While I’m glad to at least see depression posts on social media, some of them are really irritating. Depression isn’t always, “Oh I’m sad. I better go walk in the rain,” or “Boo hoo I better cry until my mascara streams down my face and I can take a dramatic picture.” Don’t get me wrong, that happens sometimes. It’s just that these well meaning posts tend to make it look like depression is this glamorous thing and it’s not. I wouldn’t wish mental illness on anyone, not even my worst enemy. I actually love going through walks in the rain. I love a good thunderstorm. I’m always terrified of getting struck by lightning and it’s such an amazing feeling! That terror comes from that little part of me that is trying to keep me alive. When you spend most of your day haunted by little thoughts that taunt you and make you wonder if your life has meaning, it’s nice to know there’s a little bit of self preservation left in you!
For me, depression is having no energy for anything ever. It’s having a coffee and having motivation for maybe an hour or two, starting a project, and then becoming completely overwhelmed by it and stopping. It’s no longer being able to do the crafts I desperately miss because I think they will never be good enough. It’s working up the courage to start them only to end up needing a nap half way through and never finishing. The lack of energy is so discouraging. The moments where I can do things are always over shadowed by the realization that I don’t do them the way I used to. It makes me realize that there is still some passion left in me, but it’s being swallowed up by my darkness.
Depression is starting a million books or t.v. shows and crying so hard over them you can’t continue. If I cry over my life, it maybe lasts three minutes before I get angry at myself and stop or become so numb I couldn’t cry again if I wanted to. Having something, however little, that makes me cry is so scary. I don’t know if I will be able to stop. Chances are, I haven’t felt something in days and now it’s like I’m feeling all of those emotions I missed in a matter of minutes. I started crying over an episode of Sophia the First because of the beautiful display of sisterhood and I got upset my relationship with my sister isn’t that strong. For those of you who haven’t heard of that show, it’s target audience is like 3-5 year olds. That’s right, seeing something remotely positive made me cry harder than the target audience at nap time.
One of the worst parts of depression for me is feeling so completely alone. It’s like every other disease or disorder in the world can be talked about and well received except some form of mental illness. The people that tell me to just get over it and stop being so full of self-pity make me so upset. You wouldn’t tell an asthmatic to just breathe or a deaf person to just listen better, but somehow it’s okay to tell me, “Well, you should get over yourself,” because I have depression. I would like to just yell at people and tell them it’s a lack of serotonin, not a lack of character. Of course, I have the self-confidence of a skittish squirrel so, that will never happen. Every now and then, I meet a rare gem of a person who sees that I’m a hot mess and actually cares. When I was at college, I had a professor who would make a point to say good morning to me even if I was in the side room studying on a Saturday. Stuff like that always made me cry because someone in the world actually cared.
That lack of energy and the loneliness are the worst parts for me. They seem to really feed into each other. Right now, my apartment is beyond a mess. It’s a border line hoarding situation at this point. I have a chair that I sit in and then piles of stuff around me. Some of it is garbage that I’m too overwhelmed to go take outside because somebody might see me. Some of it is clothes that are dirty but can’t be taken care of because my clean clothes are still in the hamper waiting to be folded. The mess is embarrassing. I don’t have bugs or anything terrible, but I also don’t have anywhere for anyone to sit down (or stand really). The rest of the stuff on the floor and shoved on shelves are things that started with good intentions and I ran out of steam for. I have half done crafts and barely read books that I can’t stand to part with because throwing them out is throwing away the part of me I miss. Candles that I’m afraid to light. Dirty dishes because my sink is also full. The worst for me is when I go to the store and tell myself, “This is the month I will eat healthy and cook for myself!” I proceed to spend money I don’t have on produce that I will barely eat. Chopping up veggies or baking chicken feels terrible once I get home. There’s a part of me that is too depressed to even want to eat because I feel like I don’t deserve food. The rest of me is too tired to cook and too tired to throw away the expired food right away.
Depression really is a battle. It’s not taking a bath because it reminds you that you want to drown. It’s trying to reclaim parts of yourself only to leave tasks incomplete. It’s being surrounded by good intentions and having no energy to follow through even though your quality of life would greatly improve. Depression is ugly, but it shouldn’t be shameful. We need to talk about the ugly side of depression and stop misusing the term or accusing people of just being too stubborn to change. I don’t know anyone who would choose this life for themselves. I certainly wouldn’t. We need to stop glamorizing depression on social media. Depression sucks. It’s ugly. It’s messy. But you know what? It’s not something that makes you a bad person or a dramatic person. I hope reading this inspires you to share your struggles with mental illness!
What are some ugly things about your depression? Please leave some thoughts in the comments. It may feel like it, but we aren’t alone.