** Trigger Warning **
I’ve been there and since you’re reading this, you’ve probably been there too. I’m talking about those moments, days, weeks, months and even years when you feel so depressed that you want to give up. I have been through so many of those times that I have lost track of the exact number.
You see, I have battled Major Depressive Disorder for 30+ years. I’m speaking from personal experience.
You know as well as I how difficult it is to explain to someone else how you are feeling. And even if they have experienced depression in their life, they still aren’t going to understand exactly how you feel. We are all unique. My depression is uniquely mine and your depression is uniquely yours.
My description is real! It is personal! It is my life struggle! I’m sharing this part of myself so that others may understand how I feel. I am sharing this because I want those who don’t understand to have a better idea such that they may help those they love in their struggle. Depression is hard. It is a battle. And sometimes, sadly, it wins. It’s time everyone understands how it feels. Let’s beat down the stigma.
For me, depression is always dark. It’s as dark as the night sky. Except there are no stars, no moon, and no light. There is a bit of humidity or moisture in the air, as the feelings and emotions stick to my skin and reach the inner depths of my soul. I imagine a very cold and dark dungeon with the door slammed shut. The darkness is extremely oppressive. It is suffocating.
I am trapped in the corner of this enclosed dungeon with no light. I can feel the walls on my left and to my right. I am sitting with my knees pulled to my chest, seemingly hugging myself tight. I have to hold on to myself for fear that I may fall apart.
The cement floor is dirty, abrasive and very cold. I am reluctant to touch it for fear of what I may feel. On this floor lies secrets, memories and awful moments. I can’t go there right now.
I feel and hear a haunting presence. Any word I might whisper will bounce against the walls, echoing and be deafining. I fear what I might say or hear and so I stay silent. Despite the oppressive conditions of the dungeon, I welcome this place to be alone and to not be present.
Periodically, I seem to hear what sounds like the unsettling noise of chains shaking. I do not know if they are hanging or lying. I know for certain that I must stay perfectly still and not move a muscle.
My mind begins to struggle. I am struggling with those chains. Are they real or imaginable? The chains represent the feelings and experiences I have and I know they can result in a permanent residence in this dungeon.
I’m very tired and yet I can not sleep. My clothes are tattered and dirty and do not keep me warm. The very comfort I crave for is not present.
I am not hungry, thirsty or craving anything at all. It’s as though my body has shut down completely. It is straving for something, but I cannot find what it is missing.
As I sit in the darkness, I am not aware of the time. It may be eleven in the morning or eleven in the evening. Long ago, I stopped caring and so I stopped looking. I don’t keep track as it does not matter.
I am confined to this dungeon. It is my home. It is my hiding.
There are no visitors, no waiting room, no telephone and no mail service. I do not tell anyone I am here. They do not even suspect I am here. I am tucked away and forgotten. I pull away and tell no one.
I am tortured with my own thoughts. There are so many and they all feel realistic. No one understands how I feel. No one undertands what I need. No one is there when I stumble. No one is there when I fall. I can’t reach them and I can’t tell them.
My dungeon encapsulates me, surrounds me, protects me. For now it is a refuge. It is not inviting and it is not where I want to be. But, unfortunately, I am used to it. It is familiar to me. It is almost comfortable and semi-pleasant.
As with all of my posts regarding mental health, if you are in need of immediate help, if you are feeling suicidal or need someone to talk to, please reach out. Don’t do it for me. Do it for yourself. YOU ARE WORTH IT!
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
7 thoughts on “Depression: How it Feels”
Depression and anxiety are so very misunderstood. People think you should just “snap out of it”, but clinical, chronic depression has so many factors, mental, physical and emotional and often goes untreated because people think to themselves, “I’m just running thought a bad spell. It will pass.” And then it doesn’t and it doesn’t and often people around you just don’t get it. My advice? Do not pass GO, do not collect $200. Run. Dot walk to get yourself some help. Start with your primary care physician or call a hotline and get help.
You are very correct. One thing I am quick to point out to others is to make sure they are professionally diagnosed by someone who is a professional in the mental health field. Even primary physician’s don’t get it right. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. 😉
Beautifully written and so important to share. Wish I knew about this when I first felt depressed at 15 and had no idea what was happening.
I hear you, Jo! Same here! It started earlier for me and it wasn’t until I was 19/20 before I was diagnosed by a psychiatrist and began medication treatment and therapy. It’s so important that we all share with others so they know they are not alone.
Thank you for sharing how you feel. It is a reminder that none of us are alone but we all experience it in a slightly different way.
You are so correct Melinda! I think the most important part is that we all break the stigma attached with mental health illnesses. Other people need to be educated so they can help when needed. And it so important for others to know that there are others, like myself, who truly understand what they are feeling and experiencing. ❤