What Living With Major Depressive Disorder Is Really Like

6 Ways People With Major Depressive Disorder Live Life Differently

The trauma I experienced in my early teens has prevented me from having close relationships with new people. I want to be friendly and outgoing but sometimes it seems damn near impossible.

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Being told at the tender age of 14 that you have major depressive disorder is not how you want to start your freshman year of high school. I've missed some of which was supposed to be the best years of my life. I have written and probably deleted this article at least seven different times due to the fear of judgment. There are no words I can put into this article on how to describe the daily struggle myself, and a majority of people struggle with major depressive disorder have to deal with. How do you explain to strangers, the reason I'm being standoffish is that I automatically think you're judging me. "What could possibly be wrong in your life?" is a common phrase I'm tired of hearing. People who haven't struggled will never understand.

It's time to educate the "normal" people on this topic and why it doesn't define us as people.

1. Wanting to be social, but you just can't

The trauma I experienced in my early teens has prevented me from having close relationships with new people. I want to be friendly and outgoing but sometimes it seems damn near impossible. I'm not intentionally trying to be a bitch, but that's just how it comes across when I am feeling shy. If you feel as is if I'm being standoffish, don't assume, just ask and I'll explain.

2. Freaking out over situations that haven't happened yet

In my friend group, I am notorious for this. If someone close to you is experiencing this, instead of telling them to relax, explain to them it's all in their head and hasn't even happened yet.

3. Missing out on sleep

I normally only get around three and a half hours of sleep at the most during the night, which is why I'm always so tired during the day and sometimes a little grouchy. So when you tell me I look rough, I'm well aware. When you tell me I'm moody, I'm most likely groggy and just not caring about the day anymore at that point.

4. Having a bigger heart then most

Being in this state of mind, I will always be sympathetic with others feelings. I am normally a friend who can relate to just about any situation. I will never judge anyone when they confide in me.

5. Not always being in that state of mind

This is the biggest missed conception of being depressed. I have my moments, days, or even weeks but this doesn't mean my whole life is a depressive episode. I do have really great days.

6. Feeling harder for other people's emotions

I've only been in two relationships in the last four years, which made me feel very good and then very bad. Even in friendships, I tend to be more charismatic. I never want someone to feel underloved. When someone else is feeling an emotion, I will feel it with them. This can be a great thing in friendships, or it can affect me negatively depending on the emotion being felt.

* * *

These are all just qualities that come with this disorder, but not one single one of them define me as a person. Next time someone close to you has one of these symptoms, stop making them feel like it's their fault. Try to understand them better. Always check up on your friends and family.

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If You've Ever Been Called Overly-Emotional Or Too Sensitive, This Is For You

Despite what they have told you, it's a gift.
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Emotional: a word used often nowadays to insult someone for their sensitivity towards a multitude of things.

If you cry happy tears, you're emotional. If you express (even if it's in a healthy way) that something is bothering you, you're sensitive. If your hormones are in a funk and you just happen to be sad one day, you're emotional AND sensitive.

Let me tell you something that goes against everything people have probably ever told you. Being emotional and being sensitive are very, very good things. It's a gift. Your ability to empathize, sympathize, and sensitize yourself to your own situation and to others' situations is a true gift that many people don't possess, therefore many people do not understand.

Never let someone's negativity toward this gift of yours get you down. We are all guilty of bashing something that is unfamiliar to us: something that is different. But take pride in knowing God granted this special gift to you because He believes you will use it to make a difference someday, somehow.

This gift of yours was meant to be utilized. It would not be a part of you if you were not meant to use it. Because of this gift, you will change someone's life someday. You might be the only person that takes a little extra time to listen to someone's struggle when the rest of the world turns their backs. In a world where a six-figure income is a significant determinant in the career someone pursues, you might be one of the few who decides to donate your time for no income at all. You might be the first friend someone thinks to call when they get good news, simply because they know you will be happy for them. You might be an incredible mother who takes too much time to nurture and raise beautiful children who will one day change the world.

To feel everything with every single part of your being is a truly wonderful thing. You love harder. You smile bigger. You feel more. What a beautiful thing! Could you imagine being the opposite of these things? Insensitive and emotionless?? Both are unhealthy, both aren't nearly as satisfying, and neither will get you anywhere worth going in life.

Imagine how much richer your life is because you love other's so hard. It might mean more heartache, but the reward is always worth the risk. Imagine how much richer your life is because you are overly appreciative of the beauty a simple sunset brings. Imagine how much richer your life is because you can be moved to tears by the lessons of someone else's story.

Embrace every part of who you are and be just that 100%. There will be people who criticize you for the size of your heart. Feel sorry for them. There are people who are dishonest. There are people who are manipulative. There are people who are downright malicious. And the one thing people say to put you down is "you feel too much." Hmm..

Sounds like more of a compliment to me. Just sayin'.

Cover Image Credit: We Heart It

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When You Just Can't Stop Binge Eating

As summer approaches, I fear that my binge eating will kick back into high gear.

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I've opened up about my experience with binge-eating disorder (BED) before. I've had my ups and downs, but I was at my worst during last summer, the summer of 2018. While right now I'm somewhat managing it, the cravings and lack of control are starting to creep back up on me.

After returning back to college after spring break, I have had at least one doughnut—if not two or three—every single day. While that might not seem like a HUGE problem to the average person, to me, it's a big red flag. Having a doughnut every single day for the past month means that I'm not only losing my self-control, but I'm also losing the ability to tell myself "no".

The thing about binge eating is that you feel like if you don't eat something right then and there that you're just going to die. You feel like if you don't consume something at that moment that you just wouldn't be able to handle it. And so you eat. And you eat. And you eat. And you eat...

...And you just can't stop.

So while as of right now the worst of my problems is eating an entirely too sugary doughnut every single day, tomorrow I fear that it might be just as bad as it was last summer. Maybe eating a family size bag of BBQ chips, a box of Cheez-its, a bowl of ice cream, a bar of chocolate, some mac & cheese, a yogurt, and who knows what else? Because that's what almost every single night of my life looked like for three months last summer. While I feel good when eating every piece of food that goes inside my mouth, the guilt that follows (and the stomachaches) is excruciating.

I know I shouldn't eat that much. I know I'm going to feel guilty afterward. But I just can't stop myself. And so then you want to do something to make all the pain go away. That's what leads to bingeing and purging.

I've never purged through vomiting. Of course, I've thought about it before, but then again, what person with BED hasn't? Then there's always laxatives, overexercising, or restricting. And trust me, I have a lot of experience with those remedies. And I'm ashamed. It only adds to the guilt that I feel and the emotional pain that I endure. Because I know I have the power to say no, but then again—I don't. And feeling powerless, in any situation, is what really takes a toll on someone. After crying almost every single time I binged last year, I dread feeling that lack of control this coming summer.

And I've said this before and I'll say it again. I HATE when people tell me that I'm skinny. Because I'm not skinny from default, I'm skinny from deceit. Anyone can intake too much fiber or too little calories or overwork their body for days on end. So don't tell me that I'm skinny and that I don't have to worry about eating too many doughnuts, because neither of those is true. Don't tell me that if you ate three donuts a day that you'd be obese, but I would be too. It's a matter of illness and eating disorders are no joke. Don't tell me that just because I look like I'm healthy, must mean I'm healthy too because trust me, I'm anything but healthy.

So while summer creeps up on us and you and your friends spend your days happy out in the sun, I fear the time I have on my hands will be spent bingeing. I'm watching my self-control slowing slips out of my hands—and I can't bear to go through that again.

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