Depression Presented by Suzanne Davidson
CC image courtesy of Flickr, C
Editorial Note: This presentation originally appeared in The Neighborhood’s 2016 Mental Health Week. Homeschoolers Anonymous has received permission to reprint the article in its entirety. The entire series can be viewed at www.thepublicblogger.com
Content Warning: This story contains descriptions of depression.
Image being stranded in the middle of the ocean. You are tired and weary and long for a drink of water and a bite of food. You see a shoreline and you begin to swim to it, only to find out you can’t reach it. A riptide separates you from safety. Now image seeing a person walking along the shore. You begin to call out but before you can, a giant wave crashes over you and pushes you under. You begin to sink. You call out again but no one can hear you because your lungs are filling up with water as you are repeatedly beaten down by other waves.
All you wanted to do was reach safety but it was physically impossible. The desire and want to reach safety was there but it was impossible.
When you are suffering from depression, that is what it’s like when you want to be happy.
You may have every want and desire to be happy but no matter what you do you can never be… happy.
People that have not struggled with depression don’t know what it’s like. Most people think that depression is just another term used in place of sad. Being sad and depressed are two completely different things.
When you are sad you have an overwhelming feeling of sorrow. You feel the knot that forms in your chest when you hear bad news. You feel your stomach tie itself into knots when your significant other dumps you. If someone were to open you up, a waterfall of tears would come streaming out.
When you suffer from depression you have an overwhelming feeling of… nothing. You are not sad. But you are not happy either. You feel empty. You feel like if someone were to stab you from behind you wouldn’t notice. If someone were to open you up, they would see cobwebs. They could drop a penny in you and then hear it clank once it reached the bottom.
The worst part of being depressed isn’t the numbness, it’s the lies that depression makes you tell yourself.
It tells you that your best friend on earth hates you. It tells you that if you were to confide in someone that they wouldn’t care. It tells you that you are the biggest disgrace to ever walk the face of the planet. You might reject these lies for a while but eventually you start to believe them. You start to push people away because you don’t want to be a burden. You start to believe that you are no better than the garbage in the garbage can. You can’t stand to look at yourself in the mirror.
Once you believe the lies, you begin a downward spiral. You lose interest in activities that would normally bring you joy. You disconnect with your friends and family. It’s like walking up to a computer and pulling all the wires and cables out until nothing is connected anymore and you are left with a blank monitor.
I can’t put into words how bad it is to feel absolutely nothing. It’s like you are a cold metal robot that’s doing only what’s programmed. You roll with the punches. You go out and plaster a fake smile on your face so no one will ask what’s wrong because you don’t have the energy to explain. You don’t have the energy because you were up all night staring at the ceiling wondering when the constant numbness would go away. Wondering turns into praying and praying turns into begging. Eventually the begging turns into pleading for just one genuine smile to grace your lips.
It’s like being ravenously hungry and being sat down at a table with delicious smelling food but then being told you can’t eat it.
The laughs, hugs, and smiles from friends and family hurt. They hurt because you can’t take part in the joy and happiness that they feel. It’s like being stabbed from the inside out with knives. It’s like your body is slowly killing itself. It’s like being ravenously hungry and being sat down at a table with delicious smelling food but then being told you can’t eat it. You can’t eat but everyone else is chowing down. Why can they enjoy their day but you can’t? You begin to lash out because everyone else can partake in the joy and festivities around the table except you. Happiness is right in front of you but you can’t even smell it. You hate them, you hate life, and most of all, you hate yourself for the piece of trash that depression made you believe you are.
“All your efforts, all your achievements,
All your attainments turning into dust,
What is the feeling?
What happens to you?”
Nothing More, Pyre
Being depressed is like being caught under a car that is slowly crushing you. You might be able to breathe but that is it. Depression makes you a prisoner to your own mind and body. Depression is like a tornado. It tears everything you know and love apart and leaves you with pieces and tragedy in its wake.
The worst thing someone with depression can do is push people away. If someone is willing to listen and give you a shoulder to rest your head on, let them in. Thousands of people suffer from depression and there is a good chance that they may be fighting a similar battle as you. Overcoming depression is a journey that you don’t have to walk alone. We all have hit rock bottom at some point in life. Once you hit the bottom, the only way to go is up. You will fight and struggle to get out of the hole but once reach the top, you will be a stronger person.
Depression has taught me a few things. It has taught me that every day is precious. Every smile, hug, and laugh should never be taken for granted. Never skip out on the chance to hug your best friend. Never skip it out on the chance to say, “I love you” to your honey. It’s the small things in life that make life worth living. Always look for the hidden gems in life because they won’t always be there.
If you are suffering from depression, do not give up. Just know that there is something better once the tornado of depression has diminished. We have to suffer through the storm and then sift through the ruins and debris. We pick up the pieces that are left and carry on. We rebuild with what we have. We rise from the rubble, stronger and better than before.
The Neighborhood’s 2016 Mental Health Program Guide