Have you ever wondered what severe depression feels like?
Growing up, I lived in a constant state of depression, but it felt normal. I was used to hating myself, hating those around me, and hating being alive on this earth. What I didn’t realise was that I wasn’t really alive. I was merely existing in a state of survival. Losing my mother at fourteen was the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me. In fact, it robbed my childhood and tainted my view of the world. If you have been following my blog for a while, then you will know that this is something that never fully went away.
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What is depression?
When I hear people say that they are depressed, what I always wonder is if they are actually depressed of just feeling sad. And yes, there is a difference. Feeling sad is normal, we can’t always be happy. Feeling sad is not equivalent to being depressed, but can be a symptom of depression.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, “depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.”
The way I see it, and as explained in this article, one of the main distinguishing factors of whether or not something can be classified as depression is the duration of the feeling and how it impacts your daily life. Another factor is the chemistry behind it. Someone with depression generally has an imbalance of chemicals in their brain that can only be treated with medication. Now with that in mind, I will let you in on how I felt for over a decade of my life.
Depression feels like a death sentence
I always strive to keep things as real as I can on my blog while putting a positive spin on my posts. But there is no way to speak about what depression feels like without exposing the bad. Something I have admitted to maybe a handful of people is that I had tried to end my life a few times. There were days when I thought that I was heading to that destination so why not speed up the process.
Being alive felt painful, sleeping was impossible, life was lonely… In sum, there really was no reason why I needed to be alive. In my mind, the world would’ve been a better place if I wasn’t consuming oxygen that would’ve been better spent by someone else.
It is hard to complete daily tasks
Since seeking medical help and changing my lifestyle, I have definitely come a long way. I don’t think my journey is complete, but I’ve come the point of being able to freely talk about my mental health. If you’re wondering how this happened, it’s simple – therapy and medication.
Before seeking help, simple things like taking showers or even getting out of bed were too mundane. I recall throwing myself into fitness to give myself purpose. Of course, the dumbbells didn’t care if I showed up or not, so that didn’t quite end well.
Nowadays, I still have days when I just want to lie in bed and not do anything. I have skipped a shower or two, forgotten if I have eaten and even ignored my family and friends. Strangely enough, if I am exhausted during such a period, I often find it difficult to sleep. And if I do, I find it difficult to distinguish between dreams and reality.
No one can pull you out of that state
When I was at my lowest, there was nothing that would pull me from the pit. It didn’t matter who tried, or what they said, I wasn’t going to budge.
As much as being depressed feels horrible, it is so easy to find comfort in the black hole. At least, that’s how it was in my case. When I got small moments of joy, I found myself immediately pulling myself back to the dungeon. My logic – if we can call it that – was that happiness wasn’t meant for me. If anything or anyone brought joy, they would be ripped away leaving me in pain. So the solution was not to let any happiness in. It sounds crazy just thinking about it, but that was by far the easiest solution.
There will always be a comfort item
Strangely enough, every person has that thing that they turn to for comfort. For me, it
was is food. When I struggled to process my emotions, I would eat. When I felt overwhelmed, I would eat. If I felt lonely, I would eat. As expected, that viscious cycle birthed what I hadn’t realised to be an eating disorder.
Even though I have come quite far on my journey, I do still use food as a crutch. Although I no longer purge, I find that binge eating is something that comes as second nature to me. Luckily, my husband is very supportive and knows how to look out for my triggers.
What depression feels like may differ from person to person
One thing that I have learnt in my nearly three decades alive, is that no two people will have shared experiences. We are all unique, our life experiences are different and therefore our reactions will be different. That being said, no one is better placed than you when it comes to identifying just how bad your situation is. If you suspect that you may be depressed, please do reach out to someone immediately.
Also, please remember that depression is fairly common and nothing to be ashamed of. One in fifteen adults experiences depression each year. One in six adults will experience it at some point in their life. The important thing is to get help before it destroys you.
If you are comfortable sharing your experience, have you ever been depressed? Tell us in the comment section what depression feels like to you.