It's a never-ending cycle of sadness and guilt.
Before we start, let me clarify: when I say depression, I mean clinical depression. This is the kind that never goes away (completely) and is often triggered by nothing at all.
Also, there are different levels of depression. It’s a spectrum that varies from person to person, so I can only explain my experience.
Now that that’s out of the way, here we go.
Imagine you’re having a blue day. That sadness that comes without warning and isn’t caused by anything, and thus cannot be resolved by anything. Now imagine that lasting for multiple days, weeks, or even months. It’s exhausting to even think about, right?
Clinical depression is draining.
I can try to do something, but I end up just sitting and staring, and trying to come up with motivators.
Things like: this is your job, you’ve done this a million times, it’ll only take x amount of time, the sooner you start the sooner you can finish, let’s just get this over with.
But even when I do attempt to make progress, my heart isn’t in it, and it all just seems wrong.
Then I end up in a cycle of thoughts like “what am I even doing? What am I doing here? I shouldn’t be here, I shouldn’t be doing this, I’m doing everything wrong, I’m pathetic, what’s the point of doing this, none of this matters, I should just vanish, nothing I do is worth anything, I’m worthless, etc., etc.."
When I’m depressed, I’m always tired, and slow-moving. My chest will feel as empty as my throat. It’s like I lose the energy to be happy. Even a little happy. Even content.
Sleeping becomes more appealing than being awake or getting out of bed.
Then comes guilt. I have a pretty great life.
I have a loving family, awesome friends, generally feel safe, and have a steady income. So when I feel depressed, I also end up feeling guilty as well.
Why aren’t I happy? I have all the materials to be a happy person. I should be grateful. Why aren’t I grateful? I’m spoiled and ungrateful, none of my problems are that big of a deal and here I am sulking like it’s the end of the world, I’m such a shitty person, there are people living in extreme poverty and with abuse and war, and here I am sitting at my desk feeling like there’s no hope. I shouldn’t be here, I don’t deserve to be living this life, someone else should have it, someone who would be more grateful, god, I’m a horrible person. I hate myself, I hate myself, I hate myself.
So you see, clinical depression is this spiral that gets deeper and deeper and hammers you into the ground until you can’t stand and you truly deeply believe that you are about as good as scum (or less).
When I’m depressed, the silver lining is more like a knife.
Okay, that might have sounded like a reference to self harm. While plenty of people do, I don’t physically harm myself, thankfully, though I’ve gotten pretty damn close.
Anyway, I mean a metaphorical knife. Anything good can be turned into something bad. Let me give you an example:
On the bright side, you’re healthy!
Barely. I eat like crap and have love handles. I’m just going to get less and less healthy from here. I’ll probably turn into a huge blob that can’t even get out of bed and my family will disown me because I’m hopeless, and I’ll just die by drowning in my own lard.
Well, you’re pretty!
Not pretty enough to be a model. No one hits on me. I may as well be invisible, I’m so unimpressive. There’s no point in living.
But you DO get hit on.
Only by scum bags. I attract scum because I am scum. Birds of a feather....
Well you have a loving family!
That I don’t deserve to be apart of. I’m a disappointment.
That’s not true, you’re great! You don’t disappoint them!
They’re in denial. They’ll realize it soon enough. They’ll realize I’m hopeless and unworthy of their love and I’ll be all alone.
Okay, I’ll stop there. But you see what I mean?
Logically, I think that my life has been pretty good and that I’ve been happy and “deserve” to be happy, but depression is stubborn and can take away any good thought or memory.
It wins by persistence.
It’s like it creates this giant blind spot to any happiness or goodness in myself or around me. Or as if I had never REALLY experienced that before, and had long been in denial. It's hard to believe in something you've never experienced yourself, right?
Believe me when I say it’s a truly weird experience when part of you knows that in reality you’re all right and are reasonably happy and grateful for your life, and the other part of you “knows” that you’re a horrible, ungrateful person with nothing going to live for.
And it sucks.
It sucks needing to rely on medication to keep you logical enough to know you don’t have to die or disappear to be at peace.
It sucks not being able to go to therapy and have an epiphany that makes you never have depression again.
No one WANTS depression. Trust me! I’d much rather live my life as usual without any illogical thoughts constantly bumming me out!
And, it sucks that often times, the people you love can’t really help you, so you have to get through at least a good part of it yourself.
So, as the depression gets deeper and deeper, I have to be alone. I’m too ashamed of myself and, yeah, depressed to even consider spending time with the people I love.
It’s not easy getting out of depression.
Well, technically it’s impossible, but I mean it’s not easy getting out of the extreme lows of depression.
It’s a constant battle that takes a lot of self care and a lot of discerning what thoughts to really believe.