Have You Ever Wondered What Depression Feels Like?

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Answered by: William, An Expert in the Depression: True Stories Category
It wasn't easy to admit to myself that I'm depressed. For one, I was unknowingly part of the machine that perpetuates the negative stigma around mental illness. I didn't understand how I couldn't just buck up and smile like everyone else. I didn't want to admit that I had a problem. And most of all, I didn't want to feel that I was inherently weak, and unable to fix myself. After all, isn't independence one of those goalposts that we pass upon entering adulthood?

I mean, I was just a kid. (Still am, come to think of it.) I thought that I was supposed to be strong, reliable, independent. Like my parents, my friends, and my co-workers, I thought that needing to see a psychologist meant that I was inadequate and wired wrongly. Every time that someone asked why I hadn't called lately, or why I was still in bed, or why I wasn't making jokes like I'd used to, it hurt. It reminded me that I was a different person than everyone else. And I bought into that, so to speak, and chose to ignore the signals and try my hardest to be like everyone else.

That's what part of my depression feels like: inadequacy, difference from everyone else, from society. And that drove me deeper into depression, because I felt as if I had less worth than everyone else. I've since learned that isn't the case, but learning and believing are two different things -- hence, although I began to medicate and relieve some of the emotional symptoms, my reasoning hasn't yet followed. I must stress that depression, in my case, isn't just a feeling of sadness or hopelessness. There's also a logical aspect that drives that sadness alongside the medical problems, such as a lack of serotonin and other brain chemicals.

To illustrate, let's say that you have the ability to heal any sickness. Everyone has told you from your earliest memory that you are someone special, that you can heal with a touch. Now, let's say that you have been placed into solitary confinement for no understandable reason. Your gift of healing is now voided, since you can't touch anyone. All of the problems you could solve remain outside your cell. How would you feel? Powerless that you can't do anything, but sorrow because you know you could? Maybe you feel a bit of inner tension because you know all of those sicknesses are existing just outside your reach? You might even feel frustrated that you can't escape your cell, but you've been trying your hardest ever since you heard the latch click shut.

That's what my depression feels like. It's as though I'm trapped in a room, unable to do anything but watch the world go by, and no matter how I try, I can't escape. Alongside the emotional pain of being trapped, there's the logical disability which drives it.

Depression isn't just a feeling of sadness. It's the sadness that permeates life, and that those free from their cell can't easily relate to, because they're free. It's the pain of wanting to get better, but being stuck inside bars that you may have helped create. It's the frustration of being alone in a cell, and no one is there beside you. And, if they were, they can't get out, either, and so now there are two of you in the same dire straights, but that doesn't help. It just compounds the reality of it all. And that's terrible.

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