Sometimes it feels like there’s a constant weight on your shoulders, but you don’t know why it’s there, or how to make it go away.
- Get out of bed on my own — if I didn’t have my husband by my side reminding me that I am capable of surviving the day, I would spend a LOT more of my time hiding from the day.
- Anything that remotely resembles studying — I may have all the good intentions in the world, but that doesn’t help. The other morning I set myself up with my textbooks and my assignment notes. All I wanted to do was type up my handwritten notes and, as this doesn’t really require any higher level thinking, I thought I’d be okay. Ba-bown. When it came time to actually open my laptop, I just couldn’t do it.
- Be on time — ask anyone and they’ll tell you that the chances of my arriving on time to ANYTHING are ridiculously low. Often, the reason behind this is that it takes a lot of effort to drag myself around the house and get ready. Depression puts me on a go slow, and oftentimes it takes away my willingness to be in public and interact with human beings (this is also due to my social anxiety)
- Cook. Anything — I’m not a great cook at the best of times, but I can usually rustle up a curry or stir-fry, or something else fairly low-effort to feed myself and my partner. Not so lately. When it comes time for dinner preparation, I can’t think of a single thing to create, let alone work up the motivation to actually move and get that happening.
As the end of semester draws near and the stress levels rise, if you’re anything like me you’ll be holding on by the tips of your fingernails. Complacency and exhaustion set in. You may have missed lectures in order to work frantically on that essay that is due tomorrow or just catch up on some much needed zzz’s and suddenly you’re well behind and feeling very overwhelmed…
Second semester last year is when my depression started to really, seriously, and truly affect my studies. I could not tell you how many of my lectures and tutorials I attended that semester, but I can almost guarantee you that it was less than 40%. In all reality, it was probably more like 20–30%. This was a big deal for someone who only missed eight classes in total through first year. Continue reading MEWD: People Do Care
Sometimes my mind is as busy as this little bee:
It just goes and goes and goes and I can’t really keep track of my thoughts because there’s so many of them and they’re all making so much noise inside my brain.
You would think that being busy like a bee might be a good thing, because bees are productive little critters that make honey and pollinate flowers and go ‘bzzz bzzzz bzzzz’. Continue reading MEWD: Busy but Useless
Some days I have what seems to be a haze fall over me. It’s like I’m seeing through a bit of a fog and, sometimes, like the things I’m experiencing aren’t actually happening to me, but to someone else, and I’m only getting an echo of what they would be feeling. I can’t settle in to any one task, and my concentration levels are practically nil. Continue reading MEWD: Haze
When it comes to sleeping, I’ve never been one of those people who can hit the sack and be off in the land of nod in no time flat. I toss and turn, and reposition myself about a thousand times before I manage to get to sleep. This is something that is exacerbated when I’m in a period of depression.
Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you the importance of getting a good night’s sleep — it’s right up there with the ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ advice (another helpful tidbit that I’m not good at following). Not sleeping well and being overly tired can lead to being less productive and somewhat grumpy, which can lead to stressing that you’re being unproductive/grumpy, which can lead to a poor night’s sleep. And so the cycle continues. Continue reading MEWD: Sleep
Like, really freaking hard.
Also? It sucks.
I have been attempting to write a post like this for the last seven months. I have written, and re-written, and scrapped countless drafts — all in my head, of course. As you can see, none of that practice has helped me to become particularly eloquent!
I have depression. In case you weren’t sure. In my case, it also currently comes with a (not-so) healthy side dose of anxiety.
Here are some facts about depression and anxiety in Australia:
- Approximately 1 in 6 people will experience depression at some stage throughout their lifetime
- About 1 in 4 will experience anxiety
- Anxiety is the most common mental condition in the country
- It’s estimated that 45 per cent of the nation will experience a mental health condition in their lifetime.
(Information courtesy of Beyond Blue: http://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts)
I am part of that 45 per cent. Have been since I was about sixteen. I didn’t realise it at the time; I thought I was just being a stroppy teenager with glandular fever. Retrospectively, however, I can see that it was much more than just your average teenage angst.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to be all ‘woe is me’ here, nor am I trying to be an attention seeker. Studying (living) with depression and/or anxiety is hard, and for those of you who also struggle with these demons, I’m just trying to say ‘Hey, you’re not alone.’ That’s all.
Everyone experiences these things differently. For me, it comes in bouts and stages. Like I said, it started when I was about sixteen, but it hasn’t been constant. It comes and goes, along with the stressors and triggers in my life. This latest bout has hit me pretty badly, and has seriously affected my studies. It’s also the first time I’ve had anxiety along with the depression, so that’s been another learning curve for me.
Lucky for me (and everyone studying at FedUni) the lecturers and support teams we have here are invaluable, and have helped me struggle though last semester, and begin limping into this one. I’ve had help from my schools undergraduate coordinator, the Student Advisory Service, and the Disability Liaison team, to name a few. All of them have been fantastic, and understanding, and they have put things in place that did help, and will continue to help me throughout my time studying here.
I think I’ll leave this post here for now, as I’m not really sure where I’m going with all this rambling. All going well, I’m hoping to write a few posts on my exploits with depression (or MEWD. Because that sounds like a cute noise a little kitty would make), just to give people some sort of insight into what depression can be like. Or something like that.