Today, I would like to touch on the severe symptoms of depression, such as guilt, anhedonia, and low self-esteem.
In essence, anhedonia is an inability to feel pleasure in normally pleasurable activities. I would personally describe it as intense squeezing sensation in the head, neck, and shoulders. That feeling of emptiness inside and soullessness all around you could serve as an excellent theme for charcoal drawing on a rough textured paper.
I do not want to get intimate. Just the thought of sex makes my stomach churn, causing pain and nausea. I am unable to fight it. It seems to me that I can rarely feel emotions even in remission.
It’s like I am all frozen inside. Taking a breath is extremely hard. I get lost in this lifeless desert without direction signs telling me where to go. I don’t want anything whatsoever. I attempt to slit my wrists open. Body pain causes emotional pain. At least it awakens some sort of emotion and I rise to the surface. I end up in a hospital with a hand that has multiple cuts and cigarette burns all over it. This is what happened during my previous severe depressive episode when anhedonia took over me.
It wouldn’t get any easier at night. I had nightmares about war every single night. Partially, these were the PTSD symptoms that remained with me even when BAD went into remission.
When you find yourself in this headspace, only medication can help. According to my therapist, it’s important to feel something. I have spent countless hours of therapy trying to identify that frozenness of mine while staying at the hospital helped me to get to the other side of this nightmarish episode.
Self-esteem. Oh, that indescribable feeling of being an absolutely worthless human being in the entire world! It would obviously be much better not to have been born at all than being such a loser. How many times have these ideas gone through my mind accompanied by suicidal thoughts? And it’s not like you are simply questioning your self-worth. This is a full-blown self-destructive thought process that leads to suicidal thoughts. If you notice that you have them, get help immediately! If these thoughts become intrusive and it’s all you think about, get hospitalized. If you feel that you are losing grip, call an ambulance and go straight to the hospital. This is the only effective way to deal with relapse. I would like every BAD patient to understand how important it is to inform your doctor promptly when you are about to have another episode and not be scared of getting hospitalized. They will help to get you out of this acute state.
The feeling of guilt is something we discuss the most with my therapist. Guilt has poisoned my life since I was a kid. I felt guilty for everything: for what I felt, for what I thought, for needing attention, and for simply existing.
After my kids were born, the feeling of guilt grew more intense since being a perfect mother is an impossible mission. Before I started treatment and therapy, I thought I was a horrible mother and wife, even though deep down I knew it could be worse. With the help from my therapist, I started getting to the root of my guilt and finally came to realize that I am a pretty good mom.
On top of guilt, anxiety runs like a red thread through my entire life, paralyzing me on and off, literally taking my breath away, making my hands shake. I get restless. This sometimes causes panic attacks. My heart is throbbing as if I am about to have a heart attack. I feel short of breath. The thoughts are racing like crazy. I feel nauseous, and consciousness seems to slip away.
Some claim that meditation and breathing exercises can be a great remedy. I personally can’t meditate when I’m feeling that way. But I try to focus on my breathing. I stand still and start counting – inhale, exhale, repeat. This trick helped me to fight back even severe panic attacks. There are many ways in which depression manifests itself, and it is impossible to list them all in just one blog post. So, we will be revisiting this topic again.