Psychological Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety
So it's been a hot minute since I last wrote a blog post. I've had a bit of a creative block and couldn't concentrate enough to write one, so I thought I'd wait until that had passed.
My post today - as you can tell by the title - is the psychological symptoms I have from my depression and anxiety. Everybody has differing symptoms, and no two people suffer from these illnesses in the exact same way. However, I thought it'd be useful for those who feel like they are the only ones suffering from a particular symptom, or feel as though they are the only ones experiencing this full stop.
I hope you find this post helpful.
This is, obviously, the main symptom of depression. On a daily basis, my mood can vary. Some days I can wake up and feel as though my world is ending, and I do not move from bed all day. Other days, I can get myself out of bed, but don't do anything proactive with my time. This stems from the having little to no energy. Depression takes away a lot of your energy, it is tiring to just live, let alone do anything with your time whilst you are living.
When I first had my mental breakdown in 2013, I went from a size 8/10 down to a size 4 in less than two months, and I didn't even realise it. My appetite had completely disappeared - I could just about stomach half a piece of toast. Some days, I basically had to be force fed, and watched while I ate. I wasn't drinking many fluids. I basically disappeared I was so slim.
After a while, this became "addictive" in a sense. I wanted to be this skinny. I purposely didn't eat because I was sort of enjoying being so ill, and looking ill. I thought if I started eating, people would think I was getting better, and I knew I wasn't. I would sneak the smallest piece of food when no one was around if I was desperately hungry - but around friends and family, I would refuse to eat.
This time round, my appetite had increased, and I would say this is down to Quetiapine. One of the side effects is increased appetite, and another is weight gain. I have experienced both of these.
Some days, I won't be hungry all day, but then I will binge. I will eat everything and anything in my sight, and then feel disgusting and guilty about it. I'll purposely eat nothing to very little, just to try and balance it in my head. Of course, I know this is unhealthy, but this is how I cope with it. Or, how my depression copes with it.
Even as I am writing this, I've just demolished an unholy amount of food. My appetite comes in waves and bounds. I try to stick to eating small meals if I can, regularly, but other days I don't have the willpower and will binge like crazy (today is one of those days).
Not Being Able To Sleep
For years I struggled with my sleep because of my depression and anxiety. I couldn't switch off because my brain was going a million miles an hour, yet when I did drop off, I had horrible nightmares. This then increased my anxiety, because I didn't want to sleep and have these nightmares.
My doctor prescribed my Zopiclone, which helped, but due to my suicidal tendencies and the reluctance around prescribing sleeping medication, I didn't have them again.
I could go days without having more than a few hours sleep. It wrecked havoc on my body, I became even more mentally ill, and also became physically ill from not getting any quality rest. I was constantly alert and always on edge.
Since being prescribed Quetiapine - which is an anti psychotic with the side effect of drowsiness - I have never slept better. There are some nights where I don't drop off for hours, or wake up regularly, or have vivid dreams, but majority of the time, I sleep like a baby.
I won't go too much in to this, as I have a blog post solely about suicidal thoughts. Anybody who follows my social media(s) knows I suffer badly from these thoughts.
When something bad happens in someones life, their brain will usually default to thoughts such as "oh dear", "let's try again", "maybe next time", "keep going". Mine defaults to "you're worthless and you should go and commit suicide". It has been like this for a long time. I am so used to it, that when I speak to my friends or family about it, their reactions still amaze me. They can't seem to comprehend living with a brain that doesn't default to more usual reactions, as opposed to wanting to die there and then because something has gone wrong.
It isn't even necessarily huge things that have gone wrong. It can be such menial things, such as burning food, or forgetting to do something. Sometimes it is nothing. Sometimes i just want to die.
Feeling insecure is something I have always struggled with, stemming from never being good enough for my parents when I was growing up and being pushed aside for my sibling, to being bullied horrendously in school. Gradually getting more and more depressed exacerbated this, and putting anxiety on top can make it unbearable.
I fear, daily, that I am not good enough. I'm not clever enough, I'm not attractive enough, I will never be anything... you name it, I think it. Feeling like this can interfere with leaving the house, the fear of being judged by people, or people laughing at me.
When I was around seventeen to nineteen, I spent hours and hours doing my hair and makeup, even if I was going to the supermarket. I was so scared I was going to see people who had bullied me, or people would look at me in disgust. I was never wearing it for myself. I was wearing the makeup to get approval from people who meant absolutely nothing to me.
Nowadays, I'm not that bad. Ninety-five percent of the time, when I do my makeup, it is because I want to. However on cripplingly insecure days, I give in and do it just to get approval from other people. Approval I don't need.
Loss of Hope/Thinking Everything is Going Wrong
This thinks in with being insecure in my opinion. The fear of not being good enough, which leads to the fear of never doing good enough, which leads to loss of hope.
Regularly I have thoughts of "what am I doing with my life?". I don't know what I want to do with it, I don't know what I want to be, or who I want to be. At times it makes me feel sick to the stomach, not knowing where my life is going or even if I want to be around to see how it pans out. I am a chronic over thinker, and there have been times when thinking about this so much has pushed me to the point of wanting to take my own life.
Agitated and Irritable
On some days, I don't feel too agitated; although I am usually quite irritable. The smallest thing can set me off, whether it is someone talking to me in a tone I don't like, or somebody asking me to do something for them. This can lead to me lashing out, shouting, or arguing for no reason. When I feel like this, I try my best to stay out of the way, avoid talking to anyone and just sit in my room.
For me, I don't find that anything helps alleviate these feelings. I just have to wait until they pass.
On majority of the days, I have zero energy. I'm lucky if I can get out of bed, let alone partake in normal activities that billions around the world do such as showering, making meals and getting changed.
When my depression is extremely bad, I can go days without showering, changing or eating. I just don't care. I lose days because I'm just holed up in my room hiding from the world, unaware of how quickly the time is passing. To me, time feels still. It feels like the world isn't moving. Like there isn't a whole world full of people out there going about their day to day life while I am laid in bed depressed and wishing I was dead.
Lack of Concentration
I used to be such a keen reader. I could read six-hundred page books in less than a week, and would chose to read over watching TV any day of the week. But ever since my depression has worsened, I find it hard to concentrate. I can read a few pages at a time, but even then I feel like 1) I don't know what the hell I've just read and 2) I have no idea what any of it means. My concentration is just non existent. Even writing these posts is a struggle. I can write small chunks at a time before I feel like my brain is going to explode from concentrating so much.
I've tried various things to try and improve my concentration, whether it be colouring, or doing verbal or arithmetic tests - but nothing seems to work. I am unsure whether, as well as it been depression, it is also down to my medication. I often find that with the Quetiapine, my head is incredibly foggy. Sometimes this will pass after I have been awake a few hours, but some days I am in a world of my own with awfully clouded judgement.
This is a big one for me; I feel guilty every single day. I feel guilty that I am like this, that my family have to put up with me like this, that my friends have to put up with me like this, that I even exist. It's just horrible.
When I'm extremely low and I want to speak to someone about it, I even feel bad speaking about it. I feel bad because this isn't their problem to deal with. It isn't their fault that I am so depressed, or suicidal, or anxious. I feel so incredibly guilty. I know that you should be able to speak to those who you are close to about any problems you're having, but I cannot shake the feeling of guilt. I mean, who wants to hear someone they love saying they want to kill themselves, or they're depressed, or they give up?
It's easy for me to say to somebody who is suffering, that they shouldn't feel guilty, but to tell myself this is just not possible. It makes me feel even more isolated than I did to begin with.