Then There’s That Part of Your Brain …

Illustration of brain

One of the symptoms of a deep depression can be that you just don’t care.  I knew I was depressed last time because I stopped caring about things I had been passionate about just a few months earlier.

There’s often something else going on. Even when you’re in that cloud of “I don’t care”, there’s sometimes this part of your brain that’s waving at you saying, or yelling, “Hey, we need to do the dishes” or “Excuse me, but I’d like to go do something fun.” 

The problem is that depression is sitting on that part of your brain and won’t let you hear it very clearly. You’re pretty sure you know what it’s saying, and you kind of care because, hey, it’s your brain, but depression is bigger and louder. Instead of hearing the thing about the dishes or going out and doing something fun, depression tells you to stay in bed or keep staring at the wall or that you’ll feel better if you scroll through Facebook. 

You know that you’re getting better when that part of you, the healthy you, starts to become louder and you have enough mental and physical energy to do the dishes or go for a walk or get together with friends and it’s not exhausting.

I’ve always said that when I’m struggling with depression I’m pretty “high functioning”, but the reality is that I’m forcing myself to do things while depression is screaming at me. I was thinking about that and it occurred to me that at those times, depression isn’t yelling at me to hurt me. It’s trying to tell me that I need to get help, I need to slow down, I need to take care of myself. Me being “high functioning” when I’m depressed is me trying to hide what’s going on from those around me. It’s me trying to keep others from seeing that I’m off my game, that I’m vulnerable, that something is wrong.

In those times when depression becomes that part of me that I’m not listening to, I now know that I should.

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