Depression. One of those words that is used so much and so little understood.
Doctors love depression. It’s a tick box, and once you got a tick, in any box, they can give you something, or more likely, not have to bother with you again!
It is one of those questions most asked of, or about, me! Is he depressed? Are you depressed? I want to scream, yes, I’m depressed, who wouldn’t be, be told they have something that they can’t do anything about and it is going to kill you?
I read yesterday that ‘someone recently diagnosed with dementia is likely to experience a whole range of emotions, including shock, fear, disbelief, grief, loss and anger.’ This struck a painful chord with me. I know this news will depend on the state of the person being diagnosed, but for me, it was just a point of confirmation of something we all already knew!
The thing is, those emotions mentioned were with me all the time and reinforced every time I went through more of the same questions and test by an ever-increasing number of new faces. My depression increased with every visit because there was no help dealing with or even acknowledging those feelings being compounded!
Then the diagnoses and still nothing other than tablets to suppress those feeling. When I say suppress, I mean not to help, relieve, or remove those painful emotions, but just to remove my ability to put into words my feelings.
The strange thing is, I hide it so well! I do this to such an extent; I don’t even notice I’m doing it! So, why is this the case? Why am I not expressing my feelings? Why am I emotionally stunted?
Medical suppression is one reason, but as I remove more of the drugs I’ve become dependent on, I’m starting to be able to think, question and express my thoughts.
I believe I’ve found a significant reason for my ability to hide my emotions and, thus, my depression. It goes back to my childhood. I’m the youngest of nine. We grew up in a caring home, but one that didn’t really show emotion! I’m not saying there wasn’t care and love within the family; it just wasn’t shown. I can not recall when my Mum held me close and told me she loved me, but I knew she did. I wonder how she ever managed the way she did. She was, and in my mind still is, an amazing woman! As for my Dad, this was not something you did. A stiff upper lip, an English way, don’t show any emotions, hate, love, or fear! The only emotion I can recall well is that of anger. When my dad got angry the world knew of it. I think this is why I’m so easy to snap and show the only emotion I know and that is anger! This was something I grew up with and so routine that it was the way it was. I’ve never thought about it till now. I don’t believe I was missing out on anything, but it certainly shaped the person I am today.
I’ve noticed in my later years I’ve become more emotional. I can get upset by all sorts of things, and I cry too, which is something I’ve never done more than a few times in my life. Not in front of anyone!
When I text my family, I always end with X and maybe a heart, but I still feel slightly uneasy about this, as if something deep inside is questioning why? I think this is the same for my brothers, but not so much for my sister.
I’m not sure if this emotional awareness that seems to be developing in me is a good thing or not. I only know that I am depressed, but it is only when I’m sitting there alone on my bed, talking to myself, feeling lost and wondering what to do to end all this that I know I’m depressed!
This ability that I have to hide and deal with emotions is not a good thing. I will never be able to talk about my feelings other than by writing them down. I’m just unable to express myself without breaking apart in floods of tears—that sign of weakness I have to hide.
Depression is a single entity, and it can’t be treated by drugs alone. People have to learn to be emotional, and this must start early in life. Without emotions, what are we, just surviving beings. Emotions are what makes us human. Understanding our emotions, sharing, considering, and reacting to them is vital for a genuine caring world to exist!
For me, it is too ingrained, but I hope those I love learn the folly of my ways. Show and share your emotions, it is what is you, and it will do more for depression than any tablet, drug, or drink!
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