It's Not Always Obvious...
I still remember the day about 20 years ago when I graduated from nursing school (Yes, I started my career as a nurse :). It was a culmination of years of hard work, dedication, and sleepless nights spent studying for exams. As I walked across the stage to receive my diploma, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment that I had never experienced before.
Then I accepted a job offer at a hospital in a busy town far away from where I had been living. It was daunting, but I was excited about the new chapter of my life. I started working on the A&E unit, and it was everything I had imagined it to be. The fast-paced environment, the adrenaline rush, and the satisfaction of helping people in their time of need were all things that made me feel alive. I got to know new people, both colleagues and patients. I was settling in and finding my place.
However, after a few months of strenuous work, I started noticing that I was getting more and more tired every morning. I would sleep through the days when I was not at work, and I would rather be alone than go out with colleagues and new acquaintances. At first, I thought it was just temporary exhaustion and that I will shake it off once I get used to my shift pattern.
It didn’t happen.
Slowly but surely, I realised I'm not well. I couldn't perform well at work, I missed my old friends and the countryside, and I felt overwhelmed by the constant hustle and bustle of the city. It was hard for me to admit that I was struggling, but I knew I had to seek help, and after long hesitation and feeling ashamed over my failure right at the beginning of my career, I went to a counsellor.
The therapy was not easy, but it felt good to be able to open up to someone about what I was going through. The counsellor helped me work through my feelings of homesickness, loneliness, and exhaustion. I learned to recognise and reconnect to my own vulnerable side and learned how to be compassionate and understanding towards that part of me.
It wasn't an easy journey, but with time and effort, I started to feel like myself again. I found myself looking forward to spending time with new friends, and I started to appreciate the beauty of the old historical buildings and all the opportunities that city life can provide. I realized that it was okay to miss my old life, but it was also important to embrace my new experiences.
And I’m truly, deeply grateful for my then-therapist whose care, acceptance and positive regard stay with me even after 20 years.
We Are All Unique, Even When We Feel Depressed
Depression is a common mental health condition that affects millions of people around the world. It can make you feel sad, hopeless, and disconnected from the world around you. But did you know that there are other symptoms of depression that are not so well known? These symptoms can go unnoticed, and they can make it difficult for people to recognise and seek help for their depression. Here are some of the less-known symptoms of depression that might be helpful to be aware:
Feeling exhausted and low on energy is a common hidden symptom of depression. Even after a good night's sleep, you may feel like you just can't get going. Getting out of bed and doing simple tasks may feel like a chore, and you might find yourself lacking motivation.
While sadness is a well-known symptom of depression, irritability and anger are often overlooked. You might find yourself getting frustrated over small things or snapping at people more than usual. These emotions can be hard to control, and they can make you feel like you're not yourself.
Depression can manifest physically, causing aches and pains throughout your body. You might feel like you have a headache, back pain, or stomach pain, even if there's no medical reason for it. These symptoms can be hard to explain, but they're very real.
Depression can also impact your appetite, causing you to overeat or under-eat. You might find that you're not hungry at all, or you might turn to food as a way of coping with your emotions. Changes in appetite can lead to weight gain or weight loss, which can further impact your mental health.
Depression can make it hard to concentrate on even simple tasks. You might find yourself forgetting things or struggling to focus. This symptom can be frustrating, and it can make it hard to get things done.
Depression can disrupt your sleep patterns, causing insomnia or excessive sleeping. You might find it hard to fall asleep or stay asleep, or you might sleep for long periods of time and still feel tired. Changes in sleep patterns can further impact your mood and energy levels.
Depression can make it hard to engage in social activities. You might feel like you don't have the energy or motivation to be around other people, or you might feel like you don't want to burden others with your problems. This can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness, which can make your depression worse.
Finding Your Way Back to Yourself
Depression is a mental health condition that can impact every aspect of your life. It can make it hard to get out of bed in the morning, enjoy activities you used to love or connect with the people around you. It's also a sign that your growth processes are being stuck for some reason, and with the right support, you can learn to reconnect to yourself and lead a fulfilling life.
If you're experiencing any of the symptoms of depression, such as feeling sad or hopeless, experiencing changes in appetite or sleep patterns, or feeling irritable or withdrawn, it's important to seek help. This might mean talking to your doctor or a mental health professional, who can help you understand what's going on and gives you essential support.
Remember, there's no shame ( I know I know! It's easy to say, and feelings have the right to be there!) in asking for help. In fact, it takes a great deal of courage to admit when we're struggling to reach out for support and to move towards recovery.