Depression, the engulfing darkness that many define, label, use and confuse without really knowing what it is, or how to relate to it…
Only a depressive person can ever give a real-life description of what depression truly feels like. And even then, this description is so personal no two people can give the same one.
What is a “real-life” description of depression? It is the direct description given by a depressive person. An elucidation of what really goes on in the soul of the depressed person when the affliction hits.
I would like to describe today what depression used to feel like to me before I learned to manage it. As a matter of fact, I still feel like this sometimes, though not as often as before. Keep in mind, as I do all the time, that if you have never had depression—real depression, not just the blues or a moment of sadness in your life—it will still be extremely difficult for you to completely grasp what I am about to describe. Nonetheless, I invite you to stay with me and try your best to understand what follows. It will not only be helpful to you, but also to any depressive person you might have in your life.
What Does Depression Really Feel Like?
If we were face to face, I would ask you to close your eyes and visualize what I am about to tell you. Since you are reading this, please try to do your best to imagine my words and descriptions in the back of your head.
In my personal case, depression feels like an endless, black tunnel that starts to swallow me when I least expect it. I might be having the very best day of my life, and in the next minute or second, I am not. Everything inside turns dark as if all the lights had gone out all of a sudden.
When I am lucky enough, I can pinpoint the exact moment the swallowing by the tunnel begins. I might even be able to take emergency measures to keep myself on the surface, to keep breathing, to not fall into darkness. Alas, more often than not I am not that lucky. By the time I realize what is happening to me, I am already miles and miles down the tunnel… and I keep falling, and falling, and falling…
What Accompanies Depression?
When I am falling down that black, endless tunnel, my first instinct is to try to get out of it. I fall but also flail my arms helplessly trying to grip the walls, to stop the descent, to get out of there.
While this is happening, I may feel myriad different emotions and feelings. They are never the same one. They all depend on the situation that triggered the depression.
There are times when I feel terrified, and I do not know why. I may feel extremely sad, but I don’t really know the cause of the sadness. There is hopelessness, powerlessness, feelings of worthlessness, lovelessness. There is anger, guilt, emptiness, self-loathing, sorrow, melancholy, the wish to die. Loneliness is a major part of my depressive episodes; I feel extremely lonely, even if I a crowd surrounds me—even if the “party” is in full swing!
All these harrowing feelings compound the dreadful knowledge that I am still falling down the tunnel, and that there is nothing I can do or try to do to get myself out of there. I give up! I let myself fall. I close my eyes, curl into a ball, and give myself to the engulfing darkness that is swallowing me… There is no strength left… I give myself to the depression; I let it swallow me until it decides to spit me back out.
People Say, “Do Something…!”
A lot of people think that we just “allow ourselves” to fall into a depressive state; that we do nothing to “snap out of it” because we are lazy, or like pity, or are cowards… whatever!
They could not be more wrong.
Here is why: While in a depressive state, an infinitesimal part of my brain is still somewhat functional, somewhat rational, but not enough. The rest of my brain is just swallowed by the darkness. Even if I want to move, to think, to breathe! … I am overpowered. I can’t do it. I have to wait. I have to give it time. I have to be patient.
I have heard people tell me to “get over it” by going out and enjoying the sun, the day, life. Friends have asked me to go dancing, tell/listen to jokes, listen to upbeat music, dress up nicely, put makeup on… be social… have fun… DO something! I have been told me that if I don’t fight depression it is because I enjoy playing the victim. Also, that I am wrong… I don’t suffer from depression; it has to be something else! Probably I just have the blues, right?
Wrong! The plain and simple truth is that a depressive person does not want to be depressed; does not enjoy being depressed. Nobody wants to get out of an emotional state that crushes their spirit more than a depressed person.
What’s Happens Next Then?
Fortunately, even the darkest of tunnels offer a ray of light in the end. Depression is not fun for the person who lives with it; we’ve established that. And as I have said several times too, what a depressed person wishes most is to stop feeling that way. Even if at this stage the depressed person doesn’t fully know it yet, there are ways to overcome depression.
I invite you to follow me—or walk alongside me if you prefer—on my journey of hope, the light at the end of the tunnel.
Your Turn! 🙂
Have you ever felt this way? If so, please know that I understand you perfectly. I would like you to know that I am here for you if you want, and have the strength, to talk to someone who has been there and knows how to lend a shoulder to lean on.
Feel free to reach out and let me know if I can help you in any way. Any and all communication between us will be kept confidential. That is my solemn promise to you.
It is a fabulous thing if you have never experienced depression in your life. Fabulous! I am very happy for you.
Did you like this article? Did you find it informative and helpful? Please, don’t hesitate to let me know in the Comments below.