What It Feels Like to Have ‘Functioning’ Depression

Please read this post on The Mighty.

When this functioning depression hits, especially if it is a constant “low-grade” depression, like dysthymia, we often don’t realize that’s what’s happening. We just think that’s our normal.

In just the first couple paragraphs, I was like, “holy shit you’re reading my mind!

Functioning depression feels like there’s not enough coffee in the world in the morning to wake you up. Functioning depression feels like there’s not enough sleep in the world to cure your exhaustion.

That is SOOOOOOO how I felt today!

Functioning depression looks like making yourself presentable, but only just barely.

Story of my life.

Functioning depression is making it to work every day, but maybe a few minutes late.

Every. Single. Day.

It can be burying yourself in the day just to make it pass, but most often, it’s just the idle passing of time, waiting for that magic hour when you have lunch and then can start your next countdown to being off.

Yup.

For low-grade depression, the kind that affects millions of people without them knowing, exercise has been shown to be effective, too.

*sigh* This has never worked for me. I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but in the past, before I was diagnosed, I would start trying to exercise in the morning before work, and it would last for about 2 weeks and then I would just be far too tired to do it every day, and I’d go every other day, and then none. And if you read my World Mental Health Day post, you’ll know that a few months ago, I biking regularly and I thought I was doing really well…until I wasn’t.

My doctor has checked my thyroid and kidney function, and they’re all fine. Only issue is my blood count is low and my iron is low. On the low side of normal, still within ok range. In the past I’ve taken iron on and off for years, first time was like 6 years ago, because it’s always low. The most recent time, my doctor said I’d benefit from a multivitamin. He also told me once that I could take vitamin D and B12 and it might help. A few weeks ago I started taking all of the above, just to try and give my body a boost so I can feel better and get back into a better routine. It isn’t working. I can’t remember if I posted this or not (I think I did), but I stopped taking the Trintellix and am now on Cipralex, and am still on Wellbutrin. So every day I’m taking those, plus a multivitimin, a B12, D, C (because that’s always good for you), and iron, on top of my asthma and allergy meds, and sometimes melatonin to help me get to sleep. I feel like an old lady every time I take out my pills for the day, organized into daily containers with time of day dividers. There’s so many! And yet nothing has changed. I still feel like a worthless piece of shit. The only good thing is that my brain feels more clear since the sertraline and Trintellix left my system completely, but I have no energy, I’m sleepy all day, and can’t fall asleep at night, and I have no motivation or passion to do anything, at all.

You must think I’m ridiculous, recommending the sunshine as a treatment. But the sun provides valuable nutrients to our body, specifically vitamin D, which is useful in boosting our mood and giving us energy. Plus, nature is beautiful and if the weather is right, being outside can do your soul good.

I don’t think that’s ridiculous at all. I’ve always felt the sun made me feel good. Until the last 5 months. It was nice and warm and sunny here all summer (drier than normal for a humid area) but I never really felt it. It didn’t make me feel good. I kind of didn’t even notice. Like I knew it was beautiful outside, but I just couldn’t see it.

The past 3 days have been just like constant rain and cold and I’ve barely noticed that either. I normally hate the rain. While I find it a bit of a nuisance, because I don’t really like being wet, and I wear glasses and have curly hair that gets super frizzy in humid weather, I haven’t really cared all that much. Not like I normally would. I haven’t complained once.

And for all of those people out there going day to day, trying to make it one day at a time, maybe you don’t even realize you are depressed. Maybe you just think this is “normal,” and it’s just how you are.

Totally how I was my entire life before I was diagnosed. Still am, but the difference is, I’m fully aware of it now.

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