How exactly does it feel to live with depression?
Trying to describe what it’s like living with depression is like trying to describe a sunset. You know all the correct adjectives and nouns, but the description always falls short of seeing it for yourself.
I have blogged previously about my experience recognizing my depression. I am currently on medication which helps, but I am not “cured” of my depression. It’s much more manageable than it once was and my good days far outnumber my bad. But I still feel some of the depression symptoms.
What it’s like to live with depression?
One way of describing it is like the chaoticness of a rushed morning. You overslept, you spill your coffee, your kids take forever to eat when they normally inhale their breakfast.
It’s a day when nothing goes right. Your shoes always seem to be untied, you are dropping things, running into things, tripping on the sidewalk. Things are chaotic, rushed, and irritating.
My depression manifests itself in extreme irritability. I rarely feel sad, but I do feel anger, frustration, and edginess. Small annoyances can ruin an entire day. Lashing out causes feelings of guilt and tormenting thoughts: “Why do I feel this way?”
Shortly before I went on medication, I went on a girl’s weekend with three of my best girlfriends. It was supposed to be a fun weekend reuniting with friends, but I was still annoyed and irritable. It’s when I knew something was wrong. I had ZERO responsibilities other than to have a good time, and I just couldn’t do it. My mind was much too chaotic and stuck to have any fun. I was trying to fall asleep one night, thinking “Why am I not having a good time? This is supposed to be fun!” I’m sure it appeared like I was enjoying myself, but in my mind I was all over the place.
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However, the best way I have heard living with depression described is living in a state of hyper-self awareness. Bonnie McFarlane said this in her book “You’re Better Than Me.”
“It (depression) feels sleepy and slow and unbalanced. You can never get your shirt to stay tucked in and everyone is always doing their best to irritate you. It’s being in a constant state of hyper-self-awareness.”
It’s a type of self-awareness where you question every decision you make. If your kids have a bad attitude, you think to yourself “OMG what did I do that make them this way. It must be something I DID!”
Or your kids are particularly needy one day, so you think to yourself, “I must have done something wrong. I must not spend enough time with them. They must be having too much screen time. It must be something I DID!”
Remember, depression shouldn’t be confused with sadness. Cara Santa Maria said this and it was my aha moment. More about that in this post here.
Depression and grief after a loss or life experience have some similarities. Such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and lost of interest in daily activities. But depression and grief have their differences.
With depression you focus on yourself while grief has you focusing on your loss. In grief you feel a wide range of emotions, while with depression it’s feelings of guilt or “stuckness.” Of course you may experience depression and grief at the same time. But the point of today’s post is to share what it’s like to live with depression.
People experience depression in many different ways. It can feel unbalanced, irritable, or hyper-self-awareness. But you don’t need to suffer in silence. Reach out for help. Believe me, the hardest part is asking for help. You are not alone. Always remember that. Help is out there and you can successfully come out of the dark fog and into happiness.