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Aug 11 2011

How Depression Feels

I feel like there’s a disease in my head. I want to excise the brain parts that it lives in, the parts responsible for loneliness, worthlessness, apathy, cynicism, seriousness, sensitivity, and all the other ways in which I could be described.

I feel like a book lying open on the grass. The wind blows the pages around and one can’t help but read them. Nothing that’s written can ever be forgotten.

I feel like I’ve wound up my body’s pocket watch all wrong. It doesn’t go at the same pace as everyone else’s. Sometimes it ticks when it shouldn’t. Sometimes it doesn’t when it should. Where is that damn watchmaker?

I feel like a sinking ship. All of my most beautiful parts are underwater now, my framework waterlogged and rotting. Up on the tilting deck, an orchestra plays for anyone who dares to listen.

I feel like there’s a darkness following me wherever I go. Some call it a black dog, others call it a raincloud, others call it the noonday demon. Sometimes we sit on a bench next to each other, just gazing out into the world through our foggy, listless eyes. When it’s with me, I see in black and white.

I feel like a piece of driftwood on a beach. Why am I here, and not there? Is this sandy spot any better than that one?

I feel like there’s another spirit inside me and it’s more compassionate and optimistic and hopeful than I’ve ever been able to be.

I feel like there’s a flood slamming against the levee walls of my brain.

I feel like there’s a screeching phoenix beating in my heart, trying to burn a hole in the scarred tissue and escape.

I feel like I’m moments, or days, or years away from coming alive. It’ll happen, someday.

8 comments

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  1. 1
    Z

    I can relate to a lot of this. I’m diagnosed with “depressive disorder” which appears to be mild to medium depression that hangs around and around and just won’t be shaken … it might not be noticeable to someone with a less jubilant type personality than I have, but in my case it’s noticeable a lot, at least to me, and very irritating. I’ve tried willing it away, medicating it away, and also waiting it out. None of that seems to work so my latest theory is to work with it as one would with a non total impairment. We’ll see how that does.

    1. 1.1
      Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

      Have you tried cognitive behavioral therapy? It’s proven to be the best treatment for pretty much any emotional disorder.

      Regardless, though, I wish you the best of luck. We have to fight it as best as we can.

      1. 1.1.1
        Z

        I know but I think it’s culturally specific — fits U.S. attitudes, men, and also people who are confirmed pessimists and/or don’t have good life skills. I’m pretty critical of all behaviorisms and I’d like psychoanalysis.

        Perhaps another way of saying it is: I do my own CBT on myself and haven’t been able to find a therapist who could do anywhere near as good a job — they seem primed to deal with people who are a lot more immature or who have a lot of really major problems, huge screwups, terrible attitudes, and so on. At least in this area.

        I also think there are huge differences among people who have this problem, in terms of how they got it and so on. But, yes — good luck to you, too!

  2. 2
    Team Oyeniyi

    Beautfil writing. I hope one day you are able to spread your wings and fly, free of the phoenix and the black dog.

    1. 2.1
      Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner

      Thank you. :)

  3. 3
    Team Oyeniyi

    A thought for both of you, although more Z I think in this case.

    Firstly, the USA statistically seems to have way more cases of forms of depression than most other countries – I did some research about it at one stage a couple of years ago. What is it about life in America that results in this? Find the answer to that and you may find the answer to the causes for yourself.

    Secondly, there is situational depression. This is what I suffered during my battle with the government, driven by the anxiety for my husband’s and children’s safety. Reading Z’s words, I am left wondering if your depression is more situational. Often people do not recognise there is actually a situation causing the problem. In my case, of course, it was glaringly obvious, but if it is work or home related, sometimes people just “keep keeping on” without realising the situation is causing the depression.

    1. 3.1
      Z

      Situational is what I think, but in US discourse saying so appears to be considered “blaming” which is supposed to be bad — it has to be all you (the assumption being that you are not introspective, and are incapable of taking responsibility for anything, so saying it is about a situation is considered to be a form avoidance and “denial”).

      Does the US have more depression even than Scandinavia? That’s the place I’ve lived with the most depressive temperaments per square block, but maybe not?

      1. 3.1.1
        Team Oyeniyi

        Z, I’m not sure about Scandinavia, I just remember reading the stats a few years ago.

        As for the US attitude to situational, I would say that realism has a place in any therapy. I saw a psychologist the whole time I was battling the government and there was probably an element of “blame” there – after all the reality was my situation was caused by the actions of the government. That was fact. The fear and anxiety for my husband’s safety was real. It was NORMAL for me to suffer anxiety under the circumstances. The government’s actions were not my responsibility and never could be.

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