Wake up, forage for motivation to brush your teeth, and wash your face, skip breakfast because you’re “not feeling hungry” again, criticize yourself for thinking you’re incompetent or worthless, look in the mirror and feel disgusted, drive to work, muscle through and show that half smile when people are waving, “don’t forget to wave back” you say to yourself, condemn yourself again, “you’re so useless, you can’t even say hello correctly”, make small conversation with others while thinking about how you’ll probably mess this up, fake laugh at jokes you don’t think are funny in order to seem more relatable, drive home, think “maybe I’m not made for this world”, get home, look at your phone and do not reply for the 4th day in a row to your friends and family, forcefully take a shower, feel completely drained and assume “there’s no hope for me”, finally eat food for the first time in the day, sit and binge watch the same show you’ve watched hundreds of times in order to hold on to that familiar warm feeling, brush your teeth, and think “I’m a failure, I’ve wasted another day”, say to yourself “I wish I could be as fun and adventurous as other people”, fall asleep with tears in your eyes, repeat.
This is a very specific example of how depression can cause havoc in the lives of people. Please keep in mind that depression is complex and not linear in its progression throughout the lifespan. There are mild, moderate, and severe forms, and sometimes these different levels espouse themselves all together at various time points throughout the individual’s life.
Depression is an enervative disorder that leaves no room for beauty or aesthetic. It is not cute, or a trend, it is exhausting, confusing, repetitive, and utterly frustrating. It leaves you feeling completely drained, even though you have laid in bed all day, it fills you with loneliness, despite being surrounded by people, it deprives you of joy and energy even though you have done everything you’ve wanted to do.
Depression makes you feel as if you are a stranger in your own body. It keeps you locked away in the farthest and deepest corner of your mind. You scream “I don’t want to feel like this anymore”, but nothing hears you, you are alone in your own world and trapped within your thoughts. People surround you and try to reach out, but it feels pointless. Your close ones say, “It gets better”, and honestly sometimes it does. Sometimes you feel as if you are cured! As if you have woken up from this nightmare and have been reborn. You feel as if you can see the wind and ride the waves of the ocean barefoot. You feel free, you don’t feel pain anymore, but then you crash. “I knew it was too good to be true”, you say to yourself. Sometimes the crash comes immediately within the same day, other times it comes later, but regardless one thing in your mind is for certain, the sky does fall.
Depression also does not discriminate. Regardless of your upbringing, depression can creep around the corner. Granted depending on your environment one’s depressive episode may be longer or more severe, but even when considering this, depression still finds a way to slow anyone down. It’s like a leach that has no form, shape, or color, and instead of blood, it sucks out your individuality. It will deprive you of the energy to change your outfit from 2 days ago or clean the makeup off your skin from the night before, it stops you from fully loving that one
person, or cooking that one recipe you have been on looking at for 3 weeks now. You are willing to do anything to numb the pain, but in the moment, it just doesn’t seem to go away.
You hear it all the time from your loved ones, “reach out if you need anything”, “don’t be afraid to give me a call, or text”, but how are you supposed to reach out when it’s 2 in the morning and the world is crashing down on top of you. Your friends and family mean well, but you also do not want to burden them. You feel as if this is your baggage and you must figure it all out by yourself.
Depression is excruciatingly painful, but with all this said, it is okay to cry, it is okay to scream, it is okay to feel. Do not reach for the nearest tissue when you’re crying, sit in that feeling, float in those tears. Be patient with yourself as you cross this seemingly never-ending ocean. Feel the hopelessness, and emptiness, understand it and empathize with it. Hold yourself and forgive yourself. Even if you do not have a specific reason to apologize to yourself, practice being understanding and kind as you maneuver through this intricate life without guidance. Throw out the imposter within you and fully experience the heartache. Run through the dark void, remember its entanglements, take notes on the twist, and turns, and afterwards fly, swim in the light.
Depression is not a personality trait, or the next hot topic, it is a potentially life-threatening mental health disorder that can devour you whole. There is hope though, and there will always be someone who cares. If you are feeling down, carefully research your options, psychotherapy, psychiatric medication, and mental health research studies. There is always someone who cares and is willingly to listen to you.
To learn more about options at Segal Trials, visit our Enrolling Studies.