An HSPs Battle with Depression by Shannon Garza

An HSPs Battle with Depression

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I battle clinical depression. I have ever since I was a kid.

Lately I’ve discussed this with many other HSPs and found out that a lot of them battle with depression as well.

I’m curious if it has anything to do with being a sensitive. I know it’s not the “deciding factor” but I’m sure it plays a big part.

I can remember, as a child, crying because I couldn’t help the world. I believe I was about eleven years old. I’m not sure if that’s what sparked it but that’s when I began suffering from depression.

My depression was triggered by another’s suffering until one day it was about my own suffering. It became all consuming. It was hard for me to function.

As a teen it manifested itself many times over. So in addition to the “normal” teen struggles I also struggled with depression. A deep, defining depression.

My teen life was about avoiding the depression. I would drink myself unconscious or pop a few pills to ease the pain. My friends did their best to lift me up but the depression was too powerful.

I didn’t get help for my depression until I was sixteen years old. That’s when I started taking medication.

It helped but there was still a looming depression. The medicine didn’t help fully. It did help but not all the way. I still struggled with it.

In addition to the “regular” depression I also struggled with situational depression.

When I was eighteen years old my mother passed of cancer. Which just made my depression to get worse. I began drinking a lot. A bottle of vodka per day. It didn’t help of course but I wasn’t conscious, so I didn’t have to face my depression. Not the best way to go about it.

As a young adult the depression became worse. It interfered with my goals and successes.

I dropped out of college and took up more than one job. It was exhausting which, in turn, added to the depression. I couldn’t seem to win.

I also developed a few health problems due to depression. I already had an autoimmune disease but on top of that my depression and stress caused GI issues, insomnia, arthritis, and fatty liver disease.

When I developed all these medical issues I saw many doctors before one finally told me that my health issues were due to my stress and depression.

He told me I need to “go home” or the stress would kill me. So I did. I packed and left the big city and went home to a small town.

I moved in with some family and things began to slowly improve. I still had the depression but now I at least had family there.

My health was still suffering and did for many years after. To be honest I still have those issues when I get highly stressed or depressed. And of course the depression is always there, I just learn to cope with it.

I’ve learned many coping skills over the years and can better handle the depression now.

Now I “battle” depression. It’s an everyday battle but at least I’m not struggling with it anymore. I’ve learned to navigate it. To realize when it’s getting bad so I can start fighting it back.

I’ve come to a place where I can now let myself feel the depression but I stay aware so that it doesn’t consume me.

I practice self-love everyday. I meditate everyday. I’m teaching myself self-acceptance and building my self-worth. It’s a process and a lot of hard work but it’s very worth it.

I already feel more empowered. So if you struggle with depression know that you aren’t alone.

Do you struggle with depression? Do you feel like your sensitivity makes it worse? Or does it make you more aware?

 

Pic credit via StockSnap

Shannon is a Highly Sensitive Person as well as an Introvert. She's a Confidence Coach for Highly Sensitive People and an advocate for breaking the stigma on Mental Health. She loves kittens, laughter, and helping people live their best lives.

7 Comments

  • Tina

    Shannon,
    I’ve had anxiety and depression for a long time, although I’m not sure I knew it until my late 20’s. I think up until then I thought I was “too sensitive,” and that was my problem. I do think that being highly-sensitive can lead into depression and/or anxiety once you’ve hit and passed the “overwhelm” point (so easy to do!). And maybe just being so aware of EVERYTHING and feeling all those feelings all the time (your own, and everyone else’s) makes us more in tune with emotions in general, and hyper-aware of every nuance of them.

    I also started medication years ago, and that has helped. But as you say, it’s an ongoing process. Sometimes it makes you want to “give up” the sensitivity to be like other ‘normal’ folks… Thanks for writing so honestly and candidly about this. So many people still feel “broken” or “defective” for feeling this way, for struggling with depression over and over again. Hearing stories like yours makes people feel more understood, and probably goes a long way toward making them feel like living with this is possible, and that even thriving with it is possible, too. A wonderful gift.

    • Shannon Garza

      Tina,
      I do agree with you, I feel that high sensitivity does affect depression and anxiety and can even lead to that if not properly educated about high sensitivity and how to cope with it,as so many of us are not due to the stigma. And as you so perfectly said “being so aware of EVERYTHING and feeling all those feelings all the time (your own, and everyone else’s) makes us more in tune with emotions in general, and hyper-aware of every nuance of them.” It means we feel the good and the bad so deeply that it amplifies what you are currently going through. It undoubtedly plays its part.

      Many times I wanted to give up my sensitivity and even now I still feel that now and again. It’s pretty intense to live with, but then I remember the good parts and it gets a little better. Aw thank you, that’s so kind of you. I just want other sensitives to know they aren’t alone and if it takes me getting vulnerable then so be it. I want them to see, like you said, that it’s possible to thrive even if you battle/struggle with depression and anxiety. <3 🙂

  • Jas

    Hi Shannon – I just read you article and it resonated. My instinct tells me that there *is* a correlation between depression and high sensitivity. Perhaps for different reasons, like when you talk about feeling the problems of the world more deeply, but I also feel that high sensitivity is also synonymous with an over-thinking mind, which can lead to rumination/negative-thinking and such. And, of course, we absorb others’ energy; I am pretty sure my exhaustion whilst working in the city in sales and the stress/overwhelm that came from it also contributed to my depression diagnosis a couple of years’ back.

    Thanks for writing this. Jas 🙂

    • Shannon Garza

      Hey Jas 🙂
      Gladly. I’m glad it resonates with you. Well I’m glad you understand but I’m not glad you go through it, if you do. I really do think that our high sensitivity affects our depression and anxiety. It enhances them almost to the point of being unbearable. Oh yes we are prone to overthinking and if you’re an introvert then it’s double haha. Absorbing others energy can take it all out of you. Being a Empath and a HSP at the same time makes it tougher, which sounds like maybe you are, I can’t be sure, but I thought I recognized it. My bad if not. 🙂 I understand why you mean about the workforce. I couldn’t stay in it, I eventually become my own boss. It’s a struggle but it’s better then absorbing everyone’s energy around me. Thank you for your thoughts. I appreciate it. 🙂

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