I Don’t Know How To Define Depression, But This Is How It Affected Me

Robby McKee / flickr.com
Robby McKee / flickr.com

I’ve found out something about myself: change scares me, and it nearly drove me mad.

You get used to a yearly routine, and even if you don’t exactly love it, you become used to it, you fall into a relationship with it, and soon you can’t imagine your life beyond it. And I think this is both a good and bad thing.

After I graduated, I chose to forgo making a change for a year. I told myself that I’d be getting into school the next year, so there wasn’t a real reason to change anything. But I didn’t get into school, and I also lost my job, so in the winter months, I was left alone with my thoughts, and that ultimately led to depression.

I’ve never been depressed before, so I wasn’t sure how I was supposed to feel. You see those extreme cases in movies and television — where the person can’t get out of bed, where he or she loses interest in everything. But that wasn’t what I felt like. I was still interested in things, but I’d lost the important vitality of spirit. I got out of bed each and every morning, and I went about my daily business, but I began to feel numb around the corners. Life was a little gray scale. I got angry easily, and I probably hurt people in the process. I retreated more into myself, and fed off my perceived wounds. I was a very unhappy person.

I still don’t know how to describe depression, because I think it affects everyone differently. I’m too driven to “give up,” but I’m also a deeply sensitive individual — too sensitive, I think — and I began to feel sad, blue for no reason, and the only things I wanted to talk about were negative things. I saw the world clearly, but it was older, more remote, and there was an unshakeable sadness that pervaded my thoughts. I thought about worst-case scenarios. I’m a pessimist by nature, but it was more than that. It was something dark in me that colored my actions, and the ways I went about my life.

I remember one time: it was cold and rainy and I’d just driven back up from my home, three hours away. I got out of the car and went into my boyfriend’s house, and started crying. And I had no idea why I was crying, but I couldn’t stop it. Afterwards, I felt paralyzed. I couldn’t make my emotions work. It was as if they were stuck with glue — machinery that had forgotten its purpose. And in that brief moment, I forgot mine, and I despaired, stilted, staring at the blank wall. It was the worst thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I never want to feel that way again.

I’m not cured, but I finally decided to seek help. There’s so much stigma, still, in regards to mental illness. We throw around “crazy” like we do “fun,” “pretty,” “smart” — it’s a casual thing in our vernacular, and I don’t think that’s wise.

I come from a family that has had its bouts of mental illness, and I can tell you one thing: just because you’re “crazy” doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It might make you do bad things, it might make you say terrible things to your loved ones, but it doesn’t infect your soul — only your mind. And thank God, that can be helped. But it’s still a scary thing, and one that we should show more sympathy to. It’s like any other disease out there. And you can’t spur it on — you can’t “go crazy” — because it isn’t a choice, it’s just a fruition of chemicals in your brain, genetics…it’s situational, and a little bit like a time bomb.

I don’t know what to think, but I’ll tell you one thing: I want to be fixed, and I want to see the world again for all of its beauty. It’s a tough, old bird, but it deserves our appreciation. I want to feel like myself again, and I want to experience that pure and unadulterated ease that comes with true happiness and true sorrow, and not an imitation of it filtered through a sad, tired, sick mind. TC mark

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