I've always considered myself a very strong, put-together person. But as I approached the halfway mark of my 3oth year, I bravely decided to slow down long enough to see if that was actually true.
A couple of weeks into my "self-awareness journey," I surprisingly found myself depressed. I discovered that I've been walking around for the last 20 years in pieces - held together by tape, glue, and a false sense of strength and pride.
How could I have gone this long without even noticing the signs?!
Sometimes we mistakenly believe that we are the person we wish to be.
So instead of going through the process to become that person, we immediately (and sometimes unknowingly) jump into playing the part.
It's like putting on a doctor's coat before going to med school. You may be able to play the part long enough to fool a few people, and maybe even yourself, but sooner or later you're going to find yourself out of your depth.
And that's where I was - in the deep end with everything I hid away instead of dealing with in my haste to become who I wanted to be.
If this sounds a little familiar, then I'm glad you found your way to this post.
I'm going to share 6 of the signs that helped me to realize that I was depressed and ultimately caused me to seek help.
1. I felt a heavy sadness
Some days were better than others, but overall I felt heavy. I couldn't shake it or even make sense of it. I didn't quite know where it was coming from or what was causing it. I would try to talk myself out of it, pray myself out of it, and even recite scriptures, but I felt like something inside of me was immediately canceling it all out. I felt powerless.
2. I didn't want to do what I enjoyed
Nothing seemed appealing to me. It was like I was incapable of having fun. I even lost my joy for the little things like looking at the sky, listening to the birds sing, and that warm, satisfying feeling when you take the first sip of your coffee or tea.
I didn't want to read, listen to music, or go to the movies. I didn't even want to laugh.
The only thing I wanted to do was over-eat and watch Grey's Anatomy. The people on that show seemed just as sad and dark as I felt so it was the only thing that I seemed to connect with at the time.
3. Food lost its taste
I normally keep a health-conscious diet, but I wanted three of everything that wasn't good for me. But even when would I would eat, the food didn't taste as flavorful as I remembered. When characters in the movies would get their hearts broken and say that food has lost its taste, I used to think that that was so over-the-top dramatic and impossible until I actually experienced it. It's a real thing, people!
4. I was always tired
It was like I was standing outside of a window watching everyone on the other side smile and laugh and live effortlessly while I wondered, "How are they doing that??"
It seemed like such a big feat to get through each day. I completely lost my spark and energy for life. I would go to bed early and wouldn't get up until I absolutely had to. I used to be early for work every day, but now it was a struggle just to get there on time. I moved slower, thought slower, and couldn't get as much done in a day.
I rarely get headaches, but I was having migraines just about every day. Sometimes it would make me too nauseous to eat. On my lunch breaks at work, I would find a dark room to rest my eyes or take a nap. Sleep was one thing I couldn't get enough of.
5. I wanted to be alone
The last thing I wanted was to be around other people. I'm an introvert, so that depletes a bit of my energy on a typical basis, but during this time I couldn't bear it. Plus, I didn't want anyone to start noticing that things were off with me. If they asked what was wrong, I honestly wouldn't even have an answer for them. I didn't even have the energy to put on a brave face and fake it.
I felt like a cancer and I didn't want to infect anyone with my bad energy. Not to mention, being around people who weren't experiencing my struggles only made it more clear that something was wrong, which scared the crap out of me. I've never felt so alone in my life but I also had no desire to be around anyone. I felt like I was living in a self-inflicted prison.
6. I was pessimistic about my future
I've always had a plan for what I wanted my life to look like and how I planned to achieve it. But during my depression, I became unclear about everything I was previously dead-set on when it came to knowing what I wanted in life.
I remember asking myself this one question over and over again - "What are you doing with your life?" I completely lost sight of my purpose and my goals. I didn't know what I was doing and where I was going. I honestly felt like I had no future.
In my mind, I knew that was a lie because I know Jeremiah 29:11 like the back of my hand.
For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.
But those thoughts still persisted.
One thing I've learned from this is that you cannot tackle depression on your own. Even in my depressed state, I know God was with me because He was speaking truth to me through the people around me when I was unable to speak that truth to myself. But I knew I needed to get some help.
It's great having a good support system of friends and family, but I felt like I couldn't talk to them about what I was experiencing, even though they would have been supportive and understanding. I needed to talk to someone unbiased who I could be completely open with - someone who would be able to help me work through my thoughts and feelings. So I sought out a Christian counselor and I saw a complete difference even after the first session.
If you experience these signs and symptoms, even in the least bit, it's worth seeking a therapist. Click here to find one in your area. Please don't wait. The sooner the better. Trust me!