This time of year can be depressing for many of those living in the northern hemisphere of the world. But suffering from real depression is something different and needs to be treated. I only once had post-natal depression after the birth of my daughter and have suffered no depression since then.
However, after becoming ill with M.E. I've lost track of how many times I've been asked if I'm depressed! I get fed up and down because of this chronic illness that is hard to support and feels never ending and without hope for a cure. It makes me cry sometimes. But it's no more than that!!
As this picture aptly says M.E. would make a Klingon cry.
So what is depression?
According to the DSM-5, a manual doctors use to diagnose mental disorders,
you have depression when you have five or more of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks:
- A depressed mood during most of the day, especially in the morning
- You feel tired or have a lack of energy almost every day.
- You feel worthless or guilty almost every day.
- You have a hard time focusing, remembering details, and making decisions.
- You can’t sleep or you sleep too much almost every day.
- You have almost no interest or pleasure in many activities nearly every day.
- You think often about death or suicide (not just a fear of death).
- You feel restless or slowed down.
- You’ve lost or gained weight.
When you look at these symptoms you can see that some of them are in common with M.E.
So it's hardly surprising that depression is confused with M.E.
M.E. is not the same as depression. They have different symptoms. Exercise can help people with depression but for someone with M.E. this causes post-exertional malaise.
But if you do suffer from depression alongside M.E. then you should get help and treatment. There may be secondary or reactive depression as with any other debilitating chronic illness.
Recently the M.E. community lost another warrior to suicide. In her last farewell Anne Örtegren wrote " Depression is not the cause of my choice. Though I have been suffering massively for many years, I am not depressed. I still have all my will and my motivation. I still laugh and see the funny side of things, I still enjoy doing whatever small activities I can manage. I am still hugely interested in the world around me – my loved ones and all that goes on in their lives, the society, the world (what is happening in human rights issues? how can we solve the climate change crisis?) During these 16 years, I have never felt any lack of motivation."
Dead but I`m still living
Empty of all meaning
Pointless just existing
Reason is now fading
Endless days of drifting
Sad my past life grieving
Sad and feel like crying
End my life I`m thinking
Death is more appealing
I'm sorry if this blog is adding to your depression.
I'll try to end with some suggestions to help combat depression
- speak to family and friends
- ask for help when you need it
- share how you feel on social web sites
- write a blog
- write a journal
- look after yourself
- get enough sleep and rest when able
- try to eat as healthily as possible
- it's ok to get angry or have a good cry sometimes
- try to find moments of happiness
- find something that makes you smile or even laugh
- perhaps you can find a new interest or hobby
- for some praying or meditating can help
Perhaps you have other ideas and ways of coping.
Above all if you develop severe depression seek help from a professional either a doctor or a counsellor and don't feel ashamed or guilty in doing so. It's incredibly hard to live with a lifelong chronic illness.
From the French Femme