Episode 33 - Could I have Depression?

The owl poster I mentioned in the podcast is from Boggle! the owl.
And another one I found while looking for it: 

Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode we will talk about depression and why the notion, that depression means being sad is not accurate. It is more of a feeling of emptiness, hopelessness and no energy.
The confusion surely comes that the word depressed is often associated with feeling really sad. But actually feeling sad can be a sign that you don’t have a depression. At least not a severe one.
As usually that means you feel such a void that you are beyond sadness. So let us talk about depression and if any of that sounds familiar to you.
Especially if a voice in your head told you after the last sentence, that it most likely won’t be the case. So let us get into it.

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.

Physical Symptoms
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.

Emotional Symptoms
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.

Social symptoms
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 beings, being isolated like that has physical and psychological side effects. That is a really hard road. Treat carefully and watch yourself.

Last words
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.

Private Words
Next to the row of houses, where my apartments house is, there is a construction site for the new row of houses just like the one I am living in. Yes, I am living in a newly build house.
Which is fortunate because sadly I am REALLY sound sensitive and the more newly build (as in after 2000) tend to be better isolated. And because of the area, the price of the rent is alright, compared to everything.
It was a miracle I got this flat, especially so much on short notice and with no income, dog, etc. Also it is basically on the border of the city - so I am fast in the fields and can walk my dog.
But I do have to say, that construction site REALLY is sometimes a PITA. Oh you want to record? Let me sing you the song of my people. It goes sometimes from barely noticeable to my furniture vibrating.
It will be done in a few weeks to months - so they say and I hope. But besides that, it is a perfect flat for in between lives. Here I can carefully spread my wings and learn to fly again. And see where it takes me.

That was it for todays episode, I hope it gave some clarity regarding this foul player. As said, please don’t hesitate to get help. In whatever way, shape or form.
And of course, if you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at contactme@johannadraconis.com.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/Podcast and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.

The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD ~ Episode 33 - Could I have Depression?
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