We all have that one person in our lives; someone who truly doesn’t know what it’s like to be depressed. They’ll empathize with you when it’s physical pain, but when it comes to mental distress, they really don’t know how to react. Not because they don’t care, but because it’s hard for them to comprehend. That naturally translates into saying all the wrong things -“Why don’t you just snap out of it?” “Just push through it!” “Remain positive.” “It’s all in your head.” “Look at how lucky you are already! Be thankful!” “See how others have no food to eat, be grateful for what you have.” These might seem like the right things to say in the moment , but that’s actually very far from reality. Perhaps you are lucky enough to have never experienced depression and all its ugliness. I spoke to 11 different people who have suffered from depression and asked them to define it. Here’s what they had to say:
- A state of mind where an individual is caught in a black hole of hopeless thoughts.
- Almost the lack of emotion. You can’t get excited or happy about anything. There are days where you’re miserable, but most days you feel nothing.
- It feels like a weight on the chest, like you’re literally carrying a weight. You’re tired and sluggish. You just want to lay down, cry and not talk to anyone. It doesn’t feel like anyone would understand if you spoke to them anyway, so what’s the point? They can’t relate and don’t have anything to offer that you yourself haven’t thought of already. In addition, your mind is in overdrive. You feel like a ghost. If you’re surrounded by people, it can come up as anxiety in whatever you’re doing. You’ll laugh when someone cracks a joke, smile and say hello but your mind isn’t really there, and doesn’t want to take in any new information.
- A feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It’s difficult to do daily activities. You even have to force yourself to do things you once used to enjoy. You start hating everything and question life itself. Most importantly, you stop loving and respecting yourself.
- It isn’t linear – it has highs and lows. There are days where you’re struggling to get out of bed and then there are days when it isn’t so bad. It’s a distant voice in your head.
- It feels like you’re in pain. Your outward appearances don’t necessarily convey inner thoughts. You can be putting on a smile on your face but may be hiding darker feelings and be really depressed deep down. For me it comes with anxiety as well, so I’ve trouble breathing, and my head hurts. You just don’t know what to do with yourself and how to get out of what you’re in. It’s just the worst feeling ever!
- Feeling helpless and miserable. Being lonely even though you’re not alone. Feeling like you just don’t belong or fit in.
- The feeling that the entire world’s weight is on top of your head and you just can’t carry it.
- Every morning you wake up, you wish you hadn’t! You have no motivation left to do anything and constantly want to sleep to get a break from life.
- Waking up every morning and thinking “fuck, another day!” You have no motivation. If you think about it, you realize life actually isn’t that bad and you should be satisfied with what you have, but even the biggest things don’t seem enough! No matter what you have, it’s just not enough! And you have no control over yourself.
- Sometimes it feels like a dark cloud that follows you around everywhere you go and randomly showers you with self loathing, sadness, anger or loneliness. Sometimes it feels like nothing at all!
I hope these descriptions gave you some what of an insight on what could potentially be going on in the mind of someone who’s depressed. While reading them, I realized that each person I spoke to actually had something different to say. That goes to show that if everyone’s perception of depression is so different, it’s actually really hard to know what the “right” thing to do is. My two cents – have a “real” conversation; ask them how you can help, let them know that you’re there for them, and show them your love and support in every way possible.
Now I turn this over to you! Have you ever been depressed? Comment below and let me know what depression feels like for you.
With love and spoons,