Do you ever have days where you want to just stay in bed, under the warm blankets and not get up? I don’t mean those days you want to be lazy or are still recovering from the night before. I mean the days where the dark clouds known as depression are overhead and giving you a battle.
Well, I have. On top of that I really wanted nothing to do with people.
When I was having one of those days in mid-January, I kept being nudged, and nudged by my four-legged feline who knew I was having a hard day. So she stayed with me, and eventually after persistence from her nose, I did get up. That type of thing is one instance of how depression affects me.
While I got up and moved about, Asha my cat, stayed by me not really wanting to let me go more so because I think she sensed her comfort was needed. So if I went the bathroom, she had to come in. I went to the kitchen, she did. I went to sit down on the couch, she was there on her pillow and even my lap. I see her as my “therapy cat” when I have these feelings.
Some days my motivation to get up and go to work just is invisible, and I have to push myself. No one sees or knows it but me—well okay, my editor Abby Cameron has a pretty good sense.
Two months ago, a day I had three assignments for the papers to do—all three of community interest—I just never wanted to go. I hate feeling that way, but there is nothing I can do. I just hope each day I can push myself to put on my brave face and go to work. To keep you informed.
On this day, I was able to get out to those three assignments, and put on a smile even if I felt like I would rather be anywhere but around people.
It’s tough for me to know I am having these effects, because journalism and telling the stories in the community is what I love. Or what I used to. I’m keeping the love there, but only because of the support of friends and take each day one at time, and by following a new routine aimed at ensuring I get “me time.”
Over the holidays, I got some of that as I was off for almost eight days, with my laptop and cell off for three or four days and not touched. Nearing the end of the break, I did find my brain wandering and myself crying and just wanting to be alone for no reason. I find if I’m busy, I don’t get those thoughts or am in a roller-coaster.
What I will say is talking to people has been very helpful to me. After hearing of two youth who tried to take their lives in the Halifax area recently—unfortunately, one was successfully as of Jan. 25—it’s important to talk. Days like #BellLetsTalk, which is Jan. 31, are important. But so is the government putting in place supports that are desperately need, but that’s for another column.
I know there are people who see #BellLetstLak Day as nothing more than a free PR blitz for the large Canadian corporation. That’s okay. I don’t. If the day helps one person seek help then it’s done it’s job. Mental Health is something we need to talk about more, daily, year-round.
It’s a day I have supported in the past through tweets, hash tags and texts, and will continue to do so as a diagnosed depression sufferer. I encourage you to do the same.
But you can already help out by watching for the signs and symptoms not just on this day, but every day. You could be the ear that a friend, family member, or coworker needs so they don’t do the unthinkable.
Some may give in and let depression get them and curtail their plans for the day. I’m not that person. Not yet or if I have my way, ever. But others aren’t so lucky, so let’s help them by ending the stigma once and for all.