“What does depression feel like?” I’ve heard that single question a hundred times before. And every time I’m asked that question, I use a different way to describe it, because every time it feels different. It’s sort of like a paper cut because that never feels the same either. Sometimes it’s on your finger, other times on your hand and even sometimes you don’t even know how the hell you got a paper cut somewhere. It even varies in depth and size. So you see what I mean if I say depression has the same characteristics, but it can feel different every time. Surprising you, just like that innocent piece of paper that’s now making you bleed.
You always feel yourself sinking into that same darkness that whispers depression in your ear, but it always feels different. Sometimes it feels like heartache – I always say I would rather be stabbed by a gentleman than get my heart broken by one. You know what I’m talking about, that sting, that dreadful pain sucking the life out of you. Like that scene in Indiana Jones where that terrifying dude rips the heart from a boys’ chest. Quite literally, but you feel the same as if your heart was also ripped out of your chest, leaving you only with complete and utter sadness. But the thing is, nobody broke your heart, so why do you feel this way?
Other times it feels like you’re drowning – you feel your lungs rise with water and you try to fight the ocean current with everything you’ve got, you try to go up for a single breath – but you start to feel so tired, you just want to let go and give up, let the water drag your body without any refusal. And to think an hour ago you were fine, having fun on the beach, and now you’re drowning. It’s like hearing that it’s a beautiful day outside but you can’t see anything in this windowless room you’re trapped in. Sometimes depression feels like you’re walking in a scary alley and you’re too busy looking around you that you step into wet cement – you try to get out, but you’re stuck. And everyone is walking past the alley and you cry out for help: just like the boy in Indiana Jones, the person thrown into a windowless room, like the poor soul who’s drowning and now as someone who feels like she’s going to be stuck in that horrid place forever.
Later on, it feels like you’ve been living for ages, decades even. And you’ve felt and witnessed tragedy day after day. You’ve seen war, poverty and people dying. You’ve loved and lost, you’ve seen the things no one wants to see or feel. And you are so angry, and you treat the people you love with irritation and aggravation. Not because you feel irritated by them, but because you’re just so angry and tired of feeling this way. And you want to be left alone, but you don’t want to be alone – and you know that doesn’t even make sense – but that’s what you want. And the worst part is that you don’t even know why you feel this way. Then one day you realise you’ve never been more alone because you’re scaring away the only people left that care for you. So you try to pull yourself together, you sob in the shower but smile in public, because you think that if you act alright you’ll be alright. Then one day it breaks, it tumbles; you see your life shatter into a thousand pieces. And you know that you did it to yourself, you hid it away, pushed it back like Dr Jekyll – but Hyde always found a way to escape. And now you’re more alone than ever, and your life is in pieces. You heard that you’re cruel and heartless and too aggravated, but that was you fighting to be normal, and you wish you never fought, you wish that you just took that blade you stared at for such a long time once, and you stabbed yourself, broke your own heart. Cut yourself with the piece of paper. So you can finally find peace, like the boy in Indiana Jones.
And if not, you feel yourself sinking even deeper in the hissing darkness and it feels like it’s eating you from the inside, until there is nothing left, until you don’t care about anything anymore and the sparkle that used to be in your eyes are long gone. You’re a ghost of the person you used to be, just an empty shell.
And that is what depression feels like.