How Depression Feels For Me

I wanted to try and put into words how depression feels for me. It is difficult explaining something which can be so changeable, one day to the next, but I’ve had a good go at it.

*Takes a deep breath*

It starts with swollen glands. It hurts to swallow, they feel sore to the touch.

I may develop tonsillitis or an ear infection.

My body feels weary, my bones feel weary. Joints ache and muscles hurt.

I’m exhausted and still, I soldier on. Ignoring the very obvious warning signs from my body. I take on more and more work. Say yes to helping others when I should say no. Try to cram more and more into my day. Dream bigger, work harder. Chase those goals.

It’s important to me that I am true to my word. That I don’t let others down. I don’t want them to think bad of me and so I bend over backwards to keep the status quo. I give them every last drop of energy.

And then I crash.

It becomes difficult to do anything.

Making a cup of tea feels complicated – I’ve got to get a mug from the cupboard, fill the kettle with water, switch the kettle on, put a teabag in the mug, find a spoon, pour water into the mug, get milk from the fridge and pour into the mug, place the milk back into the fridge, stir the teabag, put the teabag in the bin, put the spoon in the sink and then drink. It’s too much. Too taxing.

Getting dressed feels like a mammoth thing to do because I just don’t give a rat’s arse what I look like and so I stay in my dirty pyjamas. The ones I’ve worn to bed for as many nights as I can remember and then continued to wear throughout the day.

Bed. It becomes all about bed. My safe, secure and comforting duvet fort.

Yet I can’t escape my mind.

Thoughts sway from being all consuming to non-existent.

The busy thoughts are relentless and usually along the lines of how useless I am. Stupid, stupid Jayne. A worthless, good-for-nothing cowbag. A disgrace. Failing at being a good wife, good mother, good daughter, and good sister.

Failing at life. All my past hurdles come rushing back into the forefront of my mind, validating what I’m starting to believe about myself.

I try to fight them, I really do. It seems futile.

It’s impossible to think past these thoughts, they swirl around, growing in number and I strength. Laying still on the bed is exhausting because they just. Don’t. Stop. The tears fall freely yet I don’t seem to notice. Crying for the lost ‘me’, crying for those around me that they have to put up with me in this way, crying for the life I want versus the life I feel shackled to.

I look for the hidden meaning in what those closest to me say. Waiting for the rejection which is sure to come.

Finding the words spoken to me insincere, even though logic tells me they are spoken with heartfelt sincerity. These people love me but I fail to see why and start to fear that they’ll leave me. That fear manifests in me pushing them away. Forcing them to reject me.

I want to rip my head off. I beg for a reprieve from these non-stop thoughts. It doesn’t come quickly.

It comes eventually though. It might be days, it might be weeks but a reprieve does come.

It’s as if my mind has run out of juice.

The batteries are flat.

My mind becomes empty. It struggles to think of anything. Decisions are difficult. Talking to others is difficult as I slur my words, trying to get my brain to keep up with my mouth. Reading is impossible, the word on the page blur and don’t sink in. I can read a page once, twice, thrice and still the content won’t stick.

There are no tears. There is no emotion. No feelings. There’s nothing.

My brain has gone away on holiday. An open ended holiday.

I feel bereft, empty and like a rusting vessel.

As painful as they are, I want my thoughts back. At least they were alive.

I feel uncomfortable in my own skin. As though I’m too fat, too repulsive and too ugly. As though I must hurt the eyes of those who look at me and so I avoid people. The camera terrifies me. I don’t want the way I feel to be captured forever, that dead look in my eyes.

There doesn’t seem any point in brushing my hair, brushing my teeth or washing. You can’t polish a turd. And so I don’t bother trying.

Somewhere deep inside, I know I must smell. I know my hair must be matted and that my teeth are beginning to rot. I just don’t care. It doesn’t seem significant.

I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to drink. Going to the toilet feels like a tremendous effort so I wait until it hurts to not go.

I want to wither away. Be anyone but me. I can’t understand why anyone would love me, let alone like me.

I develop a crushing sensitivity. It feels as though everything is a direct dig at my inadequacies. I twist words, twist meanings and find validation of how crap I am, everywhere.

Days fly by. They say time flies when you’re having fun but I find that when I’m in this catatonic state, they zoom past. I lose concept of time. Lose track of the day. Miss birthdays. Miss weddings. Miss out on living.

Intuitively, my body knows how to keep my body alive. It continues to breathe and renew. Yet inside I feel dead. As though I’m just biding my time until I’m whisked away, out of this life and into the next.

I start considering how I must have been a right royal bitch in a past life for this feels like punishment for something. Karma is a bitch, they say. Only if you’re a bitch, is the add-on. I believe that somewhere along the line, I’ve done something to deserve this. I ruminate on incidences where I shoulda, coulda, woulda. Beat myself up for the things I’ve said, things I’ve done and for all my shortcomings. Of which, there seem to be thousands.

I inherently hate myself at this point. Everyone else I hold on a pedestal, yet don’t seem to be able to afford myself any kindness whatsoever.

