Being sad is certainly a part of depression, but being depressed is so much more than that.
Depression is a serious and debilitating mental illness.
Sadness is an emotion.
Depression shows up in people in so many different ways. For some people, depression rears its ugly head in much worse ways than in others. It is really difficult to even begin to understand what depression is like without having experienced it yourself.
For me, depression is like this dark cloud that is always around. It’s not something you always notice, but it is there, waiting to come and make things worse. Sometimes depression is just this dense fog that you cannot seem to find your way out of. It can be like when you’re driving before the sun comes out in the springtime, when there’s just this fog everywhere and even the car fog lights don’t help you to see more than a foot ahead of you. Depression can be when you feel like the fog is just never gonna clear, and you can’t even think of seeing yourself getting through it. Depression can be the feeling that you are drowning in this lake called life, and no matter what you do, you cannot keep your head above the water. Depression can feel like you’re suffocating, as though someone is holding a plastic bag over your face and like there is nothing you can do to stop them.
Sure, people with depression are sad. But it is so much more than that.
Depression can be feeling like you aren’t good enough.
Depression can be feeling like you’re always a failure, even when you do something better than other people.
Depression can involve a lot of black and white thinking—like if you don’t get a 100% on that test, then you failed.
Depression is sometimes just paying attention to the negative things in life and not even being able to see the positive in any situation.
Depression can be feeling guilty and blaming ourselves for something that is out of our control.
Depression can be being tired all the time, even after getting 14 hours of sleep after doing nothing all day.
Depression can be not being able to get any sleep because there’s a million thoughts going through your head, even after pulling an all nighter to write your three midterm papers.
Depression can be not being able to focus or concentrate on simple tasks such as watching TV or reading a menu at a restaurant.
Depression can be feeling worthless and feeling like there’s no point in you being here.
Depression can be not enjoying things that you used to, like sunsets, or driving with the windows down and the music too loud, or spending time with your best friends that you’ve known for almost half of your life.
Depression can be isolating yourself from everyone that cares about you.
Depression can make the simplest tasks that take little to no energy seem like so much work, like they take all the energy out of you.
Depression can be neglecting to take care of yourself, whether that be showering or eating or getting any kind of exercise.
Depression can be this voice in your head that often makes you think and believe all these things that aren’t true—things like “I don’t deserve to be here” or “I don’t deserve to be happy because of x,y, and z” or “I got three questions wrong on this test. Why am I such a failure?”
Depression can be looking happy and completely okay on the outside but breaking on the inside.
Depression can be getting upset over things that you never got upset over in the past.
Depression can be getting annoyed and irritated at the littlest things that you normally would have been able to handle.
Depression can be feeling numb or emotionless.
Depression can be feeling oh-so-alone when you know you have so many people that are here for you and that want nothing more than for you to be happy and yourself again.
Depression can be feeling happy for moments or days, just to fall back into that depressed state.
Depression can be wanting so badly to open up to someone but not doing so because you feel like your problems aren’t as important as they are.
Depression can impact a person in everyday tasks, whether they be social or cognitive or emotional.
Depression can make you not want to get out of bed in the morning because you dread everything about life, since it seems as though nothing and no one can bring you any kind of happiness anymore.
Depression is a constant battle with yourself. Depression cannot and does not just go away when people tell them to just be happy. Depression is not just sitting in your room all day crying, although sometimes it could be. But depression is so much more.
Everyone experiences sadness at some point in their life. Being sad once in a while makes us human. Some would even say without sadness, we could never truly be happy. Sadness makes you able to appreciate the happy things. Being sad sucks, and it can be so painful. When people are sad, it is usually over something, so if that something were to change, the sadness would disappear. Depression is being sad or upset over everything and feeling like your world is falling apart.
My mom once said to me, “You may be depressed, but you are not your depression. You are not this disease.” It really made me realize how right she is. Ever since I found out that I did have depression, I have walked around, just letting this illness control my life and change who I am. I’ve let it take over my life, and I have done nothing but give into it. All that me giving into has done is let it become so much worse. It made me realize that my life is falling apart because I am not doing anything to change it. Depression is this hole that I have been digging myself into, and now I have so much more to do to get out of it.
But depression isn’t the end of the road, it’s just an obstacle or challenge that life throws at you. It is this sometimes long and really difficult journey. Depression takes a lot out of you, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up or that there are no other choices, even though it may feel like that. Life can be really beautiful, and you can be happy again—you are just going to have to work harder to get there.