At this current moment in time, I am unwell, and I know exactly what it is.
Since being semi-diagnosed with depression (because can a physician actually diagnose you? serious question), I’ve become acutely aware of when I am entering a depressive episode. I’m still learning how to figure out the severity of what each episode will look like, but I know when I’m spiraling.
In July, I went to church, and there was a guest teacher (I like to call them teachers when it feels like they’re teaching me instead of preaching at me) who decided to talk about depression. It blew my mind that depression could be discussed at church, and there’s Biblical text to back it (I believe it’s Elijah).
At church, the guest teacher said these were the five stages of depression:
- It starts with disappointment
- Downcast (Disappointment is affecting how you feel/hurt)
- Discouragement (Situation has changed but your feelings haven’t)
- Depression (Lingers, it goes from IT WENT WRONG to I FEEL WRONG, as in there’s something wrong with you)
- Despair (When the suicidal thoughts enter the chat)
Hearing this teaching at church really helped me figure out when my depressive episodes begin, if I’m not already in them, so I can start working my way out.
These are my four personal signs for knowing I am in the midst of a depressive episode:
~ Mess everywhere. Taking out my trash and doing my dishes has been on my to do list this entire week, and I have yet to do either. Considering there’s a cyclone vastly approaching, I should probably get on it, yet I am not able to motivate myself. My dishes have accumulated over the course of at least seven days; I am one person with at least nineteen cups and don’t have a single clean one. I’m hit with the funk of my trash every time I open the front door, and the clothes I wear throughout the week somehow make their way to the dining room and don’t leave. Despite the funk physically surrounding me, I take up camp on my too small couch and ignore it all.
~ Sleep always. Speaking of me camping on my too small couch, my already low energy levels are pretty much nonexistent when my desire to live begins to diminish. It is so hard for me to get out of bed, let alone go to work and pretend to be happy. All I want to do is be comforted by my firm mattress because it gets me. It has yet to fail me.
~ Junk food. Thanks to the beautiful community I’m building around me in North Carolina (plus my wonderful grandma), I have a pantry and freezer full of food. However, I know things are getting bad when all I want is McDonalds. I have a bag of sweet potatoes on top of my microwave waiting for me to make sweet potato soup, yet my mind simply wants me to open the McDonalds app. The unfortunate thing is I am really starting to dislike fast food; fully present Jamilah loves vegetables and the peace of spending time in the kitchen. Depressed Jamilah couldn’t care less and wants to fill her body with junk because she feels like junk. I am about to enter day two of a McDonalds bag sitting on my coffee table, mocking me.
~ Sexual thoughts with no libido. It is taking a lot of bravery for me to share this because even though this blog is a place for me to be comfortably vulnerable, it almost feels embarrassing to share this. No part of me is “horny,” as the young kids call it, but my mind will enter these moments where it is nothing but sexual thoughts. I don’t know what to do with them. It took a massive crying session for me to figure out why this was happening. During my mental downward spirals, all I want to do is escape my mind, and since I struggle with how, my mind runs to sex because there are people in the world who use sex as a form of escapism (stream “Escapism” by RAYE ft. 070 Shake). I am not one of those people, so it emotionally breaks me every time I reach this point of my depression. Somehow, I think my mind is using the thoughts to try to force me to feel pleasure, but all I do is feel guilt.
Writing this has me teary-eyed because I don’t know how to escape something I’ve been battling for fifteen years, and it hurts. Truly, it wrecks me.
Should I have picked up my prescription when my doctor called in an order for anti-depressants? Maybe. However, I’m learning how to fight my own battles, and if it gets to the point where I do need medication in the future, we’ll cross that road when we get there.
Kaiti Yoo, one of my favorite YouTubers who is a fellow Christian fighting her own depression fight, once described depression as a “crazy numbness, an apathy toward everything.”
I want to stop feeling numb. How do I make it stop?