I can tell I’m in a funk again. It’s impossible to wake up in the morning, and there’s food rotting around my bed. I claim not to eat my feelings but the 80% empty bag of Baked Barbeque Lays tossed on the ﬂoor says otherwise. When you get diagnosed by your psychiatrist with depression you’re just told that it’s chronic and here are some pills to manage it. What they don’t tell you is that the pills can’t prevent a deep, depressive slump.
I’ve been chronically depressed since I was about 11-years-old and went 7 years not really having any idea about it. It’s not always constant, but rather moves in phases.
It is possible to be a depressed person and be happy for awhile. But being happy for consistent periods is terrifying because you know one day it will end. You can’t predict when it will come on, but you will know. Everyone has their own unique signals of when they’re in a depressive slump. For me it’s not being able to write anything, never leaving my apartment, and wanting to laze in bed all day eating chips and watching Family Guy.
This is all probably normal behavior for a lot of people. But I’m naturally very antsy and I have ADHD so sitting around for long periods and getting engrossed in a show is almost impossible. That’s how I know it’s a funk, not just a little moment of sadness. I don’t see friends for weeks, I anxiously avoid plans, and just remain by myself ruminating on what is making myself sad. It’s a really vicious cycle that is hard to break. You just have to wait it out, and I am terrible at waiting so it is frustrating. But you have to repeat to yourself that it’s just a phase and eventually you will feel semi-normal
again. At least as normal as someone with depression can feel.
I ﬁnally have a professor who sees that depression can occasionally be a reason for terrible attendance or failing to complete things on time. When I am depressed, I can’t even open the websites that show what my homework is. I can’t even ﬁnd it in me to draft an email attempting to explain that I just cannot work well right now. This is why I’ve never really been an A student. I can’t go an entire semester without getting into some type of funk, it’s just about learning how to power through it and get the timing right where you don’t get penalized for late work. I know I will be depressed probably around half way through the semester so I do all of my presentations that are required within the ﬁrst few weeks. It’s all about learning how to manipulate yourself and your life, to prevent failure.
For instance I own a lot of fancy pajamas because I know there will inevitably be long periods of moping around my apartment alone at night. If I’m going to be sad it might as well be a glamorous, white wine, silky pajamas, singing along to Lana Del Rey type of sadness. It’s a little less depressing than holey sweatpants you don’t change out of, paired with an ex-boyfriend’s t-shirt. It’s all about ﬁnding the little things that will help you cope better. Even though depression is probably a constant in your life, a funk is just ﬂeeting.
It’s really shitty to constantly wonder when your happiness and normalcy is going to end. But that’s just what happens. I have this theory that people evolved to have depression in order to weed out the less ﬁt. By having experience with depression early on in life where you are more likely to have a support system in place you become a stronger person. Whereas someone whose life has been awesome until something sad happens in their 30s or 40s, will not have these skills as easily available to them and not be able to cope and kill themselves. It’s bleak and morbid and people will probably be mad about it. But it seems semi-plausible. Being depressed earlier on in life allows you to have more of a perspective about how awful things are. If you haven’t been depressed to the point of being suicidal at some point in your life it is harder for me to take your opinions on beauty, or purpose, or other deep topics seriously. If you haven’t wanted to seriously kill yourself beyond the whole “omg I got a B I’m going to kill myself” type bullshit, you haven’t ﬁgured out why it is worth remaining alive. If you have been standing with a razor ready to slit your wrists and then stopped yourself, you have possibly ﬁgured out life.
It’s always sad when young people kill themselves, because of age and because they haven’t realized that all of the sadness they’ve experienced was for nothing if they ended it now. Sadness makes seeing your purpose murkier, but everyone has one.
There is no way that you haven’t touched someone else’s life in some way, even if they didn’t tell you. People will always “come out of the woodwork” as my dad often says when someone ends their life and will feel affected. That is a thing to keep in mind when you are depressed. Deep depression is ephemeral, and if you end it now you’re not giving yourself a chance to experience the inevitable upswing that must happen in your life. One day the creative inspiration will once more beam into your head, and you will want to skip around outside. You should give yourself the chance for that to happen.