Depression isn’t just symptoms doctors check off on your chart, like a grocery list for insanity. Doctors don’t know that your world is no longer simple, easy to define.
Depression is the feeling of lead in your veins, dread in your nerves, and sorrow in your footsteps. Your shoes feel heavy, no matter which pair you put on. Your voice becomes a whisper or a howl – sometimes both – yet its frequency seems out of everyone’s earshot. A fog settles over your vision, and you shade in the small boxes on your calendar, light grey on good days, charcoal black on the bad. You wonder why the sunlight means nothing to you now but glare as it sizzles worms on the sidewalk.
Your friends become faceless, each gesture falsified. They speak a language you can’t understand and it exhausts you to pay attention for long. You realize you are alone and that it’s always been that way, you just couldn’t see it before. You drop the strings of relationships and let your past friends float up into the sky like helium balloons. You decide you are too heavy to weigh them down anymore.
You realize how pointless everything is, everything. You sit immobilized on your bed, unable to move to even go to the bathroom. The covers over your head become your only solace.
Sometimes you catch a glimpse of your old life, your old self, like glimpsing a friend through the window of a restaurant. Was that really me? you wonder. Smiling and laughing, replying to people in conversation, visible to the world?
You realize that you have become a ghost. You raise your fingers in front of your face and find they are see-through. You step back in fear and lose your balance. You try to brace yourself against the wall, but you fall right into it, right through it. Wildly you try to grasp people’s hands, anyone’s hands, but they are all out of reach. People walk through you, over you, and you keep falling without noticing a thing. You fall and fall and fall. The pit is deep, no, it’s endless. You scream but you find that you have no voice left.
Things can get better. Now I live no longer like a ghost and I have people who do see my pain. I still feel disconnected from them, at times, and I can feel insubstantial but I can now place my feet on the ground. It’s a battle to maintain my balance, but it gets easier with practice.
You can get used to anything, including living with depression, if you have to. I am on medication that works, have a great support system through my doctor and therapist, and have a family that really cares, but I am still depressed. Things are still really hard at times but I’m getting the hang of it. One day at a time, sometimes one breath at a time. There is so much that is still broken but I believe it can heal, no matter how long it takes.
And it really helps me to know that I’m not alone. I’m not the only person to have ever felt this way. Maybe if I can help other people through depression I can help me too. Together we are strong.