It’s a Lurker, That Depression

As someone who has dealt with the ups and downs of depression (and some pretty big downs at times) for many years, there is so often this sense that depression is lurking. When life is going smooth, I can’t help but wonder if it will all come crashing down. When life is stressful, but I am coping well, there is a part of me that wonders, will a bout with depression come next?

This is where I am in this moment… wondering…is depression lurking in the shadows waiting for an opportune time to grab me and pull me down?

Life is full of challenges now, some new, some scary, some exciting… it is a time of stress, change and growth. That said, I am functioning well and feeling confident. I know I am not a completely passive entity in the process of a depression relapse (and neither are you!). I have tools in my toolbox. I have knowledge of warning signs if I start to sink. I also have medication that keeps me and my brain chemistry in check. But yet, when you have experienced the dark depths of depression, I think it only normal to fear its return.

I sometimes wonder, will I always fear depression? Will depression haunt me my whole life? Or could I possibly be at a point where I will never have to experience that kind of pain again?

With my history, it’s only realistic to think that safe-guarding myself from depression will be a lifelong intention. For more than half of my life I have dealt with the beast. While my absolute lowest point was about 5 years ago now, it is not something that has vanished or been completely removed. I think that can and does happen for people, but it’s not the case with me, not the case with chronic cases of major or severe depression. The silver lining is, remission is always possible and can be very long-term. In fact, it is possible that I will never venture down the darkest roads again, even though I will likely contend with its predecessors along the way.

Is the fear of depression taking space in your life? Do you let it limit you?

I refuse to let my diagnosis limit me any longer. I have spent a lot of time holding back out of fear of my “weaknesses”. But in actuality, all the while I have been building muscle to help me fight back when I need to. Now, that lurking suspicion, that depression may creep back in, is a real and valid concern, but it is not one that I will let rule my life. I will allow it to give way to caution, but no longer impede my progress.

Are you at a point where you need to confront the fear of lurking depression? Does the fear of it itself keep you from achieving or experiencing all that you want?

14 thoughts on “It’s a Lurker, That Depression

  1. Wow! I could have written this article. My lowest days happened around 13 years ago, but it still haunts me. To think that my mind could become my worst enemy is frightening beyond belief, yet it is so.

    I don’t know if I will ever walk clear of this cloud hanging over my life. I am reminded each day as I take the medication that helps me to function for yet another day. And every day, I pray that the beast won’t return.

  2. My depression began as postpartum depression two years ago. At one point I was “better” and even came off the meds. Six months later I relapsed HARD. I’m still fighting it. I’m in a bad place now and I have been for 3 weeks. It’s been a long 3 weeks. I’m at the point where, when I’m feeling good again, I try not to think about what’s just around the corner but find myself obsessing that the depression will return. 5 years is a long time to be well, that’s really great for you. Knowing that you have that much time without a relapse brings hope to me. Hope that I thought was long gone. I love this post and will spread the word about it!

    • Thank you for sharing your heart Pamela… I am so sorry you are in the midst of a very difficult time. Please know that you are not alone. While it has been 5 years since the depression was at it’s worst, I still struggle and have had my periods of depression that were not as bad as that. There is still hope in that though, because I have been able to keep from going down to the absolute darkest places in these five years since, and I know that as you work through your journey you will find a way to live in more light, too.

      Depression is so debilitating and can be terrifying, why wouldn’t we be frightened by the thought of its return? Living in the moment as much as possible helps me a great deal. I hope you will continue to share and reach out so that you can have the support you need!

