This Is What Depression Feels Like

ryan melaugh /
ryan melaugh /

The feeling of depression is a hard one to describe. It’s the Mr. Hyde to your Dr. Jekyll, always tagging along for the ride when you would rather bury him under your bed. Depression is a meaner version of yourself, repeating the meanest things you’ve ever said about yourself over and over and over.

And then again.

It’s wanting to go spend time with your friends but being unable to find an outfit that makes you happy; trying on so many clothes that you have wrecked your bedroom and don’t feel like going anywhere at all. You lay down on the mountain of Forever 21 crop tops and sundresses and feel incredibly stupid for ever buying any of them. You don’t want to go out at this point but you know somewhere deep down you’ll feel better if you get out of your drafty apartment for a while. Eventually you settle on something to wear, but you’re convinced your arms look fat and hate yourself for it.

Just like that stupid outfit, everything else feels like settling too. Even the best days aren’t good, and every action feels like an out-of-body experience, like you’re watching your life play out from behind a haze or one of those secret one-way mirrors you see on cop shows. Except unlike the clever detectives, you aren’t a step ahead, but rather several steps behind because you can’t find your left shoe and spent all morning looking for it, so long in fact that you were late to class and forgot about doing the homework.

Should have just slept in; you’re falling asleep now anyway.

You can’t appreciate the highs — getting a new job or your college graduation, because nothing feels real. You can’t process what is happening to you because you’re not 100 percent sure it’s happening at all.

The lows come often and suddenly. They pop up when someone points out a spelling mistake you inadvertently made in an online article or when you discover you’ve run out of milk. They hit you when you realize you haven’t done your laundry in three weeks and you can’t do anything but sit on the floor and cry because you’re tired and you’re hungry, but you have trouble sleeping and food doesn’t sound good anymore. Not to mention your favorite T-shirt is dirty.

The feelings you can’t process manifest with uncontrollable anxiety over simple tasks and an eating disorder that doesn’t quite fit the parameters of anorexia or bulimia. Great — yet another way you don’t fit in. Yet another problem you need to explain, or more likely avoid and tell almost no one about because you’re scared of worrying your parents and disappointing all the people who have believed in you. Everyone who thought you were fearless.

It’s wanting so badly to go for a run just like you used to, but not having the mental or emotional stamina to cope with the thought. You tell yourself you’ll do it tomorrow but tomorrow never comes and before you know it you just zoned out and ate like 16 peeps you bought on sale at Target after Easter.

The peeps offer no nutritional supplement, and you haven’t eaten much of anything all week. You’re too tired to get off of the couch and make some ramen noodles or even reheat some leftover pasta you half-attempted to eat the night before.

It just sounds like such a hassle.

And you have an exam in the morning but you’ve spent so much time consumed with anxiety over your dirty laundry that by the time it’s noon you feel ready for a nap. You have finals, you have papers due, but that nap sure does sound nice and you sure are tired. That hour quickly turns into three.

Your thoughts feel fleeting and racing and you suddenly realize its the middle of the night and you just wrote a whole Thought Catalog article instead of studying for your 10 a.m. exam. What just happened?

That is what depression feels like. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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