I truly hesitated to write this, there is so much in the media lately about depression. Who am I to feel I have anything to add to the wise words that have been already written. What is it like, living with depression?
For each of us the answer is different and complicated.
Once, when asking a young man why he cut himself I was shocked to hear him tell me “because pain is the only thing I feel”
Most days, when you are chronically depressed nothing or sadness is the only thing you feel. You begin to look forward to even pain because at last you are feeling something.
In my life depression and anxiety are interwoven, they hold hands and egg each other on.
At work, I put on my plastic smile and fake my way thru the day. It takes maximum effort to function in a public place for 8 or 9 hours and leaves me emotionally drained. Constant interaction with others means being on the verge of a panic attack through out the day. A cranky or disgruntled customer could push me to the brink of hyperventilation and feeling like I am having a heart attack.
With my brain on overload, I settle in for the drive home. No radio, I need quiet. I don’t even have the energy to be “on” again long enough to stop for groceries, or fill my gas tank. I rarely make social plans for the evening of a work day.
There are evenings I never even turn on the TV or music. Quiet. The thoughts in my head move fast enough. Micro bursts of ideas, images, songs, I don’t need electronic entertainment.
My days off I plan carefully. Early appointments and errands, so I can be back at home to have the maximum time to relax. Unwind. Be safe from anxiety. Which brings on depression.
Depressed for the life not being lived. Longing for the ability live spontaneously.
Depression doesn’t mean that there aren’t moments of happiness. Or weeks, or months or even years. Anyone knowing me by my Face Book page would think I live an exciting, active, happy life. There are absolutely times of great joy. Grand adventures where smiles come easily for the camera. That is the face you put forward when you live with depression.
Everything is fine. I’m okay.
You don’t post the pictures or tell the stories of sitting in your living room wringing your hands because you have to go somewhere you are unfamiliar with and you can feel the panic growing and you don’t know if you can do it.
You don’t tell people you can go zip lining with your family one day but you cant walk into a convenience store alone and buy a bottle of water the next.
Arriving at a destination hours early, because you are terrified you will miss a turn or panic trying to find an address and then if you start to run late you will panic for sure. So you learn to wait.
When you live with depression hope becomes delayed disappointment.
Hoping that you will feel up to the party you were invited to, but disappointed when you just don’t want to go to the effort.
Hoping that the great time in Vegas, or on your girls weekend will sustain you and keep you from falling back in to the nothingness when it ends.
When getting dressed in the morning takes all that you have.
You see friends going out having fun, you hope for an invitation, but ultimately know if one is offered you will find a reason why you can’t go.
“you have a good job, a family that loves you, what do you have to be depressed about?”
You get tired of trying to explain, so you don’t. But worse yet, you don’t know what you have to be depressed about. It’s just there.