Depression: Being Out of Character
Although I do, in general, feel much better this summer than I did last, it would be a bit premature to say that my depression has gone completely. I have, however, been comparing this summer to last summer. More specifically, I’ve been comparing how different my mood and general state of mind has been. The comparison has interested me, for it’s shown me just how…out of character I was when I was depressed.
I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has experienced this, or who noticed it within myself. Many of my family and friends became concerned at my behaviour, and it was something that I couldn’t understand at the time.
Here are some examples of how out of character I became.
Complete and utter fatigue
Before this horrible illness struck me, I was always full of energy. If anyone at home asked me to do something, I would jump at the opportunity and get it done as soon as possible.
My Mum would ask me to do a job for her at home. I would feel extremely slow and lethargic. Slowly, I’d make my way downstairs, wishing with every step that I could just collapse on the floor and sleep. I felt almost as though I wasn’t in my own body. As though I were some sort of robot. I would be told to do something simple like take something upstairs. The whole cycle would start again.
Despite all of this fatigue, however, I would always do the same jobs as I did before depression. Just with great difficulty – and no doubt the quality of my work declined too.
Anger. Something I am not proud of
Without depression, I would often be described as someone who was rather quiet and shy. I never got involved in any arguments and would try to avoid them at all possible costs (not that this was always good, mind you – especially in Medicine, sadly).
Regretfully, with my depression, I slowly started become more and more short tempered with everyone. Not in a way that I’m proud of either. The sense that I was trapped became very frustrating for me, to the point that my temper became very low. The best I can compare it to is that of Harry Potter in the Fifth Book – where Harry feels frustrated at the Wizarding World calling him a liar, and having an incredibly short temper as a result.
I remember once, for example, when I was in a tennis court at 1am playing tennis alone. I was unable to sleep, utterly miserable and decided to go there at a dangerous time. A security guard for the court found me and told me to go home as it was late. Usually, I would have smiled, laughed it off with him and have been on my way.
But this time it was different. Suddenly, I felt my world spin in anger. My head felt very tight and hot. How DARE he tell me to go home? So I spoke back to him angrily. We had an argument for a good ten minutes or so, with me also using plenty of bad language in the process. Eventually I caved in and left angrily. I regretted it almost instantly after. I apologised to him the next day and, thankfully, he was fine with it.
This was very out of character for me. What I did was inexcusable – but I rarely let my temper get the better of me. Even in depression. And I never ever got physical.
I have talked about memory loss and cognitive dysfunction as a result of depression a lot on this blog. I don’t think I can ever do justice to describe how horrible it actually was, however.
Here are some examples.
- Having a GP appointment after lectures at Medical School. Upon arriving to the surgery, forgetting why I was there and walking home aimlessly.
- Forgetting the pin of my Bank Account. Given that I had the same card for almost three years, this was very odd.
- Not being able to recall where the earphones plugged into my laptop.
These may seem like small things but it was absolutely frustrating. Like other changes, it also resulted in raised eyebrows from people who watched me.
Depression is far more than simply feeling sad or miserable. There is a lot more involved than that. It is important to be understanding when things like this arise.