How do you explain depression to someone who doesn’t understand? How do you make someone see, understand what it is, what its like, how it feels? Its something to be honest, I’ve never tried to do. My parents saw the best and worst of me and therefore they got it first hand, for all its peculiarities and oddness.
Its described as that black dog that follows you around, a metaphor for being chased down by darkness, this feeling of being followed, imprisoned, caged by your own feelings. Its always there, like a cloud looming, suffocating you, reminding you that it can rain again any time.
But what is it. Its hardly descriptive is it, this black dog. Its all abstract words and feelings its hardly surprising people can’t grasp it. To me, its this sense of deadness that creeps in. Where I go through a stage of feeling numb, over tired, exhausted, my brain works at a 100 miles an hour worrying about anything, everything, keeping me up. I stop sleeping, I feel nothing about anything. Apathetic, just very unlike me.
Then you feel lost, down, sad, you feel like crying constantly because you don’t understand why you don’t feel happy, why you can’t feel properly. Like your heads wrapped in cotton wool, you can’t think, can’t process, feelings tear around inside of you rather than drifting, you’re angry for feeling so helpless when there is nothing wrong, sad for not knowing how to put it right, lost as to the answer to this imaginary problem.
Yet it is so very real. It can come around or go as fast as anything. I take tablets, the highest dose of my prescribed meds allowed, to keep me from feeling that way, but then, sometimes, it all gets to much. I’ll have a few down days, where suddenly, I’ll wake up and something isn’t right, I can feel it, this sense of… an absence. My eyes prick with tears and I don’t understand why, I end up overwhelmed, hysterical, hating myself for feeling so god damn useless. Then, I feel OK.
I sit with someone, I talk, I don’t talk, I take some different tablets, I get a handle on things, drag myself out of my own pit, and give myself a good talking too. I put things in perspective, I contact those I love, I force myself to get on, and you know what, I’m OK again, functioning normally. Enjoying friends company, occupying myself with writing, reading, plans, whatever. The helplessness subsides, the empty void is filled, if only partly on occasion, and I carry on.
Its dangerous. Its worrying how quickly things can turn so wrong, how things can get out of hand. How your rational brain, leaves somewhere and this force takes over. Doctors worry, long term depression is a worry, it leads to scary things, they want to put you with people to talk to, they want to make you feel better all the time, but we all have ups and downs, just because your depressed doesn’t mean you should never have them.
I want the highs and the lows. Sometimes you just need to talk and say, I feel like everything’s slipping away again, sometimes you need people to leave it be, sometimes you need someone to understand they cant get it. People that say its a first world problem, damn right it is. How upsetting is that, can you imagine, knowing there are people in Africa, starving, with AIDS and diseases, their children dying and if you asked them, they’d want to live.
I say its ignorant. Well yes and no. Its hard to understand something you cant explain or feel yourself, Its hard to see how there can be a problem when there is nothing seemingly wrong. It is totally irrational, that is not lost on depressives, its stupid, its selfish, its ridiculous, thats not lost on me either. But its a disease, of the brain, its there and it eats you and it makes no sense and its there for no reason.
I was told last week I was considered a harm to myself, maybe I was, last week I didnt care, I couldn’t be bothered, I was fed up of feeling down, of getting these ridiculous feelings, of the hopelessness, of letting myself get like that, if that was my life, I didnt want it. But this week, well, I’ve got my perspective back, my rational brain and I know, its stupid to let something take such a hold, something you can’t even understand or quantify.
I get upset when people question it, I understand how ridiculous it is, I hate myself for being such a drip, for letting myself become so overemotional, when I’m not one for being overly emotional normally. Its because I cant explain it, I dont understand it and I find it as frustrating as everyone does who’s trying to get a straight answer about it.
I want to hide people from my lows. When I could just lose it all completely and cry and shake and dissolve into a dribbling, snivelling wreck for no apparant reason. You look mental, you make no sense, you seem hysterical and nothings happened. Why would people want to see that? But then your being fake, your being fake all the time. No your not. Sometimes we all want to cry, sometimes we all want to scream out, its just your at the extremes as a depressive. There isn’t a lot in the middle, its from Depression to Numbness to Happiness. the place inbetween the polar opposites is not feeling at all.
I wish I could stop being like that, I wish I could just be happy with my life because I’ve nothing to be unhappy about, I wish I could be like everybody else, without making a problem out of not having a distinguishable problem. But its something I accept, I try not to think about, I get on with, its a part of me. I was diagnosed 10 years ago, and it certainly won’t disappear overnight. I don’t dwell, I don’t think about it, I don’t will it, but it creeps in, I fight it off, I get tired, I give in, I resolve, I get up, I dust myself down, I slap myself for my stupidity, I smile, I carry on, and I’m back.
That’s as well as I can ever describe it. I just hope, for those I want it to, its good enough.
After all, Life isnt about waiting for the storm to pass, its about learning how to dance in the rain.