Depression is one of the worst and most lethal side effects of (C-)PTSD - a plague on its own. Also one that is a lot of mystery, misconceptions, overload of information and so on.
If you have question or suggestions - please let me know.
From Episode 33:
It is the most common companion of PTSD, to be honest I have yet to witness a case without it. It is not surprising as depression is caused by feeling at mercy with the situation you are in.
Usually most depression disappear or get at least greatly reduced once the person becomes aware or gets in control of their life situation. Which the depression wants to prevent to happen at any cost.
So the best way is to never have a depression. Which is of course impossible to control. It’s because once you have it, you will have to fight against low energy, depressive thoughts, sabotage of support and so much more.
Depression is a dirty fighter, who will sabotage, lie, cheat and scoop to so far unknown lows. But the most sinister thing, it hides and denies its existence. That is why it is important to be aware.
It is hard to fight against depression, but even harder if you are unaware you are suffering from it. That is why we first talk about the physical symptoms, then the emotional and social ones.
First we will start off with the physical symptoms. Do you just feel… low battery? Like it is barely enough to do the everyday stuff, but everything else just seems like too much? A heaviness in your muscles?
Like it is almost too much effort to get even out of bed? Especially finding the motivation to do so? That is one of the symptoms. But the clear trend is to stop you form doing ANYTHING.
Be it sports, hobbies, social events and the like. You will now have no more energy to do those and even if you do, you brain won’t reward you for doing those things anymore like it used to do.
Depression sabotages the reward center of your brain and stops from rewarding endorphins being send out in the right amount. So instead of feeling great after it, you feel just… empty.
But you also will be weaker, not just feeling weaker, but actually being weaker. For example you will most likely feel more easily cold or unwell. This includes also being more vulnerable to getting sick.
It is almost like your body is also told by the depression to stop defending itself and that it is weak.
Second we get to the emotional symptoms. Do you feel empty? Like your whole inside is just … empty? Almost like a void? That is usually one of the most standing out symptoms of depression.
But it does more than that. It reduced the positive emotions, almost like a pillow in front of a speaker dampens the sound. This includes the love you feel. For your partner, for your hobby, for your pets and the like.
So instead of love you just feel an echo of the love that once was there. And you don’t know why. It is like form a scale form 1 to 10 all your emotions were reduced to one. At least the good ones.
The negative ones get enhanced. Which results in you perceiving your mistakes as great when they are minor and you feeling alone when surrounded by loved ones. Feeling misunderstood by everyone.
It also enhances the feelings of loneliness and isolation. This is to make you more vulnerable for its effects and further lower your defenses. But if you ask me, that feeling of nothing is the worst.
It is kind of painful, but it is hard to describe. It somehow makes it worse if you try to describe it. I just felt so at mercy to this unknown force. Depressions are the worst. Period.
Last but not least we will talk about social symptoms. And I don’t mean that your social life suffers from it - it does. But it is more than just that. Depression actively sabotages relationships.
We just talked about how your feelings of love are being reduced by depression, but it goes even further than that. It manipulates how you perceive other people. It will make you think no one cares.
It achieves that by reducing the positive feedback you usually receive form a smile or a positive gesture and mutes the hell out of it. Like I said scaling it down to 1 on a scale of 10. But it doesn’t end there.
It now also increases the negative feedback up to a 10 on a scale of 10, no matter the gesture. A slight eye roll is now a visible sign of disgust and disliking. And most likely he never liked you in the first place.
So people who are acting pretty neutral towards you, you will now perceive as being hateful, negative, rejecting, maybe even hostile and so on. A sign of disagreement becomes a sign of aggression.
This way it effectively sabotages the communication with the people around you, this way isolating you and making you feel alone, isolated and on edge nonstop. And sadly also unloved and unlovable.
Everything you seem to do, just doesn’t really cut it. We are social being, being isolated like that has physical and psychological side effects. That is a really hard road. Treat carefully and watch yourself.
If this sounds at least somewhat familiar, I recommend you getting support, as the fight is unfair. Besides that, I just wanted to repeat what is so important: You are doing an awesome job.
It is so hard to fight against a flood with nothing else than your bare hands to go against it. You are neither worthless nor weak nor a failure nor a horrible person nor unlovable.
I had depressions since I was a small child, even severe ones on several occasions in my life, after I dealt with all my stuff of the past it is luckily a rare occasion. And I am so grateful for that.
Depression is the worst. There is this awesome owl poster I will link in the description. I think it helped a lot of people and I hope it will anyone who needs to read it.
The core message: You are not weak. It takes a lot to be able to hold out against depression and all you ask for is a stick, so you can do it better. And I also think this is really brave.
So hang in there and it will get better, no matter what that little bastard of a illness is telling you. Once you broke out, you will see how muddled your view was and distorted your way of life.
I hope you break out of it as soon as possible.