Views: What does depression feel like? - What is Depression?

Depression isn’t just having the blues. It isn’t just being sad.

Depression isn’t an emotion. Depression has no cause. Too often is depression conflated with sadness or anxiety. Depression, when it is present, is more like the force of gravity. It is there, pulling down on you under all circumstances.

Though I’m depressed, I am often very happy. But still there is an unfeeling wet blanket of muddled confusion and writhing frustration. Waiting. A creeping numbness that insidiously degrades and diminishes every aspect of conscious life. A storm of screaming and hatred in dreams. A dull apathy in waking. A sinking stomach in the face of joy and a faithless lassitude in the face of hope.

Throughout the day I’ll have moments, sometimes hours even, when things look up. I’ll plan out ways to achieve all sorts of goals, get my life together, etc. But all the while, it just feels sort of…fake. Like I’m tricking myself. I’m always wondering, ‘How long can I keep it up this time?’

When the time comes that I finally admit it’s all pointless, that my life will be terrible no matter what I try to do, it always feels more like accepting reality than depression. Any medication or therapy that actually had positive effect was just a delusion. I tell myself I’d rather be sad in the real world, than happy living a delusion.

Depression does lie. It tells me I would rather sit at home on the computer instead of go out with my friends, or even go grocery shopping. It tells me that sleeping for 13 hours is ok, that I can take out the trash tomorrow, that I don’t really need to take my meds, because they don’t help anyway (they do, that’s another depression lie).

For me, depression is cotton on my face. It’s a big, heavy blanket that muffles everything. I feel like I’m constantly wrapped in gauze. Sometimes I peek out and stop being suffocated for a while, but when those times happen less frequently than blanket-mode, that’s what feels fake.

It turns intelligent, kind people into zombies who can’t wash a dish or change their socks. It affects the ability to think clearly, to feel anything, to ascribe value to your lifelong passions, your relative good fortune. It scoops out your normal healthy ability to cope with bad days and bad news, and replaces it with an unrecognizable sludge that finds no pleasure, no delight, no point in anything.

You alienate your friends because you can’t comfort yourself socially, you risk your job because you can’t concentrate, you live in moderate squalor because you have no energy to stand up, let alone take out the garbage. You become pathetic and you know it. And you have no capacity to stop the downward plunge. You have no perspective, no emotional reserves, no faith that it will get better. So you feel guilty and ashamed of your inability to deal with life like a regular human, which exacerbates the depression and the isolation.

Depression isn’t an emotion. Depression is a contradiction to every worthy aspect of life.

I am getting help. I see someone, and I’m on medication that my partner makes sure I take every day.

If you feel this way or want help, please get it. There are resources out there to help you. Here are a few national ones below, but check locally as well.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Crisis Text Line
Text START to 741-741

NEW – Lifeline Crisis Live Chat

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