You Asked Me What Depression Felt Like

God & Man

It’s 1am and I’m laying here because sleeping through night doesn’t happen too much anymore. I laughed about it at lunch today when my friend asked me what I take every night to fall asleep. Either benadryl. ZZZquil. Melatonin. Alcohol.

Alcohol only makes it worse so I’ve tried to lean away from that.

I choose not to escape but rather face these things head on. And moments like these when it hits is when it’s the ugliest.

It’s 1AM on a Saturday and I wonder why I stayed home tonight. I didn’t go to a party. I didn’t go to a bar. I just stayed put.

It’s 1AM and I feel so alone but I don’t want to burden my loved ones with negative company.

It’s 1AM and the thing about depression, in it’s darkest moments, it does it’s best to lie to me. Make me believe things that aren’t true but at 1AM I believe it.

It’s 1AM and I’m wondering why I wasn’t invited anywhere. I look at my phone. I see the texts that weren’t answered that shouldn’t shake me like it does but here I am completely affected by it and taking it too personal.

I look at snapchat and instagram. And I know those moments aren’t an accurate depiction of everyone’s life all the time. I don’t see their struggles. All I see is I’m holding back tears alone at 1AM and I wonder what’s wrong with me. I wonder why me?

Even if it runs in my family, why was I the chosen one to deal with these battles I can’t even articulate without making people uncomfortable.

Nor do I know how to explain any of it.

My brother stumbles home drunk and I look at him with envy. I wonder what being really happy all the time feels like. Drinking not to escape but because it enhances your good emotions instead of your bad ones.

I look at him and want to ask why wasn’t I invited even though I probably would have said no anyway.

When you have depression you cling to inclusion and acceptance because you just want to feel normal for even a little while.But you also cling to isolation and thinking you’re better off alone.

It’s 1AM and I’m beating myself up because I haven’t heard from him in days and I thought things were going well this time. I really did believe that.

It’s 1AM and depression tells me I’m a burden. That I’m clingy. That no one cares. That all everyone does is worry about me because I’m a little too needy sometimes. I question a lot of my relationships like are they in my life not because they want to be or rather feel a sense of obligation.

These are the things depression tells me at 1AM.

I analyze my last relationship gone wrong thinking I’m too blame. Replaying all the things I wish I could have changed.

I know I’ll wake up tomorrow and 1AM will seem like just another dream that I don’t even fully remember. I say to myself, why do you let yourself get like that? Then I continue on with my day.

Laughing. Smiles. Cracking jokes. Because depression doesn’t mean I’m sad and emotional all the time. It just has it’s moments that consume me for a bit.

When people ask how are you, I say okay.

When you have depression 80% of your life is okay. 10% are the nights at 1am where I don’t want to die but I’m emotionally exhausted living in a state like this. At 1AM on bad nights I don’t even recognize myself. And I talk to my friends and they say you sound differently. And they can tell this isn’t the real me. I feel bad for bothering them.

The other 10% are really happy moments that carry me through everything else. Moments where happiness doesn’t seem hard to achieve and I wish I could hang onto that a bit longer. Moments where I’m laughing to a point of happy tears and I look at the people around me and I realize this is what it’s all about.

These moments make me undeniably grateful.

It’s those people I think of during bad nights. It’s their pictures I look back at. People ask why I take so many pictures and I know it’s kind of annoying sometimes. But when it’s 1AM and I’m alone and depression tries to trick me into saying I have no friends, those are the moments I look back at.

At 1AM I know everything going through my head that seems real isn’t.

Depression tells me I’m weird.

Depression tells me no one likes me.

Depression tells me I’m going to lose everyone and everything I care about.

Depression tells me it’s always my fault when something ends or goes wrong. And I want to apologize for things I don’t even know I did.

At 1AM I am my own worst enemy.

At 1AM I’m thinking of the past and everything I’ve done wrong in my life I can’t seem to forgive myself for.

I know eventually I’ll grow too tired of this. My eyes will shut and then it’ll be morning. I’ll want to fall back to sleep a bit longer because sleep is the greatest escape when reality isn’t what you want it to be.

But I start my day and I can’t shake the fact this isn’t normal to feel this way. That life shouldn’t feel this heavy.

I reach for my phone as if notifications and likes are validation for acceptance when there parts of myself I don’t like. I hate how much I cling to my phone sometimes. A device that makes me feel so lonely sometimes. A device that might mean I’m connected but so emotionally disconnected.

I just want it to be normal.

But I know no matter where I go or what I do depression lurks in every corner following my every move. The shadow I don’t see in the day but appears at night.

Depression comes like the house guest that wasn’t invited and overstays their welcome but you don’t know how to ask them to leave.

I think back to a time when depression didn’t consume me. And the only thing I can come up with was when I was in love. Love had a way of driving away the darkness within me and brought out a light I didn’t even know existed.

And as much as I hate this part of myself he taught me I was capable of being loved. But it wasn’t just that. He taught me to love and accept myself in ways I never knew how to before.

I learned over time to appreciate these dark sides to myself.

Depression taught me about compassion and understanding and vulnerability. That these really horrible things connected me to so many others because I was brave enough to talk about it and write about it.

I learned in the moments I feel so alone and different I’m not.

I learned we all feel these things sometimes. Maybe not as heavily but we all know what’s it’s like to be depressed and lonely sometimes.

When I open up about these really hard emotions I’m struggling to make sense of myself, it’s there I gain people’s trust. And they turn to me knowing I’ll welcome them without judgement.

It’s the strength knowing I can have nights like that and still fight back and I do.

It’s being kinder than necessary because I know what it’s like to be unkind to myself so I strive to make other people’s lives a little better if I can.

It’s the sensitivity of knowing maybe I take things too hard sometimes and maybe I feel things too deeply sometimes but I’d rather feel all of it good and bad then allow pain to change me.

It’s the appreciation for life because I really do love my life and the people in it.

When I say I love you probably too much sometimes what I’m really saying is thank you.

It’s realizing there isn’t anything harder than overcoming myself and my demons. With that realization comes resilience that pours into every other part of my life.

I can either let this destroy me or use as fire to fuel me.

It’s believing in love so deeply that sometimes I give my best to the wrong people. Maybe sometimes I love too quickly only to let them takes parts of me as they go.

But I never stop believing in love and it’s potential.

Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that when you get relationships right, love is one thing that drives away every bit of darkness within you. Maybe that’s why we all want it so badly. TC mark

Kirsten Corley

Kirsten is the author of But Before You Leave, a book of poetry about the experiences we struggle to put into words.

Stop searching for happiness in the same place you lost it. Change is not dismantling the old, it’s building the new.

“The main thing socially intelligent people understand is that your relationship to everyone else is an extension of your relationship to yourself.” — Brianna Wiest

“The things you love about others are the things you love about yourself. The things you hate about others are the things you cannot see in yourself.” — Brianna Wiest

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