Toronto Ontario – Depression is a common factor for many Millennials. For instance did you know that people ages 15-24 years of age are at a higher risk of having anxiety and mood disorders? Even worse is that 800,000 plus people commit suicide around the world yearly, which is also the number one leading cause of death for people ages 15-34.
Most of you who don’t suffer from depression will never fully realize or understand the daily struggle for those who do suffer from it. It can be a task as simple as getting out of your bed each morning, washing your face at night or faking a smile at work; it takes a lot of added effort to do the smallest of things. Effort you don’t always feel like putting forth. You learn to be great at hiding it because you don’t think anyone will care and eventually you begin to hide everything that you are feeling, from everyone. You alienate yourself from others.
Doctors will prescribe medication after medication, trying to convince you that this one will work, never mind that the other five before had you crawling out of your skin with anxiety….
I don’t usually believe in taking prescribed medication to solve a problem; generally speaking I consider it a Band-Aid, helping you to ignore the bigger more prominent issue. I learned recently however that having a Band-Aid over an open sore can sometimes be better than no Band-Aid at all. Sometimes you just can’t help yourself. I finally let go of my stigma against prescribed meds a couple weeks of ago. When I realized I could no longer fight this internal battle on my own for much longer; I turned to my doctor for help.
It happened when I realized I had allowed alcohol to become one of my main vices. I started slow at first, a drink after work, maybe a glass of wine before bed, then it became more frequent. I started going to my local bar more and sometimes I’d go alone. I told myself I just wanted a drink but it was never just one drink, it was several. I’d stay up long enough to hear the birds first chirps and watch the sun come up over the treetops and in my solitude I got lost.
I couldn’t think, I couldn’t work and laughter became forced. I’d hear myself speaking and interacting with my peers and think… Wow! You really are good at faking aren’t you?
I’d get snappy with my friends and suddenly I’d be looking to remove myself from every social situation I could unless it involved getting drunk and forgetting how tired I was of everything. I even considered breaking up with my Ginger because of how distant I felt with him and my life in general.
The darker everything became the less interested I became in maintaining the relationship. It just seemed like an awful lot of work when I didn’t feel like working on anything. This made me feel guilty, which made me feel worse. It made it hard to focus on us, all I could think is, you deserve better than me….
I keep trying to convince myself I’m not making his life harder even though I probably am.
I have very few lifelines in my life for when I start to sink head first into the sea of depression and he just happens to be one of them. I’m not sure if he’s realized that yet or not, since I’ve never told him.
Since depression often goes hand in hand with anxiety, self-harming, insomnia, eating disorders, and much more, it makes it harder for those without mental-health issues to differentiate between the symptoms rooting back to the initial cause and can sometimes cause road blocks when it comes to learning how to help and how to cope with somebody who does have mental-health issues.
See the thing is, depression comes from a chemical imbalance within our brains. Before birth our brains are patented with it, it’s not like any of us gets a say…
We don’t ask for this. You could almost say that our brains become paralyzed during its developmental stage as children as a result then becomes incapable of functioning like a healthy brain would otherwise.
We will always be this way. How we handle it and how we deal with our inward battles and daily struggles- that’s what sets us a part from the rest and in my opinion, that’s makes us stronger than those who will never experience depression; the strength it takes us each day to function and complete tasks great or small.
If you ever wake up in the morning and instantly regret it, I want you to ask yourself these three questions:
- Why do I feel like this?
- Is it one reason or multiple?
- Can I do anything about it?
After you’ve asked yourself these questions whether you’ve come up with an answer for all three or not, I want you to then get out of bed anyways.
Try to say ten positive things out loud to yourself each day, it doesn’t have to be about you it can be about something around you but find ten positive things and hold onto them. Take them with you when you leave your house and when you start to feel bad remind yourself of those ten things. You may actually be surprised to find it helps.
If you walk into a room and you automatically see your own version of a snuff film play out before your eyes, walk right back out of that room shut the door behind you and take a breath. I know it’s not easy. Life isn’t easy but giving up isn’t a solution.
Surviving is a day-by-day process, coping and living with depression is one of the hardest ways to go through life but it can also turn you into the person you need to be. Don’t isolate yourself from the people that care enough to help you, talk to them. Let them into your world and your daily battle, you may find they are able to help more than you might have believed.
A man once told me that, when you take your own life the pain doesn’t die with you, it passes on to the ones you left behind and they are the ones that will carry it around after your gone.
I believe his theory was right. A story doesn’t end because a character dies. The story continues even after their gone. New characters come to life and old characters spend their days mourning their fallen kin wondering if there was anything they might have done differently. If you don’t feel like you can reach out to those closest to you, call a hotline it’s usually anonymous and it’s free. Anything has to be better than letting your depression get the better of you.
Born and raised in Toronto, E. V. Hutcheon studied journalism at St Lawrence College in Cornwall Ontario.
She currently lives in Toronto with her family, three dogs and a rabbit, near the Humber River.