I’ve been experiencing a depressive episode for five months. It’s been a horrible experience and longer than any other depressive episode I’ve ever had.
It has negatively impacted almost every aspect of my life including work and relationships. Through this entire process I’ve been working with my psychiatrist and therapist to help treat my depression. It’s included a lot of introspection and some adjustments in my medication.
I’ve slowly started coming out of the fog, but I’m not out of it yet. One good thing is that my depressed mood has lifted some, making it easier to cope, but the reality is that I am still experiencing a depressive episode.
In order to qualify as a depressive episode, a person has to experience a depressed mood and/or loss of interest or pleasure for at least two weeks. I obviously have the time requirement down, but my depressed mood has decreased. I’m not exactly happy or cheerful, but I’ve shown some clear improvement.
However, I do still have several major symptoms of depression.
Loss of interest or pleasure
Enjoyment of activities and hobbies is limited. Activities I used to be excited about I am apathetic towards at best. I don’t really take the initiative to do anything and I turn down invitations a lot of the time. Even when I go, I may have to convince myself or be convinced to do it.
Significant weight change
I’ve lost a considerable amount of weight. I just don’t have much of an appetite, so I’m not interested in eating. However, there are a couple of other factors that go into this, so it’s likely not all depression-related.
Right now I’m sleeping close to nine hours a night and then taking a nap lasting at least two hours most days. That’s at least 11 hours of sleep each day, which is well more than a healthy person requires.
This is the biggest problem I’m combating. Even if I experienced interest or pleasure in activities I would still struggle to have the energy to accomplish them. This is not just being tired. It’s a complete lack of energy that makes it difficult to manage even the simplest tasks.
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
I still have nagging thoughts that tell me I’m not worth the space I take up and the air I breathe. I feel guilty for weighing people down or getting in the way. This is in addition to feeling guilty about being sick and not able to do what I normally can do and support the people I love.
Diminished ability to think or concentrate
My brain feels fuzzy a lot of the time. I have trouble with concentration. It takes some energy to come up with clear, concise thoughts. I also get easily distracted and have problems with my memory.
Despite still experiencing these symptoms, I’m hopeful that the improvement in my mood is a sign that other symptoms will improve soon as well. I’ve just made a change in my psychopharmaceuticals and I am being tested and treated for some possible underlying causes. Hopefully, this depressive phase will soon be a thing of the past.
Image credit: Denise P.S.