The Thing About Depression

Brooke Cagle

People will tell you things about depression.
They’ll tell you about the sadness, but you already know about that, don’t you?
They’ll tell you that some days, it’ll be hard to smile.
That some days will be better than others.
People will tell you that “It’s alright though,” and “I’m here for you” and “it’ll get better.”

Your mom will tell you she loves you, and your friends will tell you they are there if you want to talk, and your therapist will tell you about all things you’re supposed to hear at therapy, like what you should do and why.

But oh my god, there are so many things they don’t tell you.

They don’t tell you about the pain.

It’s a burning and it’s so there, and it makes you aware of every single breath that enters and leaves your body, like someone is manually inflating and deflating you, squeezing your body like a plastic bag with too much air in it.

They don’t tell you about the numbness either.

The emptiness, the hollow hole in your chest, that only comes in place of the pain, an emptiness that creeps into your smile, and then your eyes, a fog so thick you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

They’ll tell you to take your time.

“It’s okay! No rush,” they’ll say. But you feel rushed, maybe not by them, but by the way, they ask you if you’re okay, and their worried faces before they rearrange their expression for you.

They will tell you to take a day off. Make the next one into a good day, and take today for yourself.
But people don’t tell you that the good days are only mediocre and that if you have a day where you feel okay, it’s probably going to be your best day of the week.

People don’t tell you that the bad days are the dark days, the days where light doesn’t make it past your corneas, where it takes all of your energy to get out of your bed and function.

People don’t tell you that the worst days are the storm days, the days when there is no sunlight, no sky, no warmth, no life, and all you can do is sit, alone, under a pile of blankets, staring blankly at nothing because nothing is all you can see.

People will tell you about all the things they’ve heard and read.

All the coping mechanisms that they saw on facebook, or the ones that helped their sister’s friend.

But you’re not their sister’s friend, and yeah coloring is relaxing, but how does that help when your lungs won’t work right?

People don’t tell you that you won’t want to get better.

They don’t mention that, even though up to one in six people in this country are medicated, you will reject the idea of taking a pill, that you will say you’re strong, and you don’t need a medication to make yourself better.

They don’t tell you that for a while, you’ll hate your therapist. The only person that knows how to help you will be rejected by you because you hate the idea of not being in control of your own life.

They don’t tell you about all the days that you’ll call in sick because laying in bed sounds so much better than getting dressed, even though you know that getting dressed will make you feel better.

People will tell you that it’s all in your head.

They’ll tell you that you’re fine and it’s all fine and it’s all in your head. And you know that it’s all in your head, depression is just a chemical imbalance in your brain, right? You know it’s all in your head but that doesn’t stop the ache in the center of your chest, your chest and not your head.

People don’t tell you that you’ll lose your friends.

They don’t tell you that this being inside of you is not you and that the not you is you your friends will see instead of the real you, and they will hate it because they don’t recognize your face anymore. Your friends will drift away, all of them on a boat and you on a dinghy, until all you can see is the outline of their ship on the horizon as you float the other way.

They don’t tell you that you won’t recognize yourself, either. You will look in the mirror, and you will see your face, but when you look into your own eyes, the person staring back at you is a stranger, a stranger that took your body when depression took your mind, a stranger with no emotions and a broken soul.

They don’t ever tell you about the broken soul. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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