I Remember Depression || Depression Awareness Week

TRIGGER WARNING: This post discusses part of my personal experience with depression.  I remember depression. Sometimes after I’ve had a good day, I sit there and think about it. I thank it for not interfering for this one day, or week, or however long it’ll take before it slips back into my life. When I remember depression, I remember the tunnel that I gradually found stretching over me. I could only see the world through the gaps between the bricks, in flickers that I couldn’t keep up with, and soon, didn’t care for. My view of the world was distorted. I’d hear words but by the time they traversed the realm I was sealed in, they’d have lost all impact and meaning. I called it toughening up. I still do. The numbness that I developed in isolation still has a grasp on my heart. I dressed it up in pretty words, called it growth, called it coping, when it was disintegration, when it was blindness, when it was losing touch with the world around me and letting the tunnel envelop me further. I remember that no one realised that I was depressed. I myself only realised it long after it had infiltrated my thoughts, transformed me into the complete opposite of myself. I cried while reading up on depression when I tried to figure out what’s wrong me. I cried when I took a quiz about eating disorders, realising how I’ve made my body shrink to accommodate my soul, my emotional capacity which was slowly diminishing. It was not sadness, it was not fear; it was an explanation. It was coming to terms with the gaping holes in my existence; it was relief. Perhaps, now that I think about it, the eating disorder was an attempt to feel pain, even if just physical. I’d convinced myself that if I could feel something, anything, then I wouldn’t be as depressed. Then I would have defied the definition. But I also clearly remember walking up on stage on graduation day, feeling absolutely nothing. Afterwards, someone asked me, “Wasn’t that…?” She wasn’t sure which word she wanted to use. And for a moment there, I was relieved again, someone felt the same way I did. So I suggested a word, “Underwhelming?” She gave me a look that I couldn’t decipher and said, “No, the complete opposite. It was exhilarating!” And so it went. I like to say that I’ve recovered. And in all honesty, I’m quite far away from the place I was three years ago. But I still sit at the end of a good day to think about depression. And I can’t help but think that with depression, I’m never really out of the tunnel. Maybe I’m just right on the edge. I’ll always be looking over my shoulder, wondering how long it’ll take for me to retrace my steps back into the the hollowness of depression. But at least, I feel the fear. At least when I think of it, I shudder and ache. And that is good. That’s another step away from the detachment that is depression.

———————————————————————————————– I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a week now. Realising that depression awareness week is about to end, and finally finding inspiration, I sat down and wrote it. I hesitated a bit, wondering if I should really publish it at all. But here it is. It’s history. Please, if you think you have depression, or any other mental health issue, tell someone. Talk to someone. Disconnecting will feel like the easy choice but not in the long run. Tell one person. Write about it. Just don’t let it sit there and eat you up on the inside. And if you’re reading this, know that I’m here to talk at any time. 

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3 thoughts on “I Remember Depression || Depression Awareness Week

  1. Thank you for posting this. I struggle with depression, too (bipolar, actually), and it’s just awful. You’re absolutely right – your basic view of the world gets distorted, and while I’m better off than I have been, I still second guess myself so much. Am I actually unhappy? Is it just my mood? Am I being paranoid for a reason? Will it pass when the mood passes? Does that mean it truly wasn’t real, or just that I’m not seeing it anymore?

    It’s a special kind of hell that nobody understands unless they’ve been through it themselves. I’ve been trying to channel my experiences into one of my fics, but it’s so hard to portray, even though I’ve lived with it for more than a decade.

    Have you ever read Hyperbole and a Half? It’s a blog and a book – I love the book, because I can curl up and read it whenever, but the blog has most of the stories from the book. This entry is one of the best depictions of depression I’ve ever read: http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2013/05/depression-part-two.html

    My friends and I have taken to using the fish analogy a lot.

    (Sorry if this was too something. Your entry just really spoke to me.)

    • Thank you, thank you, thank you for such a responsive comment. And I actually haven’t heard of the blog or the book, so thank you for directing me towards it. I’ve been slowly realising that talking about it and bringing attention to it helps. If not me, then maybe, possibly, it’ll help someone else, even if just the tiniest bit. Also, are you publishing the fic already or just working on it in person so far? And HPFF or something else? That, too, is awfully brave because then the writing project becomes a bit of a personal journey (as if writing a fic isn’t already crazy as it is), so I can imagine it’s a bit of a challenge.

      Once again, thanks for responding, and I’ll definitely give that blogpost a read. 😀

      • Yeah, I think talking about it can really help a lot, if only because it helps destigmatize it little by little. I realized that when I was in high school, actually – I was more open about it than I am now, I think in part because I was more out of control in general and in part because I wasn’t as worried about things like employment (which I have to be now, unfortunately), and there were definitely people who told me that I helped give them courage to talk about it. Which was pretty cool.

        It’s for HPFF, but I haven’t published it yet. It’s actually one of my most prominent next-gen characters – I’ve been pretty sure he’s bipolar for awhile now, but he hasn’t really had a major breakdown. Yet. I want to allude to it in the fic I’m working on now, in which he’s a central character but not one of the POV characters, but I just… can’t figure out how.

        It’s a huge challenge. Hopefully I can pull it off.

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