Depression is a beastie. It takes from you. It uses your anxieties to make you feel worse. It makes you miss the person that you used to be before it clutched you in a misguided embrace.
Some people, like me, can be ashamed by having depression.
“Am I just being lazy?”
“Will other people think I’m weak?”
“I’m sure other people’s problems are much worse than mine.”
But your problems are your own, your pain is your own, and nobody can say that their pain is worse than yours. Only you know how you feel, how you can’t cope, how you have thought about ending it all.
Depression hangs around you like a dark cloud that only you can see. It washes away all the good and gives you a dark grey outlook on life in return. You can’t see far ahead through the fog that surrounds you. Even the people close by seem at a distance as you become overwhelmed by the lack of light.
For those lucky enough to have never experienced depression, let me give you a little snippet into how a mental illness can be such a parasite. For those who have experienced it, let me give you what I can in words that will let you feel a little less isolated.
What it does to your past:
It puts heavy weights on all of your past mistakes and regrets, and hangs them around your neck for all to see. You are forced to walk around and function as normally as you possibly can whilst your neck and back are aching. Humiliated by the thought that other people can see all those regrets and mistakes, feeling as if they are an illuminated sign above your head makes you want to hide. You’re completely burdened by them, the weight so crushing that even lying down in bed can be uncomfortable. Depression sits on your chest, adding more weight, making you suffocate under every single moment of your past that you’ve ever regretted and wanted to change.
What it does to your present:
Your present is all consuming. A slow motion button has been pressed. Days, weeks and months pass, and you still feel the same. It’s kept standing beside you all this time, making your emotions barely change; either for better or worse; and therefore making it feel like no time has passed at all.
Dealing with decisions of your present day is enough to have to think about. You say to yourself; “What can I do to make myself feel better? Maybe I can go outside today? Maybe just a bath would be good?” but Depression whispers doubts into your ears; “Nothing will make this better. What’s the point of doing anything? Best stay exactly where you are and think about that for hours.”
What it does to your future:
All plans are dreaded. Seeing people, people seeing you, making regular conversation, all feel like the most difficult tasks. The only people you can bare to see is those who have their own shadow of Depression sitting faintly beside them. They know what it feels like and you don’t have to explain how under the duvet is the only place you feel safe.
Keeping Depression hidden is where it wants to stay so that it can make you want to hide. It feeds off your anxiety, growing bigger whilst making you feel a whole lot smaller.
The future is black for you. Depression has built you an underground tunnel to try and reach a way out, but it has been designed to be the most complex and dark pathway in order to persuade you to give up on trying to meet a brighter future.
“There is no future for you” it imprints on your brain, “this is all you have now.”
Thankfully, there is a way to control the beastie. One day it will feel like it’s not even there. It just takes time.
Be sure to seek support with people closest to you, or with the Samaritans if you really need to talk to somebody, but you’re not sure who. My inbox is always open too.