Whilst I am lucky enough to have the support of family and friends, there are times when I feel no one truly understands how I’m feeling. This involves me being unappreciative when those around me are just trying to help, and can have a harmful effect on the remaining relationships that haven’t already been ruined by depression. I wonder whether anyone else has been in the following situations;
- Being asked “are you OK?” has to be in the number one spot. How on earth are you supposed to answer this question? Do they just want to hear the generic ‘yes thank you, how’re you?’ or do they really care how you’re feeling? Then there’s the issue of how much you reveal about your mood on that particular day; can I really admit how hard I’m finding it to hold it all together right now?
- Being told “you don’t seem depressed”, closely followed by comments such as “what have you got to be depressed about?” I’ve had these two statements made to me by various family members, friends and medical professionals over the years; they seem to believe that just because I am not crying and managed to drag a brush through my hair that day that I can’t be depressed. However, depression affects us all in different ways, and just because I’m coping today does not mean I will cope tomorrow.
- When you seek approval and don’t receive it. This is another big one for me as in addition to being a huge people pleaser I also crave affirmation from others. For example, asking multiple times if someone likes my new haircut or eagerly awaiting feedback from a manager
- Being criticised is also closely liked to affirmation for me. When I am stressed or down I cannot really cope with being severely criticised, i’m just not able to hold it together. I’ve read taking criticism poorly can be a symptom of anxiety as well as depression, but I find this one tough to deal with, especially in a working environment.
- Talking to doctors/psychologists/psychiatrists/therapists about my issues is also within my top five. I find it extremely difficult to articulate how I feel in the depths of my depression, and what I think about during these moments, as I seem to naturally block out these thoughts. Therapists seem frustrated with my inability to answer questions easily, as I respond with “I don’t know why” when I am asked why I feel depressed. If I knew the bloody answer to that I wouldn’t be here.
Although I find these questions irritating, when they come from a friend or a loved one it can be hard to explain that I cannot verbalise my feelings, as I feel I must give them something to help them understand.