Low-grade Depression

Low-grade Depression

It’s the most common but least diagnosed mental illness.
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Picture this: you’re going about your daily routine. You wake up in the morning, hop out of bed, eat breakfast, and get ready for work. You then spend your day at work and maybe go out with a friend for a drink afterwards. You come home to your pets or significant others, prepare for the next day, and then get ready for bed. Seems simple and easy, right?

Slowly, things start to change. You wake up in the morning but it starts to take you longer to get out of bed. It starts out as just a few extra minutes, and it adds up to 10, even 20 minutes. You get out of bed and your body feels tired. You move just a little slower through your routine. You might skip breakfast because you’re not hungry this morning. You’ll go to work and you’ll find it challenging to get through your day because you’re lacking your usual energy and motivation. You might skip drinks with friends and call for a rain check. You’ll come home to your significant other or pets and hang out with them for a little bit, but then go to bed.

These changes are subtle and happen over weeks, months, even years. Soon, it’ll feel like this is who you are. You’re always a little tired and sluggish. You’re more inclined to be pessimistic and it begins to feel like this is your personality. Everyone around you is happy and laughing. You’re laughing too, but it’s like you don’t think that the jokes are funny anymore. You might feel like there’s a fog and nothing is as shiny or bright as it used to be.

Chronic, low-grade depression, or dysthymia, is one of the most common ailments on the planet and one of the least likely to be diagnosed. A person must experience symptoms for two years to be officially diagnosed with dysthymia, which may indicate why it often goes undiagnosed, because, if a person is dealing with these symptoms for two years, it starts to feel like it’s just who they are.

When a person in good mental health is facing a problem or challenge, they might take action or look for a fun distraction. But when someone with dysthymia is faced with a problem or challenge, they get stuck. “Caught in that drizzly mental weather, [he or she] doesn't seek shelter or buy an umbrella; [he or she] goes on slogging through puddles.”

For years, I thought there was something wrong with my personality. I honestly can’t even pinpoint when things changed for sure because the change took place over a long period of time. One day I realized that I wasn’t having as much fun as my friends. I noticed that I always seemed to be the person to bring my group of friends down with my pessimism. Everything I said, thought, or did somehow had negativity attached to it. I thought it was my personality. I didn’t know how to change it.

In my senior year of high school I was diagnosed with dysthymia and things started making sense. Over the course of two years, I’ve now begun to understand that there is light inside of me; it’s not all greyness and rain. Dysthymia is likely something that I will struggle with for a long time, and it’s difficult to come to terms with that. But between the moments of fog and rain, there are moments of sunshine and love, so I have hope that someday I will no longer have to keep slogging through puddles.

If you think that you or someone you know might be struggling with chronic, low-grade depression, consider consulting a doctor to begin a course of treatment so you, too, can see the love and the light.

Cover Image Credit: Everyday Health

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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In Real Life, 'Plus Size' Means A Size 16 And Up, Not Just Women Who Are Size 8's With Big Breasts

The media needs to understand this, and give recognition to actual plus-size women.

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Recently, a British reality dating TV show called "Love Island" introduced that a plus-sized model would be in the season five lineup of contestants. This decision was made after the show was called out for not having enough diversity in its contestants. However, the internet was quick to point out that this "plus-size model" is not an accurate representation of the plus-size community.


@abidickson01 on twitter.com


Anna Vakili, plus-size model and "Love Island "Season 5 Contestant Yahoo UK News

It is so frustrating that the media picks and chooses women that are the "ideal" version of plus sized. In the fashion world, plus-size starts at size 8. EIGHT. In real life, plus-size women are women who are size 16 and up. Plunkett Research, a marketing research company, estimated in 2018 that 68% of women in America wear a size 16 to 18. This is a vast difference to what we are being told by the media. Just because a woman is curvy and has big breasts, does NOT mean that they are plus size. Marketing teams for television shows, magazines, and other forms of media need to realize that the industry's idea of plus size is not proportionate to reality.

I am all for inclusion, but I also recognize that in order for inclusion to actually happen, it needs to be accurate.

"Love Island" is not the only culprit of being unrealistic in woman's sizes, and I don't fully blame them for this choice. I think this is a perfect example of the unrealistic expectations that our society puts on women. When the media tells the world that expectations are vastly different from reality, it causes women to internalize that message and compare themselves to these unrealistic standards.

By bringing the truth to the public, it allows women to know that they should not compare themselves and feel bad about themselves. Everyone is beautiful. Picking and choosing the "ideal" woman or the "ideal" plus-size woman is completely deceitful. We as a society need to do better.

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