Living a Full Life…The Downy Dumps Way

This post is going to be short and sweet. Mainly because the point of it was to put my thoughts into writing and feel better about my mildly miserable day. But my mood has already altered positively and there is less of a need to dwell on my mistakes, so…that’s the lesson everyone, goodnight! Wait, keep reading, I have more to say. Today kids, we are going to focus on that dreaded little word that is either overlooked, overused or maybe not completely accurate to a situation. So, let us talk depression, from the perspective of one of little knowledge, but recurring depressive symptoms.

Using the word depression in the early stages of my vocabulary, not unlike my first experience of the word dyslexia, was met with disdain and frustration over my complete lack of understanding and ignorance in misusing the word. Talking about the subject matter should be done carefully and with more words in your thoughts than in prose. These little moments in my life have taught me that, whilst at the same time teaching future me that no one should be censored due to the words they decide to use or “abuse”. Words should be made available to individuals to express themselves in any context that benefits their current feelings, without their use being slated due to ignorance or stupidity. So, with that being said, I was depressed today.

Looking at what the dictionary has to say about depression, has given me a better understanding of why people can get offended over the misuse of the word to define it as feeling just a little down in the dumps or sad. It reminds me of when you see the word literally being used when figuratively was the grammatically correct word for that sentence. It’s demeaning and wrong. The definition specifies the feelings as being “severe”, therefore your sadness over a band splitting or some shit like that only works to give the word less of an impact when talking to skeptics. Despite this being somewhat true in the case of depression (and completely true for literally), the symptoms and unfortunate outcomes of depression are loud enough arguments to give the word and illness validity in the face of naysayers. However, if we were to reject a person’s use of the word when expressing themselves over small potatoes, it could lead to closing the door on multiple people whose mental distress is only mild, but edging towards severe. Especially when they don’t know what the hell despondency or dejection means (who the fuck uses the word figuratively when speaking anyway?).

My feelings of depression ebbs and flows over time, normally due to my ability of blanking out and blocking certain thoughts from my mind. At this point in my life, I managed to overcome a pretty large wave of it, with the aftershocks making an appearance every now and then. And today was one of those, oh so blessed days. I do believe I have not had as productive a week as this in a long time. I focused on my personal goals, my family, my friends, my passions, my career. So why the shift? There are definitely multiple reasons, but ultimately the response can literally be “I don’t know”. It could have been one thing or an amalgamation of things. Ultimately, those in this scenario can either seek support, work through this rough patch alone or simply get over it (in certain cases, but I would not recommend telling anyone that).

I do consider myself to be one of the lucky ones when it comes to depression, even though there are definitely luckier ones out there. My depressive state is normally quite passive and has been under care from a professional on multiple occasions, a privilege not many get to experience as remedy. Nonetheless, depression can feel like a complete life stopper when not controlled and left to propagate. Today, all it took for it to pay a visit was a combination of daft cock-ups, mild stress and disappointments that an individual would normally shrug their shoulders to. Everyone has their own counteraction when it comes to fighting this dreadful disease. My method of remedy on this occasion, pile up my housework, neglect my dog, push away my family and sleep. Was it appropriate, no. Did I feel it necessary at the time, yes. To some, this can worsen the symptoms, but I knew I needed this moment to take a break and catch up with the many, MANY thoughts that were overwhelming me at the time.

This could be seen as evidence that I may not even have depression and am just sad and anxious on occasion. But that should not be a reason to ignore my state as an overreaction. Depression is powerful and sometimes lethal, but I do believe the definition to envelop every step of the mental illness, including those initial sad moments. If that makes me wrong, then please explain further in the knowledge that I am not being malicious, am most likely influenced by social norms and may not have educated myself entirely beforehand. Using the word should be done with caution, but if you are going to correct someone you believe to be in the wrong, bear this in mind. And you can never know for sure what someone is feeling or thinking. So that one person with the tiny problem may not look depressed to you, but in a year’s time they may not be here to explain to you why they were.

Helpful Links:

Depression UK

Mental Health Helplines

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