My Depression in My Life.
Depression is something that shows itself differently for everyone. There is no one person, or one story, or one experience that can make someone universally understand truly how depression alters the lives of those of us who suffer from it. I can’t make anyone understand how it is for everyone, but I can tell you how it alters my life, and maybe that will help people understand how all encompassing it really is.
For me there are two main ways that my depression manifests itself when it breaks through the barriers I have set with the help of years of therapy and medication. There is the gut wrenching loneliness and near constant anxiety and then there is the checking out, the feeling nothing at all, the numbness. Sometimes I don’t know which is worse, but I will try to explain both.
The Loneliness and Anxiety:
In some ways I consider this step one of when my depression spikes because it always seems to come first. But I don’t consider it step one in levels of horribleness. Like I said above I really think that both ways my depression hits me are pretty awful and I couldn’t say which is worse.
You know that feeling you have in your gut when you are about to and/or really need to cry. While that is what it is like. All the time. I could be laughing and having a great time with my friends, which I often am because my friends are great, and yet in the back of my mind I feel more alone than ever and I just want to curl up into fetal position and cry. But I never can. I can’t go home and cry and then feel better, because its not like there is something to cry about, or really anything to be sad about. And it isn’t really sadness. It is complete solitude. It’s when my brain tells me that I am alone, that I can’t be loved, that no one really wants me around, and worst of all that no one will understand me.
That is worst of all because at the place I am in my life, no matter what I have been through in the past, or what my depression tries to make me believe I know that I can be loved, that I’m not alone and that I am wanted. And I know that because of the hard work I have done to get to that place in my life, and because of some of the amazing people in my life who make sure that I know that they are there for me, that they love me, and that they want to spend time with me.
But the idea that no one will ever truly understand who I am, or any of that. That is a little harder to dissuade myself from believing. Because as much as I can tell people what I went, and still go through and what goes through my mind, who can really understand me other than me. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the way my depression tells me it, it is a bad thing.
So there I am surrounded by people, very possibly having some of the best experiences of my life, feeling like I need to bawl, completely unable to, and nearly having an anxiety attack because I just want it to end.
And it is here where two things happen. It is here where I wish for and welcome the numbness because I don’t want to feel the all encompassing loneliness and anxiety. It is also where I think about cutting.
I have not cut myself in 3 1/2 years. And I know that it doesn’t solve my problems. I know that I shouldn’t and I don’t want to. Even when I want to I don’t want to.
But here, when I am feeling the all encompassing loneliness which is the very last thing that I want to feel, I think about cutting because it lets me feel something else.
The physical act of cutting gives me something to think about and focus on, something other than that loneliness. And when I am not physically cutting, instead of thinking about how lonely I am and how that feeling will never end I think about the next time I can cut, or the most recent time I did.
And then the Numbness:
I don’t really know how to explain this numbness. It is simply a period of time where I feel literally nothing. I fake happiness/normal emotion around friends, not always very well, and when I am alone I just don’t care about anything.
This is when my grades often fall because I don’t care about anything, including school, and therefore school work.
And then, sometimes I just want to feel something, anything, and so that is when I think about cutting. I think about cutting because it gives me something to feel, something I can control, but still feel.
The numbness comes because I can’t handle what I’m thinking and feeling, because it is too much for me to deal with, so I shut everything off so I don’t have to feel it.
In some ways, cutting transitions me back into feeling. But again, cutting, NOT A SOLUTION, NOT HEALTHY.
And something that I no longer do.
Now, for the past three and a half years, whenever I think of cutting, which I still do. It is still my first thought in either of these situations, I instead do one of the many things that I have come to know to help me cope.
For example, I force myself to spend more time with my friends, because I know that the loneliness will pass and I can talk myself out of feeling lonely when I am not physically alone.
I read/watch anything romantic. I pretend that I am one of the characters, and then I feel what they feel instead of what I am feeling (or preventing myself from feeling).
I belt along to old school Taylor Swift. Because what is more beautiful than a summer romance in a small country town with Chevy trucks and Tim McGraw?
And though my schoolwork does still sometimes fall through the cracks, I always make myself do some work.
Basically I force myself to live my life, because well, it is my life, and I refuse to live it feeling alone when I’m not, and numb when I could be great.
So even though I do feel those things far more often than I would like it is something that I live with, because I have depression.
Because depression is a disease, and I will always have it.
Because my depression is a part of who I am.
And most of all, because I only have one life, and I want to live it. Because even though when my depression spikes it makes me want to not live sometimes, I refuse.
Because I am the author of my own life and I choose to put a semicolon instead of a period at every point that my depression tells me otherwise.
So that is how my depression affects my life. That is how I deal with it. Like it or not I always will.