Health Magazine

What Does Depression Feel Like? Real Experience

By Therealsupermum @TheRealSupermum

bipolar2 300x239 What Does Depression Feel Like? Real Experience

Depression is not just being sad, sad is rational, often short-lived and does not usually overwhelm your entire being for weeks on end. What does depression feel like? Depression is far more than just being sad.

In my experience there is no emotional state that is worse than depression. It’s like some kind of chemical imbalance that erodes your very will to live, picking away at every ounce of confidence you once had in yourself. And that’s exactly what it is – a chemical imbalance in the brain, to put it clinically.

So whilst the sceptics may call you lazy or attention seeking (reinforcing how bad you already feel about yourself), the doctors will confirm that depression is in fact a legitimate, debilitating illness.

This still doesn’t seem to hold much weight with some people. Never mind what the GP says, they clearly think that in their second opinion, you’re fine. ‘Snap out of it!’ ‘Pull yourself together!’ ‘Stop wallowing!’

I can’t

That’s the problem. When you’re depressed sometimes you just CAN’T do the things you used to do competently. And that’s as frustrating for us as it is for everyone around us. But if I had broken my leg you wouldn’t expect me to just run up and down stairs like nothing’s wrong. Likewise, I’m depressed – so don’t expect me to function normally.

Yes, I can pretend I’m okay.

I can put on a front. Sometimes I even am genuinely happy – which is another misconception about depression. Don’t be too quick to judge if someone who suffers from depression is having a better day and ‘doesn’t seem depressed’. Because a sure fire way to bring them back down again is to accuse them of skiving.

Depression does not affect everyone in the same way, and some days it will have more of a hold on us than other days. But clinical depression is not just a bad mood that can be lifted easily.

People often use the word flippantly – ‘oh, that’s depressing’ – but the actual suffering of depression cannot be dismissed so easily .

How to explain it? I don’t think there any words I can use that will possibly do this illness justice. The severity of the depression (mild, moderate or severe) obviously impacts on the symptoms, but for me it was enough to be disabling. (Some people would roll their eyes at the idea of poor mental health being a disability.

I would say that they too suffer from a mental health condition – theirs is called ‘ignorance’.) When your mind is practically bursting with the overwhelming belief in your own insignificance, you can’t envisage an end to the pain. I would wake up and cry big fat heartfelt tears until I was hollow.

I would go to sleep crying so much my head ached with more than just the mental pain. I have become an expert in the art of silent crying and I can gauge the point at which my mascara will have made a run for it down my face, without needing to check in the mirror.

But that’s just one of the outward signs. Inside my head it’s far messier.

Depression has brought me to the point of despair, time after time. I sometimes feel like I’m being swallowed by this mental illness and it spits me out for a few moments only to snatch me up again.

I’m always running away from it, but you can’t run away from your own mind.

Depression has made me wake up in the morning desperately wishing I hadn’t. It has made me desperately resent my own existence and has reduced my self-worth to such an extent that I’ve had countless thoughts of suicide. On one occasion I very nearly did kill myself.

Depression has lead me to self-punishment, self inflicted starvation and self-harm. I count myself lucky that none of these issues have become severe. I am also lucky that a ‘meltdown’ made me finally contact my GP, and that through her I’ve been able to access the Community Mental Health Team and multiple forms of support.

I’ve been through the system a lot over the last 6 months, and that doesn’t look like something that will change any time soon. But like I said, I’m lucky.

Despite this horrible affliction that is depression, I would say that there are at least two positives that have arisen from my mental illness. Firstly it has allowed me to develop as a person.

For instance It has helped me to become more empathetic and better able to support friends when they’re having troubles.

Trying to help out with other people also works as quite a good distraction from my own internal turmoil. And secondly, depression has allowed me to see who my real friends are.

I know that sounds cheesy but it is seriously true that you don’t know how good your friendship with someone is until something happens to test it.

Depression is a big test.

Now I’d love to be able to end this piece with some smiley success story and fool-proof guide to recovery, but I think we all know that’s not going to happen. I don’t mean that it is not possible to recover, quite the reverse, there just isn’t an easy method that I or anyone else can offer that will be universally helpful for all.

The most important thing I can advise for depression sufferers is to TALK TO SOMEONE.

Some people are small-minded when it comes to depression, but not everyone. Find the right people. Don’t isolate yourself. Seek support.

And those of you who continue to look down your nose at depression.. snap out of it.

This inspirational post was written anonymously. I have full permission to share the story and it is true to the best of my knowledge. If you can relate to this post and would like to share your own anonymous story please contact me. You could help us share the blogs support to helping others by sharing via the social sharing buttons.

 What Does Depression Feel Like? Real Experience

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