  3. Depression is always waiting in the darker corners of my mind; sometimes it struts out to centerstage. I consider it as one of my chronic health issues. As with you, for me, there is no prognosis for a cure. I have been depressed my entire life. I inherited the condition from my mother, though as a child all I knew was that I was sad, and sometimes mom didn’t smile much.
    When the medication is working, it’s not that I’m happy or my mood is really elevated. At best, I’m level. I don’t go up, but I don’t sink down further either. At some point with all the depression meds I have tried so far, the pills stop working, and I cave. I experience hours of unconsolable crying.
    My doctor and I have been trying to find a combinaton of medication that works. The last 3 have caused rapid weight gain. The combination of lyrica and savella seems to have altered my body chemistry. I have to watch my weight, but I’ve been gaining 2 + pounds a week when I try to add in another antidepressant (neither lyrica alone, nor with the addition of savella caused such substantial weight gain). Time-release meds of any variety don’t work well with me which doesn’t help.
    I can understand your fear and your need to confront depression. I wish you all the with your efforts to not let depression define or limit you. (((((Hugs))))) to you!

    • Like you, I too consider depression one of my chronic health issues… if I did not then I would be living in denial! While I have had a great reprieve from the worst of depressions, I still experience times of depression. I feel triumphant in being able to say that I will not allow it to limit me though, to limit me from dreaming and achieving, experiencing and living.

      I hear your pain when you describe the hours of crying… I wish I could come hug you and make it go away! I know all too well what it is like in those moments. (I know how it hurts and aches and is just awful.)

      Thank you from my heart for sharing and letting me and others that read know that they are not alone. I hope and pray that you are able to find medication and treatments that will truly help you without all of the side effects!

      ❤ Amy

  4. PS: oops, the second last sentence in my comment should read: I wish you all the BEST with your efforts to not let depression define or limit you.

  5. I can very much relate to what you said. I often feel like depression is lurking – waiting to take over my life again. I probably spend more time thinking about it than I should, but it is less than I used to.

    • The further away from it we get, the more removed I think it becomes from our thinking, our worries. But it still tends to kind of linger in the back of my mind…

  6. Considering I have only been feeling better for the past month, I definitely feel that depression monster lurking. But the only way to get better is to continue to take steps forward and not fear what might be, but have hope in the future.

  7. From what I’ve seen in my practice and in my own family, there definitely is a biological vulnerability to depression. Lack of sleep, jet lag etc, lack of sunlight can trigger it in those who are biologically vulnerable. I think the key is to try to intervene at the first signs of it, via exercise, meds, support, cognitive therapy, massage, self-care, distraction. Also, to know one’s limits. I think what you said re the fear of it returning is true and insightful. Mindfulness can help, as you realize the fear is just a thought and one you can watch but choose not to give too much power to it. I like your choice not to let it rule your life. Congrats on the awards for your blog and for being a well-respected voice on these issues.

    • Thank you so much Melanie!
      All great advice and I most definitely agree, some of us have a biological vulnerability to depression. I can see it in me, in my years of battling the “beast” and in my family. All of the other environmental factors play a role, too, and that makes it tricky to know where in the world it’s coming from and how in the world should I treat it! I like the multi-disciplinary approach like you suggest, or rather, an integrative approach. I really like the practice of mindfulness, too.

      I believe that the more I decide to empower myself with tools and affirmation that fear of depression and depression itself will not have complete control over my life, the more it becomes a reality. Learning from great professionals like yourself makes it an even brighter journey.

      Thank you for sharing. I hope you will come back and visit more in the future!
      Amy

  8. I can totally relate to this. Isn’t it funny whenever life is going good, we find a way to subvert it? I feel like depression is always one step away from undermining my life. That’s why it is so important to be aware of it, but not afraid. ~ Peter

  9. I understand where you are coming from. Sometimes battling re-occuring depression is an obstacle in itself. I often find myself worried about an angry blow-up, a meltdown or a re-match with severe depression.

    This is why I’ve also created a website dedicated to helping those who are dealing with the same or similar conditions. It focuses on coping with life’s hardships through artistic expression, hopefully inspiring others to do the same. If you are interested, the titles of some of my first blog entries are “A Brief Introduction”, “Coping Mechanisms”, “Vivid Dreams” and “Urging Occupiers to Oppose the Oncoming Opposition”. Also here is the link to the website:

    http://notadoormatanymore.com/

    Thanks again for your time and will be sure to check in for future posts.
    Sincerely

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