Hell: A Personal Look at Depression
I’ve been having a particularly rough holiday season.
It’s the time of year where seasonal moodswings pop up everywhere like unwelcomed golfers. A few of my friends are dealing with some variation of depression as well. The consensus among us afflicted are:
1) Life sucks
2) You deserve this
3) You want to stop feeling
Let’s break that down. It all starts when that “life sucks” feeling creeps up on you. Perhaps there was a specific trigger, a scent or a sight that reminded you of something tragic or sad that happened to you. Or maybe it came out of the blue. Either ways you have a moment where you realize things aren’t feeling great.
Most of the time,
the problem stops here, you feel bad, then the feeling goes away.
But sometimes it blooms, and you feel bad, then you feel like you deserve to feel bad, then you feel bad for feeling bad.
This is the point where everything starts to hurt, and a dense hazy cloud is thrown over your world... Everyday feels worse and worse, you feel so bad you don’t want to wake up. Fraught with anxiety, you oversleep, forget to eat, and feel lethargic all the time. Eventually leading to stage 3; Wanting to stop the feelings. And we’ll come back to this in a moment.
My biggest problem is sleeping. I don’t ever want to sleep, cause sleeping leads to terrible dreams, and worst of all, having to wake up again to repeat it all.
How bad could it be? If you’re lucky enough to never have experienced the “black dog” of drepression, a nightmare is probably not too big of a deal for you.
But when you’re waking up in the middle of the night and repeatedly asking for someone to kill you, that’s how you know you’re really fucked.
Then comes the sleep inertia. For regular people, it’s hitting the snooze button a couple of times and rolling out of bed all bleary eyed.
For people going through the motions of depression, it’s a trip to fuckingn Mordor every morning. It’s hard to put into words because it’s such an irrational feeling to have when you have a roof over your head, and access to food and water, and the internet, but yet you feel like you have absolutely nothing, no, even worse, like you ARE nothing.
Those two reasons combined develops a sort of insomnia, where I don’t want to sleep because I don’t want to go through waking up again. So I end up staying up till 5 am most days.
Feeling sucks when the majority of your feelings are sucky.
But the less rested you are, the more susceptible to life’s noise you become. It’s a self perpetuating feedback loop.
When somebody decides they no longer want to feel feelings, there are a couple of tried and true methods.
1) Substance abuse to numb the feelings
2) Getting lost in a fictional world
3) Putting an obsessive amount of time and energy into some endeavor
There’s been several times in the last few months where I’ve wanted to cease existing. Not exactly feeling suicidal; I didn’t want to kill myself, but I did want to die, or never have existed in the first place. I found myself wishing I could just go to sleep and dream forever. But then the next day comes along, and my back is in pain from laying in bed for too long, my stomach has been eating away at itself, and my bladder is about to explode. So no, I can’t just stay in bed and sleep, as much as I want to.
In my waking hours, I tried turning to fictional worlds as an escape. Tv series, book sagas, movies. While these worked, they also had the downside of taking up all your time and locking it in a medium that isn’t contributing to your life in any way aside from distracting you from your pains. I found audiobooks are the best medium if you had to get locked into one, cause you can still be productive while listening.
Still, even if you manage to find an escape in a fictional universe, you still have to deal with your real life. Which is unbearable.
So we smoke, drink, get high, anything to capture the fickle attention of the mind and distract us from our aches.
These substances that initially aid us, end up becoming ailments of their own.
the best option would be pouring your energy into some endeavor, either work, a new skill, a hobby, or just general self improvement.
Admittedly that’s far easier said than done, seeing as how depressional lethargy can be so debilitating.
Some days I’m fairly productive, but a lot of the time I’m so mentally fatigued it’s hard for me to do anything intellectual. Or physical.
So how do you get by when every day feels like hell?
Beats me. I’m still figuring out how to eat consistently. Barely holding together. But tackling this in a logical manner: Eating > Provides Energy > Combats Lethargy > Energy to be Productive > Tired from being productive > Sleep. So I am not entirely without a plan...
But hey, if anybody reading this knows of a quicker way to get out of a funk, I’d love to hear your story.
I’ve more or less accepted the fact that I’m occasionally depressed, it happens a couple of months every year, then I go back to “normal”.
It helps being around people who understand this on a personal level, otherwise I feel kind of alienated.
I know most people have their own shit they’re going through, even though most of us aren’t as open about it.
My goal in sharing this is just putting it out there that life is a rollercoaster, and not everyone is as glamorous or happy as their social media feeds might suggest.
I’m lucky enough to have the most supportive and loving immediate family on the planet, and they really help hold me up when my bones decide to liquify on me. But even with their support, the depression is real, it hits hard, without mercy, and leaves you wondering what the fuck happened.
I can only imagine what people without the support I have are going through. I want to say things will be rosy and ok, but I honestly have no idea. All I can say is that you are not alone in this struggle.
Plenty of us are going through the motions, some more so than others, but you have brothers and sisters in this fight.
Stay strong, keep trudging. Life will keep trying to knock you down, but fuck it, why should life dictate how you feel? It’s your life after all. Grab it by the horns or the balls, or whatever you can grab, and take it on a ride instead of letting it ride you.
Till the next log.
Since writing the post above, I’ve been through a solid amount of personal experiences that have in one way or another, pulled me out of my funk. I’ve got my glow back, I feel super charismatic again, and it’s weird to think that just a few weeks ago I was stuck in fetal position.
I can’t attribute this time’s recovery to any one particular event, but for me it was definitely a combination of seeing family and friends again, getting out and exploring the city, and just dating again.
Previously I had been so starved of affection from a significant other because I was in a relationship with someone who was emotionally unavailable, and that added onto the feelings of feeling like I was nothing.
Don’t get me wrong, she’s a great person, kind heart, beautiful soul if souls are a thing, she just wasn’t in the right place in her life to be participating in a functional relationship. But being a hopeless romantic I held on for as long as I could, and that dragged me deeper and deeper down.
Breaking up, while also a turmoil of its own, was a sweet release, a severing of the chained anchor that was dragging me into the abyss.
It was like when two skydivers get their chutes tangled, to save yourselves you’d have to cut the chute, separate far away from each other, then pull the reserve. So the reserve chute has been pulled, and hindsight has me kicking myself for essentially holding on to a doomed situation for so long when I could have cut away anytime.
So it’s hard to say there’s a definite fix to depression, but I think deep down, in our guts, we typically know what we need to do to feel better, it’s actually getting that done that’s the challenge.