This is a question that comes up a lot. I have been asked what depression feels like by doctors, and psychiatrists as well as friends and family. The problem is I never really know what to tell them.
The answer would need to be updated hourly, at least for me anyways because that is how often my mood seems to change. The other day I decided to take a stab at it and try my best to explain what my depression felt like, that day, and this is what I came up with.
Today my depression feels like I can’t breathe, or think or eat but that lying in bed might be alright.
Today it feels like even though I had a very nice day, I am now in bed and thinking it feels like no amount of good days can make this worth it
Today it feels like this is never going to end and that no medication or treatment could possibly ever help.
Today feels like rain, because the severity of my depression seems to change with the weather.
Today feels like I want to throw away all my meds, or just take them all and I really can’t decide which.
Today feels like I am alone and like no one could possibly understand this feeling and so I won’t talk about it.
This, is how my depression feels today.
Had you asked me that same question 3 hours ago, I would have told you how my depression was this morning, and this would have been the answer.
This morning, my depression is manageable.
This morning, I ate breakfast.
This morning, I smiled on my way out the door and took a 40 minute nature walk on my way to work.
This morning, I felt light, like I didn’t have too much to think about
This morning, for a brief moment, I forgot that I suffer from depression.
And that is the answer to what depression feels like. A constant roller coaster of feelings that changes so fast it is almost impossible to keep track of.
What this has taught me is that there is almost zero relationship between the things that happen in a day and my mood.
I often get told that I should be happy because I had a good day.
Unfortunately, this does not mean a good night. Or a good next day. Or even a good next 5 minutes.
I can have bad things happen and deal with them as anyone else who is not depressed would, and move on with my day.
I can have an amazing day and feel like it was the hardest day of my life by the end of it.
Moments and feelings are not related, this is something that I have recently learned. My depression is too smart to only attack when something bad happens. This means that I need to accept the fact that I am stuck on this roller coaster, and to remember that every fall is followed by a rise back up.