I’m not sure when I realised when I had depression. Maybe it was in the past couple of months or maybe I’ve been depressed my entire life. I have no idea anymore. All I know is that when I look back on my life, I have just always felt it.
For so long I kept that little bit of sad that I felt a secret. Because I’ve known a lot of people who say they are depressed or have suffered with depression and I didn’t feel like I was like any of them. They would talk about the prescriptions they were on and write detailed blog posts about things they were sad about (ironically I seem to relate to that part now) and have some sort of sad looking Tumblr. That probably sounds awful. That I didn’t actually acknowledge that these people had a serious mental illness. It just didn’t seem real to me. And that’s probably because as much as I wanted to be fine, I couldn’t deny that I related to those people a little too much for me to be comfortable admitting.
I’ve always been a little bit sad. For as long as I remember. But it was just always something I kept hidden. It was something I never wanted people to know or talk about, which all seems a bit silly considering I’m writing about it now. But I guess I always thought that other people were sad or depressed, but not me. Never me. I wasn’t allowed to be sad. I had to be there for the people around me; my friends, my family, the people who I loved most.
I remember a while ago when someone said to me “I can’t even imagine you being sad. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you upset about anything. You’re always so upbeat and happy.” I didn’t say anything back. Isn’t it interesting the way other people see you vs. how you see yourself vs. how you actually are?
I know how to act around people. I know how to give them what they want. How to be the positively excited charming girl who has all the witty comebacks, who can make people laugh, who can make people feel good and loved when they need it most. I feel like I’ve always been trying to take care of other people my entire life. I can sense without words the things people need and I try to give it to them. Need a pep talk? Need some support? Need some tough love? That’s just the way I am.
It’s so easy for me to write about how much I love my friends and how much I love him because when it comes down it to, it’s stuff that people can relate to. But when it comes to talking about depression I can never quite find the words to fully describe it and the effects of it. So I’ll give it a try.
Depression feels like you are paralysed in your own body. It’s waking up and knowing exactly all the things you need to do and what you should be doing and then realising 12 hours have gone by and you haven’t done a single thing.
And then once you’ve realised you have accomplished nothing, it feels like showering under scalding hot water for just a little bit too long. And you’re thinking about how much you messed up today, but hey at least that guilt and stress you feels means you felt something today, right? It feels like knowing all the steps to take you where you need to be but feeling as though everything within your being feels like it weighs a thousand tons.
It’s sinking deeper and deeper and deeper in to a pit of sadness that you know eventually, the only thing that can pull you out of that is yourself. But not quite knowing where you will feel the motivation to pull yourself out. Again.
And it’s wanting to do better and to be better for yourself and also for the people around you but still feeling like a constant disappointment.
It’s having a conversation with your Mum or your friend or any single person and feeling a sense of relief when they finally go away. Because you don’t have the energy to hold a conversation for a second longer. So you wish you were just sat alone not speaking. Motionless. Silent. Because it’s knowing people legitimately care about you but not wanting to burden them with your thoughts and emotions. Because what would you say anyway? I’m depressed. I’m sad. I feel nothing. Because no one really knows how to respond to that sort of language. They just want you to stop talking about it, to stop being sad, to get over it and move on with life so they can get back to their regularly scheduled programme of life without feeling bad for you.
It’s choosing to sit by yourself alone because you’d rather be alone than have to fake it one more time. Because there is so much I want to do with my life and yet I’ve realised I am so petrified. Petrified that I will always be a disappointment to myself and others. Petrified I will always be alone. But I am fine.
Yes. I’m fine. I’m fine. That’s all I ever say. I’m fine. It’s something that slips so easily off the tongue I don’t even have to think about it anymore.
But time is going too fast and I feel out of control again. Exam season will soon be over and soon it will be summer. Soon it will be September again. Soon it will be Christmas. Soon it will be next year. Life goes on, the seasons change, we begin again and these are things that I know.
But I wish I could explain the reason why this year has already been harder than others. I wish I knew how to get rid of that little bit of sadness that never quite disappears. I wish I knew how to stop it from creeping back so many times. Again and again. I wish I could disappear in to drugs or drinking or pills to stop it to help it or smother it like so many others so easily can. But that’s just never been me.
So I’ll take it one day at a time and try to do better. Next year. I think. Next year I’ll be better. I tell myself next year. When it’s only May.