Try as I might, I can’t seem to do enough, be enough to satisfy myself. Expectations of what I might achieve are set ridiculously high. It’s inevitable I won’t meet them.

The guilt I feel is overwhelming. I drown in it. I know I’m a burden to those around me. I see the concern in their eyes, the worry on their faces and know I’m the cause.

I want to set them free. Want them to leave me, to have better life without me weighing them down.
I want a hug but don’t ask.

I also want their love. In limitless supplies. It’s at odds with how unlovable I’ve become and so I reject it. Even though I want it.

Everything has become so complicated.

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88 Comments

Jennifer Moir

I’ve filled out countless forms designed to calculate what level of depression I have.Visited my gp to discuss treatment/time off from work, attended courses as part of my job, had cbt, but It’s only now reading this that I realise all the physical symptoms I experienced. Thank you for being so honest. I hope the reprieve/ better times stay longer x

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Joy Dehany

It’s like she’s been in my head and written down how life is for me, they are almost exactly my words. I am truly sorry she is feeling like that. It’s cruel. When my thoughts get really bad I force myself to think “stop bullying yourself” over and over until the very bad thoughts ease off. It allows me to breathe. I am sending you a proper hug. Please use it when you need it. ((( 🙂 )))

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Paul Lambert

That’s how I felt exactly, before I physically broke down considered doing the really stupid thing and becoming another statistic of late 40’s suicide. I shut down just went to basic looking after myself. As ex military I went to a level I could deal with. Made myself wash, shave clean my teeth and brush my hair. Everything else fell by the wayside, apart from sleep. Had lots of sleep. Lost weight rapidly 17st to 12 1/2 at my lightest. After a few weeks got the urge to watercolour paint and walk in the woods, bluebells had just come into season. Spent many hours sat on a bench amongst the bluebells, thinking, dealing,sorting my mind. Boxed each issue up and mentally stacked it in my mind. Dealing with each issue as a stand alone problem. When I reached a point where I couldn’t progress reboxed it , set it asside and dealt with another box. This helped greatly. Took up cycling again up to 100miles a week. Great to clear the mind. Had a work colleague who would ring me regularly to check on me. Couldn’t talk to family felt to ashamed at how I had let them down. Talked many hours on the phone, I now consider him a very close friend. We talk regularly now. After 14 months things are certainly brighter. I have changed I say no , don’t try to do everything, if people don’t deliver on their promise I don’t step into problem solve. If things aren’t planned properly as required I don’t get bothered now. Some may say this is wrong. But I never ever ever want to be in the position I was before. A light bulb burns its brightest just before it fails.

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Samantha Pottinger

I can very much relate to a lot of those experiences. very well described. Hope you feel better soon

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CookingCooks95

This is the most accurate account of what I’m feeling that I’ve evercome across. I thought something was wrong with me because of the way I experience depression; I had a counsellor who didn’t seem to understand properly that my depression has two stages – being plagued with thoughts or being devoid of everything. Now I understand that it’s a common experience.
I am currently In a recovery period, and for the first time in a while I feel like a normal person, despite my lack of motivation

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JR

It’s always quite sad when I hear anyone younger than me who feels this way, but I know that it can be quite painful or numb or any combination of those.
I just turned 45, so I have had a few more years to rack up some substantial failures in my life. Nothing major like a drug addiction or prison, just the regular drip-drip-drip of failures. Mostly career related, but also relationships and parenting mistakes, too.
When I was in my 20’s and 30’s, it was the “comparison game.” In the days before social media, I still knew that I would never live up to my own personal expectations and it quickly became clear that I was the least successful (financially, because “that’s how we keep score) of any of my friends or family. It stung.
In my 40’s, it’s been just a nagging wave of “meh.” I can’t get too excited about anything. While suicide is something that is in the ether, and has impacted friends of mine, that’s not really an option for me as I have kids and college tuition bills to pay in the near future.
I wish I had any kind of answer. I have only sought out help twice in my life and neither time had much impact. Third time’s a charm? Who knows?
Sending strength to those who might need a little extra as we go into 2016.

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Georgina

Written with such honesty and insight. An absolutely accurate and indepth account of the true nature of depression. Thank you. I’m pulling through a relapse and wow this is just like my whole experience too. Take care 🙂

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Jayne Hardy

Thank you Georgina. Sending you love and hugs. Take it easy on yourself and take things one teeny step at a time.

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Ben

The accuracy of this has hit me right in the stomach.
It’s a strange kind of comfort to see it described so clearly.
Thanks so much for writing it.

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Jayne Hardy

It’s always good to know that we’re not alone in our struggles and that there are others who really do “get it”. Thank you for taking the time to read Ben.

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V

I see so much of myself in your description of your depression its scary. I’m one of the lucky ones who had situational depression and being made redundant and finding a new job has really changed my outlook as well as some cognitive behavioural theraphy and adopting two lovely cats but it was a very long road with a lot of set backs and I’d never have got through it without hearing about other people and how they cope with depression etc & some very close friends from before and after. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

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Jayne Hardy

Hi V, I am so pleased to hear that you are feeling much better and that your cats and CBT have helped. Thank you for taking the time to read my post. I hope it has helped people to feel less alone.

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