Learning how to balance the light & darkness that comes while struggling with a depressive episode can be extremely difficult. I’ve started opening up more to my readers about my mental health history as time goes on. I battle several mental health illnesses, depression being one of them. I want to help educate the healthy brains, and comfort those others battling depression like me.
How to Balance the Light & Darkness of Depression
Traveling, and photography have given me a healthy, creative outlet to help express my pain during a depressive episode. My hope is that this article will provide anyone struggling comfort, and inspiration on how to balance your light & darkness.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, get help at https://depression.org
25 million Americans suffer from depression each year.
Everyone has had an experience to some degree with depression; perhaps it was the loss of someone close to you, losing your job, or being unhappy with a current living situation. However, with the several different types the term “depression” has caused incorrect assumptions and continues to be invalidated when laypersons talk about their experiences with depression. This is a huge social, medical, and recovery problem.
Recommended Read: “5 Types of Depression and How Can You Determine Which You Have” By Betterhelp
What is Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)?
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is not the same as the depression you felt when your loved one passed. The difference being, there was a reason you became depressed – you suffered a loss. It’s painful, and you probably remember your experience with the darkness you felt during that time. Thankfully, your depression will disappear as time passes and you begin to heal.
MDD is a mental health illness characterized by a persistently depressed mood with loss of interest in activities, eating, working, socializing, and sometimes life. This debilitating illness can cause significant impairment in ones daily life.
Mental health warriors suffering from MDD become depressed for no apparent reason, and will continue to battle the light and dark times of the illness the rest of their lives.
What is the cause of MDD?
There are several possible causes to clinical depression, however these usually include a combination of biological, psychological, and social sources of distress. As more continue struggling with depression, more research on the illness is being done. Scientists have discovered that these factors can cause changes in a person’s brain function, altering the natural state of neural circuits in the brain.
Symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder
The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include:
- Excessive sleep changes
- Decreased appetite
- Significantly low energy level
- Trouble concentrating
- Absence of joy and happiness
- Inability to care for oneself
- Daily behavior
- Joint & muscle pain
Depression is largely associated with thoughts of suicide. The risk increases by 25% for alcoholics who are depressed, rising to over 75 percent.
Treatment for MDD
There is no cure for MDD. Treatment is typically an anti depressant medication, cognitive therapy, or a combination of the two. Research increasingly suggests treatments may normalize brain changes associated with depression. The battle to maintain the balance of light and darkness, is always just around the corner. Waiting.
How to Use Creative Outlets for Healing
When I travel, my depression doesn’t just stay at home, waiting for me to return. It comes with me, like a dark cloud trailing behind me. During my winter adventure to Big Sky, Montana last year – the light and dark contrasts from the snow inspired this post. The photographs tell my story, expressing my feelings during a depressive episode. I hope this article has enlightened you in some way, thank you for listening.
Over 50 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression disorder.
Life is a continuous balancing act between the light and dark that lives within us. The contrasts vary depending on the amount of light surrounding the individual. The amount of light can alter life between pure bliss and despair. For most people, maintaining the balance causes little disturbances in life, as easy as breathing.
Some days you lose the battle- and the darkness is all consuming. It pulls you deeper and deeper trying to drown you in its depths of despair to claim you for its own. The darkness will do everything in its power to take you from the people and the things that you love.
Depression affects nearly 5-8 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year.
I know it’s hard, this battle you’re fighting, and I understand that you’re exhausted from fighting off the darkness. I’ve experienced that lack of understanding most people in your life will never understand. The severity of your illness, and the internal battles you’re facing each and every day, I get it.
What you must remember, is that you are not alone in your struggle. The light and with it those feelings of joy & happiness will return. You remember the light, right?
Do you see it? Keep looking… It comes back slowly, creating shadows in the darkness, gently letting you know it’s returned. The arrival of that light signals that this battles end is near, bringing with it hope. Hold onto that small shadow of hope until the darkness fades and the battle ends. Watch as that light shines brighter each day.
Before you know it, the battle is won and you return home. The light is warm, and comforting after so much time in the dark. It’s time to breathe now. Inhale slowly. Hold the breath. Exhale slowly. Again.
I’m so proud of you for finding that balance between the light and darkness. I’m filled with joy that you are here to live another day after your excruciating battle. We all knew you could do it. xx