What It Feels Like

Depression is a weird thing.

It makes busyness a blessing. It is not that difficult to understand why I started feeling it as soon as I decided to take a step back and remove some of the obligations in my life. Right now, I’m struggling with the decision to maintain a balance — let myself have some free time, but not too much that it becomes unbearable. It’s incredibly tempting to pile things back on, just to distract myself. It’s really easy to do that, but it certainly isn’t healthy.

I don’t know exactly what to say to describe my current state of being. I want so badly to ascribe these feelings to things that are happening in my life, because some of them are really good scapegoats. And it actually does help to know that I can release some of these feelings via those happenings, and use them as an outlet. But my mind is too rational to place the entire weight of my depression on exterior events.

I was able to do that a couple of years ago. I’ve only felt a sort of extended depression twice in my life, and the first time it was a very different thing than what I’m feeling now. It was a panicked, my-life-has-changed-and-I-don’t-know-how-to-process-it depression, one in which I would fall asleep crying, because I couldn’t possibly do anything else — it was an overflow of pain and confusion. I’d had these emotions before, but in little cups that I sipped from… this was a burlap sack, from which the emotions seeped, spilling over the top and leaking through the sides and the bottom, yet somehow constantly replenished from the inside. I felt like I was out of control. I also knew that it was caused by life events — and I didn’t know how to fix it other than with time, and time was not being friendly.

But this time, it’s all in the sternum: a feeling that won’t go away, a constant nagging that just exhausts you. It’s not an overflow; it’s leeches. All energy and joy is sucked out at a constant pace, and all the happy things I can think of doing will only bring me that energy back for as long as I’m doing them, and then the slow drain continues. It makes me appreciate the welling up of emotions that external events bring, because at least those events give my pain purpose — it’s still hell, but at least I can slap a name on it. When you are being sucked dry, having a sudden overflow can feel rewarding.

I would like to say this before I get too far in this post: I’m not writing this to make people feel bad or sorry for me. I’m not writing it to evoke declarations of how “courageous” I am for writing this, for being honest — I’m not fishing for compliments, or looking for people to tell me that I really am a swell individual, thanks for writing that. I’m writing this because it helps to write it. And I can’t comprehend feeling this way and not trying to analyze it.

I’m frustrated that people can’t talk about depression like this. Sure, we talk about how depression sucks, and how we struggle with it, or how we pulled ourselves up out of it — we talk around it, but we won’t talk about it. Maybe I only talk about it on here because I can’t afford therapy, but still, talking about things helps. And if everyone has the capability of depression — I’m not talking about sadness, because that’s the result of depression, I’m talking about the chemical imbalance that is waiting to happen inside all of us — then maybe we should talk about it.

We should describe what it feels like, and we should try to dig deeper and understand where it’s coming from. Sometimes getting a better understanding of something really sucks, but in the long run, it’s extremely beneficial. We all feel it different ways, and we all deal with it in different ways, but wouldn’t it be great if we were able to find a commonality throughout it all? It is common for those suffering from depression to feel alone, but in reality, it’s almost the complete opposite. Perhaps we worry that talking about it will bring down the mood in the room — depression is depressing, right? But that’s the thing — we know how easy it is for everyone to relate, so we don’t want to tip the scale.

But let’s tip it. Explore it. If it enables you to have a better understanding of who you are, then you have nothing to lose.

One Reply to “What It Feels Like”

  1. Melissa F. says:

    I have likened depression to when I know I drank too much and need to vomit to feel better, except it’s my soul that needs to vomit.
    I have definitely gone to a party and cried because I just couldn’t cry at home by myself any longer. And I really did feel better being there, but the crying was still happening. I had to let it run its course. I felt awkward taking that energy to a party, but I knew my friends would understand that I needed and wanted to be there, but I also needed to just sit quietly for a bit and let my eyes finish.

    Liked by 1 person

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