- Feelings of guilt, self-blame – worthlessness
- Trouble thinking, concentrating or remembering things
- Unexplained physical problems – aches and pains you have no reason for
- Overeating or loss of appetite.
- Thoughts of suicide, death, attempts at suicide
- There are more – I haven’t listed all of them…
Things which I have found helpful include:
- Some type of exercise every single day – I walk everyday – I have to push myself lately and break up the time but I am still getting it in.
- Keeping consistent bedtimes and times you wake up every day.
- Getting sunlight if you can – even in the winter – I have a small sunlamp I can use which I struggle to make myself use, but it does help. You can buy them fairly cheap online or at some stores. – or force yourself to sit by the window or door.
- Ask your doctor about taking Vitamin D. I have mine tested each year with my annual physical. Before I started taking it it was quite low. Most of us do not work outside all day so we do not acquire near the amount of Vitamin D we need. You have to advocate with your doctor to get this done – they will not do it unless you ask. Most of them see no reason, yet it can be vitally important to those of us suffering from depression.
- Making sure I don’t overeat by not having foods in the house that tempt me to emotionally eat.
- I have found sugar makes depression worse and also makes your body want to overeat because sugar makes you crave more food and sugar. Sugar gives you a high and then a low low – causing you to feel really tired and lethargic adding to your depressed state.
- Keeping my therapy appointments.
- Taking one day at a time – sometimes minute by minute.
- God – He is the ultimate One to help us. However, do not feel bad when seeking God does not bring relief. He is there for us, but He may not take our depression away.
Overall, we can do all we are told to do and depression can still hit us like a rock – like I’m feeling today. That’s when we can just pray, hold on, and keep going the best we can with God’s help. I forced myself to come sit by the sunlight and write this instead of laying on the couch. The little things get us by.
Don’t let guilt of depression get to you. You will only feel worse. It is not your fault you are depressed. You can do everything to try to get better – but ultimately it’s going to take time to resolve our trauma. It’s our journey.
Stay the course. Keep seeking God. He’s our strength. I know He’s the only way I will get through this day. We’ll get through this with His help. We already know it’s not easy. I pray your depression lets up and you have some brighter days. I hope to see them ahead too.
Always remember you are not alone.
This is not a complete list of symptoms or ideas to help and I am not a professional so this should not be seen as professional advice. If you believe you struggle with depression I encourage you to seek professional help.
© 2019 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.