Ironically, to me, Personality Disorders may be misunderstood but are also able to be explained by listing traits AND where they come from, how they look, treatments to deal with, etc...
Depression in many ways stands alone. In fact, an argument could be made that its the highest stigmatized Mental Illness. I have BPD/NPD and no one has ever said "Why do you have this?" (In a what did you do to cause it tone of voice) On the other hand depression is often received by others with comments like "What do you have to be depressed about?"
That's tough. I can explain what BPD is like for me, I can write at length about how my narcissism acts out, what it looks like. I can point to signs and symptoms. I can articulate treatment, mindfulness, being in the moment and general DBT treatments.
What I can't do is point to what exactly causes my depression. Sure, I have experienced much loss in my life, abandoned often. Those have led to my BPD/NPD without any doubt. They have also contributed to my depression.
Holiday's are depressing for many people. For those diagnosed with clinical depression its heightened by observing everyone presumably enjoying themselves while you feel miserable and let me assure the holiday's easily draw the least understanding of depression by others that are not depressed. The expectation is that somehow the holiday will pull you out of "depression" while it actually does the opposite.
Being depressed isn't just being sad. We must understand that. It's the loss of joy in people, activities, places, etc....that used to bring you joy. Imagine thinking of your favorite thing to do, go, who to be with then imagine for reasons you cannot explain yourself your interest drops, literally, to zero.
Those of you that have read my blog, or parts of it, are aware that I was denied disability and am in a final appeal. The toll it has taken on my family, specifically my kids, has been almost unbearable. They have had to give up so much...the rules governing disability and the length of time have led to meager means of existence.
So...back to depression and the quickness and pain it can bring on. Saturday morning I walked into the bedroom and my 2 girls were singing a Christmas Carol. It about destroyed me. They are 13 and 7, hoping...no believing in their hearts there is a Christmas Miracle.
Knowing that none of that will happen tears me apart. It isn't about the tangible gifts, its about the hope they have balanced against the reality of their lives...but they hope.
So depression can come in many shapes and sizes. You should never presume to know what its like to walk in anothers' shoes. We need to understand that sometimes we can't just "shake ourselves out of depression."
So what can we do? Is it truly hopeless? Well my friends I am here to tell you that it really isn't hopeless. We are only in a season of our life, not our entire life. That's what I tell my wife and myself. Here are some things you can do that may help
1) Instead of waiting for others to reach out to you, contact a friend you haven't heard from in awhile. It can be very soothing to talk to an old friend that was a part of your life at a different, perhaps happier time.
2) Find a way to practice some self soothing. Isolation does not count :-). Whether its reading, listening to music, watching a season of a series on Netflix...whatever it is. Make sure its healthy though (Limit Ice Cream!!!!! lol)
3) Watch a movie. Surprisingly it can cheer you up for many reasons. The escape for 90 minutes of your life and worries alone make it worth it. Be mindful of the movie you choose and try to avoid depressing or heavy ones.
4) Do something nice for a stranger. This is even better if that person never knows who you are. This creates a huge feeling of self worth that is often lacking in depressed people.
5) Don't push yourself too hard but try to find ways to maybe volunteer.
6) You Tube motivational speeches. For me Jim Valvano's "Never give up" gets me...every time