Depression is an insidious illness, in that it not only seeps into every aspect of our lives, it alters how we feel about ourselves. When we have had depression for a while, it can feel as though it’s all we know, as though it has well and truly gobbled us up. It can feel as though depression is the be-all and end-all of who we are.
We can’t see past depression
We can’t imagine a life without depression, a life without depression feels so far removed from where we currently are. We struggle to think about the future, but when we do, everything we imagine to be coloured by depression. Depression is factored into every decision we make. We can’t see a time when we won’t have to factor depression into everything. We feel hopeless.
We’ve forgotten who we used to be
As well as being unable to see a future without depression, we also struggle to remember what life was like before depression struck. We’ve forgotten what we used to enjoy. We can’t remember what we used to spend our time doing. We forget what it’s like to live without relying on medication. We can’t remember the names of the friends we’ve lost along the way. We are sure we used to have a personality, but we we’ve lost sight of who we are, what we like and don’t like. We’ve forgotten who we were before depression.
Depression is a thief
Depression steals from us. It steals our feelings, thoughts, relationships, career, and so much more. It steals our personality and identity – it can feel as though our identity is depression. It keeps stealing from us until it’s one of the only things we have left. It can feel as though depression is all we’ve got.
There was a time in our lives when we had feelings. We had good times, when we experienced happiness, excitement and joy. We had less good times when we experienced sadness, anger, and disappointment. Nowadays, our feelings have been replaced with depression. We don’t have ups and downs; we have one, long, continuous, line of numbness. Or all of the feelings, all at once. Depression seems to be the only feeling we know.
When we’re unwell with depression, the world carries on around us. We may find that we miss out on experiences. We may miss things that we see as important parts of growing up; parties, date nights, university, work, family times… the list goes on. We may miss milestones – having children, getting married, going to university, and other things that we’d always thought we’d do. Life seems to pass us by, and we’re watching it happen around us, rather than living it. As much as we can often do things later in life, we can’t always wind back time and have a go at things we’ve missed. It can cause us to feel detached from the world.
We have nothing to talk about
If we do meet up with friends or family, we feel we have nothing much to talk about. They tell us all about what they’re up to. They have exciting news about the things they’re up to, their successes, and even the things which haven’t gone so well for them. We worry we have nothing to bring to the conversation. We haven’t done anything or seen anyone because we’ve been snowed under a pile of depression.
Change is frightening
When we’ve lived with depression for a long period of time, it becomes what we know. It’s not something that we want to have in our lives nor would choose to have in our lives. But when we’ve had depression for a long time, as awful as it is, it’s predictably awful. We understand it. We know what to expect. Change feels terrifying, more so because depression has eaten away at our confidence. It’s a vicious circle, one which feels inescapable.
Depression is all-consuming
Depression can be utterly overwhelming and all-consuming. It can feel as though every time we take a breath, we’re breathing it in. We become so concentrated on trying to stay alive, and doing basic human tasks, that we forget other things. We forget important dates. We forget life admin. Depression consumes us.
Depression can feel as though it’s all we know. But it won’t be this way for ever. When depression has you running on empty with nothing left to give, take. Your time to give will come again. Take time to get better, take up the offers of help, and take time for self-care, in the smallest of steps.
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