It’s ok guys, I’m alright.
Also I’m sorry guys, this post is HUGE. I have a lot to say about depression and if you don’t want to hear it, scroll on. I think I spend longer writing this than I did drawing the comic!
Depression; Why it’s a Fuck Face and Some Tips for Shitting on its Fuck Face.
By Rebekah Hunt
Depression has been a huge part of my life and will always be part of my life. Even though I’m not currently in it’s power, it still holds a part of me and it still tries every day to drag me down. The funny thing about depression, which I don’t hear many people talk about, is that is steals your memories. I was severely depressed from age 11 until my early 20s and then off and on during my mid 20s, and my memories of those years are distant and foggy. If I were to plunge back into depression tomorrow, those memories would “wake up” and my happy years would become distant and foggy. This is one of the serious poisons of this illness, it is what makes climbing out of that pit the hardest goddamn thing you’ve ever done. It makes you doubt that you were ever happy, or that you could ever feel anything at all. Depression also damages your brain! A recent study confirmed the hypothesis that depression is causing the brain physical damage by shrinking the hypocampus. Guys, that’s where you keep your memories. And yes, “Hippocampal shrinkage was pronounced among those for whom depression started early (before the age of 21), as well as people who had recurrent episodes.” That means that my brain has been damaged by my depression. I actually knew this before this study came out, I came through my depression and out the other side and I knew I’d left something behind. Pretty freaky stuff sis.
Depression is not sadness. Sadness happens on the way down. Along the way you leave sadness behind and plunge head first into nothing. Lack of feeling. Numbness. This is where the devil in your head lives and that depression devil can tell you all the lies it wants because you can no longer fight. It’s important for people who are suffering depression to know they suffer from depression. This might sound obvious but social stigma often prevents people from talking about it, without talking about it, how are we to fight it? When you know what you are battling, when you give that devil a name, that is when you start to fight it. When he whispers lies to you late at night when you can’t sleep, when he corners you in the shower, when he pulls your mind away from a conversation with a fellow human to tell you some bullshit, that is when tell that voice to go fuck himself. (This is actually pretty much my go to method of dealing with my depression haha)
Another dangerous thing about depression is that people find it so hard to understand. Even people who have been though it all find it hard to relate to someone going through the same thing. Part of it is that people may have few memories of that time as depression stolen those memories (see above). It’s hard to relate to someone when you can’t remember going through it. I also struggle to support my friends going through similar things because my devil is always waiting for a moment to take me down. I find it hard to help friends going through the same thing because my devil tries to drag me down with them. That might just be one of the worst thing that depression does to me.
When someone is depressed, it covers them like a blanket. It surrounds them, encompasses them, absorbs them. You start to get Stockholm syndrome, depression is your abusive partner that you just can’t get away from but you love them and need them all at once. If a friend has decided to tell you that they’re depressed, they’ve just won their first battle. Give them a fucking high five for that, then have a serious talk about support networks and medication.
In short; if depression had a face, I would punch it.
Some pro tips with battling depression
(from a real life, brain damaged depression victim)
1) Give your depression a name
The Fae had it right, names have power. Now when that voice speaks to you recognise it as a voice that is not your own. Maybe greet it. Then tell it to shut the fuck up.
2) Practise recognising your depression voice.
After you’ve given it a name, start separating your thoughts from it. It is not your voice, you control your voice, this thing is not in your control therefor it is not you. Recognise this, listen for that little devil, then practise ignoring him. This is hard, he has a sexy voice but your voice is sexier and you will win this!
This gets even more fun when you throw anxiety into the mix. My depression has a different voice to my anxiety. Took me ages to figure that out. Now I practice telling my anxiety and my depression to stfu. What fun!
3) Start building a support network of friends and family.
This is a tough one, you have to tell someone about your depression. Choose someone that knows you well, is understanding and perhaps has gone through something similar or understands what you are going through.
But here’s the tough part, you can’t just tell one person. You know the saying “it takes a village to raise a child”? Build a village, it’s going to take a network of people to help you through this. If you leave this job up to one person, you might end up dragging them down with you. This is a mistake I made many times when I was a teenager.
4) Think long and hard about medication.
This is something I feel I’m not qualified to talk about in detail as I’ve never been on medication. Being on meds is not something to be ashamed of but it is something to think seriously about. Talk to your support group about it and try find a couple people who have been on them before. Do not talk to your Dr about going on them until you’ve decided you want to be medicated. This is a huge sweeping generalisation but Doctors tend to medicate pretty readily. If you walk in there for advice you might be walking out with a prescription.
5) The “S” word is not part of your vocabulary any more.
That evil little fuck who brings you down likes to give you ideas. Maybe he tells you things about yourself. You’ve been practising telling him to shut the fuck up but if he uses that word, if he suggest that you should end it all, you grab him by the balls and you squeeze. You stop what you’re doing. You sit up in bed. You stop washing your hair or brushing your teeth. That voice is not you, that idea did not come from you and the word suicide is no longer in your vocabulary.
6) PUNCH DEPRESSION IN THE FACE.
Just visualise it every now and then. When you have a good day, imagine that you took a huge steaming dump on the face of your depression. You did good. You’re betting better. We love you.
7) Find something beautiful every day
This is my cheesiest advice but I do this every day, not just when I’m depressed. It’s something that I’ve found helps me fight depression. It gives me perspective. Part of my drive home from work each day is particularly beautiful; I drive over a bridge. When I drive over that bridge I look at the sky and the water and the pretty things, I play my favourite song on my old 90s CD of Michelle Branch that I stole from my brother, and I sing as loud as I want.
Sorry Jeff, you can’t have your CD back.
I hope this helps someone