From the minute someone with depression wakes up to the minute they go to sleep, they are confronted with the symptoms of their depression, without any advanced warning of how intense the symptoms will be. Mornings can be particularly difficult when someone with depression has to challenge themselves to get out of bed and find a reason to get going in their day, instead of just staying in bed. Ongoing, they work hard to manage their thoughts and emotions, unbeknownst to others. Depression isn’t always a mental health issue that is visible on the surface. Many people with depression are “functioning”, meaning they are able to fulfill the responsibilities of their day and even appear to be “not depressed” while still battling all the feelings of depression.
You can’t see the guilt that people living with depression have, for example. Should people who live with their own mental illness feel guilty? They have no reason to. However, chronic feelings of toxic guilt are common in depression. Depression can luck great on the outside but feel terrible on the inside. People who are depressed and struggle to feel happy feel like they don’t deserve the life they have on the outside because of the life they are living on the inside of their heart and minds. They carry the guilt of their depression through everything they do, which makes them feel even worse, worsening the guilt. Toxic guilt is a vicious cycle that can only be stopped when someone decides to stop feeling guilty. Of course, as with any mental illness, making that decision is easier said than done and some days it simply isn’t easy at all to make any decision with depression symptoms weighing in.
Perhaps the most difficult part of living with depression under the surface is living with a battle between knowledge and emotions. People with depression, who have been diagnosed and treated, are not unaware that they are living with depression. A common misperception about depression is that people with depression just have to “choose” not to be depressed. Knowing you are depressed doesn’t mean that you can emotionally not be depressed anymore- because there is a chemical imbalance between the knowledge part of the brain and the emotional part of the brain. Living with depression can be cruel in this way- knowing that there isn’t a way to just stop feeling what you feel, no matter how much you know about the feeling.
Learning to live with depression is part of recovery for many people. Extended care programs help develop the tools and confidence needed to manage life when emotions feel unmanageable. LEAD Recovery Center is a multiphase transitional care program which empowers clients to become leaders in their lives of recovery from mental health. Call us today for information: 714-975-9469