I’ve read a great deal over the years on how depression makes you feel. From huge tomes by great authors on how the mind affects the body, to in-depth health articles from medical professionals, to the banality of a Minion/Marilyn Monroe-themed ‘inspirational’ quote on Facebook. The push in these day to day quotes is always that physical and mental illness is always something you should ‘fight’. But what if your body and mind are too exhausted?
For me, depression comes in many forms. It washes over me like waves with varying degrees of force. Sometimes the malaise passes pretty quickly and others it lingers for days like an un-emptied litter tray. It’s a feeling of almost ‘nothingness’. I don’t want to do or even say, anything.
Everything is a chore. Communicating with the people I adore is tiresome.
I’ve heard depression described as ‘feeling as though you are walking through treacle’; but I’m not sure I agree with that. Mainly because EWW imagine that? Your shoes would be ruined and your feet would stink. But also because for me, depression is more about my inability to function in often the most banal of situations. Talking about last night’s TV to a colleague can become a mammoth and seemingly utterly pointless task. I don’t want to do it, and why should I have to? Do I have to wear a badge that says ‘I am feeling anti-social today please do not approach’? Because I’ll make it, I will, don’t push me, I’m one chat about Emmerdale away from buying a badge maker.
The other side of that anti-social coin is really that I’m not anti-social at all. In fact it’s physically painful when I become aware of the way I am acting. I don’t want to shut myself off, or be alone. But I am frequently powerless to change that. Or at least that’s how it seems. I don’t even have the energy to explain all of that when I’m in the midst of it.
My Mum once told me she ‘had the blues’. That’s one I favour too. It’s melancholy and expressive and doesn’t shy away from it; it just seems to lessen the worry for those around us. Something that is important, as although we feel all the love we did before we ‘got the blues’, sometimes we can’t express it as we once did. Colour changes, and at some point the tide will go out and the waves will dissipate.
I don’t try and torture myself trying to find a cause for it anymore. I don’t blame having my heart broken by finding out George Michael is gay, a harsh word said in anger with my beloved, I don’t even blame my cat choosing the lap of my partner over mine. I don’t study my own behaviour and internally batter myself over the head for it. I don’t shy away from facing it, and I hide when I have to because that’s OK too.
I focus on what I now know for sure and from experience: it will pass.