The pill I am on does not remove depressive days. It only (theoretically) reduces the number of episodes by 50% and reduces the number of days and severity of the episodes. Hence, I still go into what I call the downward spirals, but it’s usually easier and quicker to begin trudging up the “hill” again -days instead of months or years. I imagine depression (especially chronic depression) as the nadirs and valleys of mountains. The peaks are the “normal” that others experience most of the time. To be at normal is infrequent (though more frequent on this mood stabilizer for me, it seems). When you are at the peak, you look out at all the other peaks – and it’s hard to not notice how many nadirs you have ahead of you. It sometimes feels hopeless. It sometimes makes you want to jump off the peak so that you no longer have to experience the nadirs anymore (aka suicidal ideation). It is rare that I can be at a peak and just be appreciative that I am looking down the hill and not up at the journey still to come.
That is one perspective of depression – written from the not-so-depressed me of this very moment. Writing outside of a depression, though, only provides an intellectual, birds-eye view of the condition. While within a depression, the paradoxical situation occurs – the emotions are overwhelming and unbearable and thus hard to express as anything coherent. I know a number of people who say they have never experienced depression outside of situational sadness, and they ask what it is like. And so, I thought I’d share a rare coherent and semi-observational writing *about* depression while *in* a depression to provide a peek into the brain of someone depressed. Perhaps it will make more sense like this:
[For context: When I wrote this, I had been mostly in bed all day with the covers pulled over my head and the door to my room closed, unable to be productive or convince myself up to be social with the people staying at my house. I quarantined myself. I felt like I was a risk to others around me – a risk of saying things I didn’t mean or harming them emotionally. I acknowledged I was depressed to myself, but it was still hard to give myself what I needed to overcome it or ask for what I needed from others. Of course, being a “communication” teacher of sorts, this also made me feel like a hypocrite, reinforcing the cycle of feelings and thoughts.]
I am dying inside. I have been dying for decades.
I cannot fix myself, only watch as I consume myself, occasionally believing I have made steps forward only to find myself back at square one – again.
I want nothing. Nothing would feel safe. Nothing to lose, nothing to gain – and then lose again. Nothing for me or you or anyone. Just nothing.
Sometimes, people feel nothing in depression. For me, those are the good days. Most of the time, depression is about feeling everything all at once. It is insanely overwhelming and it blocks out the light.
Depression is not trusting anything I think or feel, relying on others to tell me what reality looks like while simultaneously believing they are pulling one over on me for their own benefit. I am not me. I don’t exist. But when I am here, the I is entirely consumed and instead, I am just depression through and through.
While I live the days I am not here doing all the things and filling every waking moment, I spend my days of depression laying in bed, unable to convince myself up. Crying, sleeping, reading, crying, sleeping.
I live in two worlds and I can’t choose to visit either; they visit me.”