“You Don’t Look Depressed”

I’ve started this post at least a dozen times. Okay, that’s a lie. It’s definitely closer to a million times. Whatever. Somewhere between 12 and 1 million – it’s ALOT of times! 

Here’s the thing:  I don’t want to be the person who publishes one blog post on depression and call it a day. Like, here’s all my (secret) shit, it’s totally okay, I’m working with professionals to manage it, annnnnnnnd I’ll never mention it again to avoid making anyone feel the least bit uncomfortable. That doesn’t serve anyone. So buckle up buttercup – we boutta get into some stuff.

First, we’re going to address a statement that really chaps my ass.

“You Don’t Look Depressed”

You. Don’t. Look. Depressed.
My blood pressure went up just writing that sentence. Yeah well, Susan, you don’t look like an idiot but you’re proving otherwise. (no offense to anyone named Susan)

You don’t look like you can cook.

You don’t look like you’re wealthy.

You don’t look like you’re Irish.

You don’t look like you enjoy ice cream.

You don’t look like you can sing.

You don’t look like you play the flute. 

You don’t look like you’ve watched every episode of all 9,385 seasons of The Bachelor. (you know who you are)

Real Change Begins with Real Talk

According to the World Health Organization, more than 300 million people globally are battling depression.

There is no face of depression. There is no face of anxiety, or PTSD, or bipolar disorder, or any other mental illness. It comes in every color, every shape, every size, every gender, every income and education level, and every age. 

The mystery isn’t that you are battling depression. The mystery is why we avoid talking about it like the plague.
 
Depression is nearly as prevalent as the common cold. We’ve all come to work feeling a little under the weather and quickly (openly) shared that our runny nose or the tickle in our throat was a direct result of a pesky virus going around. Other than perhaps grabbing a Clorox wipe to clean your desk and kill some germs, we never give it another thought. In fact, if you miss work because your sick it’s likely that the first question your co-worker will ask is “hey, how are you feeling?” Ever notice nobody asks “hey, how’s your battle with depression is going?” 
 

Here’s what depression might actually look like: 

At Home 

  • You notice your pants are getting very tight (or very loose), indicating a sustained change in appetite
  • Cleaning the kitchen used to take an hour; now it takes all day, indicating a serious lack of energy
  • No matter how early you go to bed, you never feel rested or eager to get up in the mornings
  • You wake up in the middle of the night, and can’t get back to sleep
  • Everything seems dull, and without vitality
  • It takes a Herculean effort to get off the couch and take care of errands

At Work

  • You get a promotion, but still feel unsatisfied
  • The smallest decision — like what to order for lunch — paralyzes you for hours
  • Your co-workers didn’t invite you out after work, and now you feel like an outcast
  • Even when you’re working hard, you feel like you could get in trouble at any moment
  • You feel so antsy and agitated, it’s hard to be at your desk for eight hours
  • You have broken down crying more than once this week

How does your depression show up? What are you experiencing? Far too often I think people assume they are alone but if 300 million of us are experiencing some form of depression then my guess is you’re not. Share here so we can support one another in this battle. You’re not alone.

Stay tuned in my next blog post for my top four ways to boost your happiness when you need it most.

xo

Erika

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