Age - 29
Depression weighs on me
Why is Depression so heavy?
Hanging around in the pit of my stomach, a pulsating orb, a cancer re-emerging after remission. The sorrow is physically manifested in my gut. I feel a deep discontent. A piece missing or shifted into the wrong position. A heavy weight, crushing. Like soaking wet wool fabric, clinging to my skin and dragging me down. Why won't she leave me alone?
As a person who has struggled (yes, struggled) with Depression for nearly two decades, I have heard a myriad of suggestions about what I should do to feel better. Most often I have been reminded to be grateful.
I can look around and see all the things I am blessed to have. I could write a list of a million things for which I am grateful. The sorrow, the fog, the oft indescribable hopelessness is not alleviated through gratitude lists. Depression discolors my vision and distorts my perception. When I am with her, I cannot feel the world’s beautiful vibrancy.
This is an illness, there is no doubt about it. Or perhaps the more accurate way to put it is that it exists as a recurring doubt. Depression feels like doubt. Doubt of all my decisions and my interactions with others. Every relationship in my life becomes entrenched in this doubt. Even in a state of semi-balance, when I am cognizant of the irrationality brought on by the fog, I doubt the things I feel. Sometimes that is the only sane choice, to doubt the weight that came out of nowhere. If I remain skeptical of the undue burden, I still have hope for the next moment. Something better, a better feeling, a clearer lens, could be on its way, if I remain doubtful.
The shifts in my state of mind can be sudden and unpredictable, but not eternal, perhaps thanks to the skepticism I've disallowed such darkness to steal all of my joy. The more dangerous side effect of swimming with Depression is not the loss of joy, but the absence of hope. Without hope, there is nothing, there is no next. I take hope for granted when I'm not in a downswing.
I try to describe how she feels or challenge her with creativity, but that isn’t always possible. When Depression sneaks up on me, I immediately forget how to do everything. It is common that when Depression shows up, it was just a moment before that I felt happy. Then Depression crashes through and takes centerstage. I suddenly am teleported from a place of joyous freedom to solitary confinement in a dark recess of my brain.
Every negative thought is attached to a dozen more memories. I can’t figure out how to untangle the mess. She brings up old emotional wounds that I thought I had taken care of a long time ago. I have scars I begin to pick and pick until they bleed again. I crave reassurance when there is no one to reassure me since these issues are long past that stage.
I say I will banish her. Depression calls my bluff. “You are no longer welcome here,” I am supposed to say. She’s been here for so long that I can no longer remember what life without her feels like. I cannot throw her out, we were made for each other.
Continuing reading on Argot, where this essay is published in full.