Self-Care Tip #202 – Be aware of your feelings and your body.
Wordsmith SuziCate commented to our post three days ago on finding depression in those of us who appear “fine.”
It can be more apparent in what is not said…. When I was depressed it was the absolute last thing I wanted to talk about. I evaded the subject, and if forced to talk it was about anything but what “I” was feeling.
Yet again, the comment completing the post. It was on my mind and in my face somehow over these sum of days. When I would start thinking about something else, a patient would nearly quote SuziCate and I wondered if you all have met behind my back on some other blog site with intent to trip me out. (Grandiose delusions….)
Margo said yesterday in clinic, with hands moving, eyes wide and leaning in,
When I was really down, I just quieted down, stayed low, did my thing. The last thing I wanted to talk about were my feelings. I felt afraid of the Nothing that waited there.
She was talking more quietly now and her whole body receded a little.
You aren’t interested or interesting to anyone. You don’t have anything to say.
We were both quiet for a bit.
These flattening-of-the-spirit symptoms used to be called “Pseudodementia” because they resembled dementia so much. A muting of the mental and physical function. A disease progression slowing the nerves and body. We now refer to them as “Neurovegetative Symptoms.” **
When thinking about getting friendly with ourselves, we can’t forget about what we don’t say or feel emotionally. We remember also, that the brain is connected to the rest of our body. Brain is sick, the rest of us is sick too. This can be a good check point once we start realizing that something is wrong either by insight or by comments from others.
It can be more apparent in what is not said….
Hear more than words.
Not all depressions are these muting processes. Some of them are activating and agitating types leading to anger and irritability. Those are hurtful too.
All types of depression are dangerous when left untreated. The reason isn’t only the risk of suicide or the distance it creates from others. The reason also includes the less familiar brain changes that it causes on the brain function. The sooner we are able to pull out of a depression, heal and return to ourselves, the better health our brains will have the long term. The longer a depression is left untreated, the more damage is caused to the brain’s health.
Questions: How did you figure out you were depressed now or then? Or that someone else was depressed? Please tell me your story.
**Neurovegetative Symptoms are the things about affective disorders that most of us don’t know about. We think about emotions – depressed, sad, happy, angry and calm when we think about mood or anxiety. We don’t think about the body. We don’t think about cognition, concentration, memory and what SuziCate or Margo described so well.
It can be more apparent in what is not said….
Neurovegetative symptoms are called “neurovegetative” because they are caused by the changes in the nervous system and they limit our ability to function.
- Depression and anxiety differentially influence physical symptom reporting (physorg.com)
- What is Melancholic Depression? (brighthub.com)
Margo’s words are spot on. When being depressed, I didn’t think about “being depressed”. (Maybe deep down I knew it but didn’t want to talk about how I felt because it made itmore real.) It was more a state of being. I really didn’t care much about anything. There was a huge emptiness and unexplainable sadness. It is only in retrospect that I can explain it.
u r a courageous woman to look closely at such times, possibly painful times, and share them w us. thank u!
How did I figure out I had depression that was so very far beyond self pity or mere sadness. To put it a metaphoric Key West kind of way “it felt as though there was no more wind in or for my sails.” Some immobilization too like being “anchored” There was no joy in the most joyous of things.
i luv your “anchored” word. stopped me.
Emptiness. Perfect word for how I feel when I’m depressed. That, and feeling as if I’m walking in waist-deep water or sand. Everything feels slow and nothing feels worth the effort…even to talk. I sigh a lot, but don’t notice I’m doing it until my family mentions it…and then I almost stop breathing trying to stop the sighs – not to hide the depression; just to avoid the questions or comments to which I simply don’t have the energy to respond.
ooh. the sloshing through effect is good description. the sighs r well know also. thank u nancy.
There was the time after my miscarriage when I was very depressed. To me, it felt like I didn’t want to do anything happy or uplifting, even things I liked, because I didn’t want to “taint” those things forever with sadness, or mess them up with not being able to find any joy in them… It felt like a big haze had descended, a fog. When it started to lift, it felt like the world was new…
ouch sarah. i didn’t know. hugs
Suzicate and Margo are very astute, if I have the blues I also tend to withdraw.
astute. a word to salute. i luv’d your most recent post btw on your new catering gig. u looked adorable. let us know if the blues hit u again. suffering happens when we feel alone.
A friend at work, who had been through it, recognized that I was depressed. I set an appointment to discuss it with the GP but had go in before the appointment during a very amplified occurance. It was very startling. Still wish I could moderate some of the lows from time to time. Still trying to improve listening patience and control interuption. I suspect they are related to the depresion. Using too much “humor” when responding may be a way of not engaging fully with others.
u r insightful friend. we stand beside u.
Q: what is the defference between depression and anxiety?
Anxiety and depression are like brother and sister. They often go together. when we think of “paradigms,” we often think of an arch that might intersect w another arch. however, when i think of the affective spectrum intersecting w the anxiety spectrum, i see them weaving, interlaced or chasing each other. not a line and nothing tidy. so understanding the difference also includes understanding their relationship.
great question and barely answered. i’ll write more later :). bless
I believe that others notice a person’s depression before they do—sort of “the forest for the trees.”
Also, it seems that most people who are depressed don’t want to talk about it.
As if in denial, or not discussing the depression will make it go away.
great point – “as if in denial, or not discussing the depression will make it go away” – so well said. many thanks for reading and commenting maxi! keep on.
I have always remembered being depressed, from of age of ten. I was very introverted; just thought I was a shy little girl. I knew something was wrong though when I desperately wanted to die, and would lock myself in the bathroom crying and trying to get the courage to do something to hurt myself. Even from that young age I would hit myself upon my head as hard as I could, or punch myself in the face. I didn’t really know why I was feeling this way…I just felt helpless. I felt that maybe if I died someone would finally care. I remember even “pretending” like I was dead at about ten years old; I lyed on the floor for hours, holding my breath any time someone walked by, and was still as I could possibly be. I stayed there, on the floor, for hours. Nobody ever stopped. That angered me even more and that’s when I started with the cutting. I didn’t have anything sharp, just a safety pin, so that’s what I used. I thought that by doing that to myself it would hurt my family, and then they would start to care about me. Still to this day, I don’t understand how nobody saw that this ten year-old little girl was so depressed and wished that she would die on a daily basis. I wished someone would have noticed and taken me to a psychologist or something. I didn’t actually start seeing anyone until I was twenty-eight. I have been depressed for a good amount of my life. I never have felt true happiness or got any joy out of anything. I just always thought that I had low energy or was “tired.”
hey jjen! feels like a long time since we “saw” u, although i’m sure it’s only been a few days. your story – wow. what a courageous little girl u were, doing what u could and what made sense to connect. what a journey u have come through. what places still to go. thank u for sharing some of your richness w us. many of us need to know your story i am sure, and connect. keep talking.
I always chalked my “unhappiness” up to having a difficult childhood/family life growing up. Hateful relationship with step-dad and mom who worked a lot, was largely absent, as her way of coping I think. Anyway, it wasn’t really until I had a great life (everything I thought I ever wanted) and still didn’t feel happy. It’s as if I could look at my own situation and see that it was wonderful but couldn’t FEEL the joy…crying for no good reason. I surprise myself sometimes now when I find myself laughing out loud. The medication has been a miracle!