The many shades of depression

Depression is such a difficult topic to talk about whether you are suffering with it yourself or know someone who is. Everyone’s experience with mental health is completely personal to the individual making no case the same. To me, this poses the question ‘why is depression used as a blanket term to describe a set number of characteristics’ that are treated (or not as the case may be) in the same way for each person? I have asked a number of different people, varying in ages and experiences, to describe depression to show that everyone’s experience is different and emphasize the fact that depression should not be put in one, meaningless tickable box that undermines what people are going through. Depression is not easy, you can’t just snap out of it and compassion and understanding should be used with every single individual with mental health issues. We are all unique and so is how we deal emotionally and physically with situations. It should also not be treated as something that can be cured within a set amount of time. For some it gets better, they find ways to manage, but for others, depression becomes a part of them and follows them at every step.

Names are not included for the purpose of protecting people’s privacy.

It’s hard to put into words as it’s an overwhelming thing, some days it’s extreme irritation of myself with self-hatred towards one aspect, a few or all of myself other days it’s literally the opposite its emptiness, total numbness to everything around me. Like when you space out into the distance except it’s like that for everything, there’s nothing on your mind, no thoughts, no feelings and when you realize you’ve been like that for a while it can be quite a frightening thing cause you know in your heart that is no way anyone should feel – J Anonymous

It’s like having a load of “characters” in your life that is uninvited. The bully telling you you’re worthless, the philosopher saying there’s no point carrying on, the energy fairy sapping all its power from you, the critic saying how ugly you are, the daemon keeping you awake all night with intrusive thoughts – yet you’re the only one experiencing all of this, and very few people will understand the battles you fight with these characters every day, just to survive – C Anonymous

It’s often the absence of many feelings and just being completely drained.                  S Anonymous

Depression- it sneaks into your life, little by little until it feels like an invisible weight, it snuffs out the ability to care about things, yourself and eventually others. Hopeless and very weary every day. – L Anonymous

Depression. A deep & dark place that feels like you’ll never escape. A wish to want to die. Just to go to bed & never wake up. The questioning of “will this ever end”? A feeling of complete self-loathing, hopelessness & worthlessness. It creeps up on you & you don’t even realise until it’s too late. Then surprisingly enough you wake up one day to realise there is family & friends that love you & will support you. But you have to tell them what’s going on. If they don’t know they can’t help. Don’t keep it inside.   – – A Anonymous

Depression feels like everyone else is moving on with their lives while your stuck in a hole that you can’t climb out of. You find it difficult to control your thoughts and feelings and rumination becomes a daily occurrence. You become isolated in your own mind, unable to comprehend what is going on around you. You smile but you want to cry. You talk but you want to be silent. You pretend that your happy but, your not. Feeling disconnected from the world and the people around you, and feel like no one notices you or cares. You go through the motions of everyday life, but feel like you have a heavy weight on your shoulders, pulling you down C – Anonymous

To me, depression feels like all the colours of the rainbow have become different shades of grey, the darkest shade representing the most difficult of days when my mood is low and the lighter being better days. Even better days have that tinge of darkness and that lingering feeling of sadness. The inability to see a day as a good one as happiness one day often leads to the consequences the next. Every fibre of your body fights but, your brain allows the venomous words of depression to drip its negativity, self-doubt and despair, encapsulating every happy memory and twisting it to remind you of all the things you should feel bad for. It is the voice in your head telling you that you are not good enough. Once you are stuck in its grasp you fight to catch your breath, like your underwater and fighting your way to the surface and I even if you do the battle has only just begun. You must battle the current, the waves, the constant assault making your body tired. Your mind panics in order to swim back to shore when you realise you have lost the ability to swim.

Depression is a real thing and the pain is felt as strongly as a bone breakage but, it does not heal as quickly or as easily as one. Often the physical effects do not show but, inside people are fighting their own battles and getting out of bed can feel like climbing a mountain. The brain is an organ and like all other organs it can sometimes become sick and malfunction. Brain scans show that there are physical differences between a healthy brain and a sick brain. So telling someone “Your not really sick, it’s all in your head” is like telling someone with asthma “It’s not real, it’s all in your lungs”.

Talk about your mental health, reach out to the people who love you and will support you and if you do not suffer, be that welcoming hug or listening ear that someone needs.

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