Reflecting on Depression, from the Other Side

There is a certain comfort in feeling numb. In a world of chaos, it is one of the few certainties that exists. That weight, that heaviness; it is an unwelcome guest that you wish would just leave but you cannot bear to say goodbye. Why? That means vulnerability. You are truly alone. There is no-one you can hide behind and you feel exposed to your fears. The past feels so present and the future is so unclear; so unlikely.

To be awash with depression is a feeling of suffocation and weightlessness all in one. You cannot breathe and you’re too weak to stand. You cry uncontrollably but don’t care at the same time. There is no hope. There is no light. You stare in the mirror and see a blank canvas scarred with pain; pain and emptiness. You look hollow and wish you weren’t alive. In many ways, you don’t really feel like you are alive. To live is to feel emotion; to feel happy, or sad. To have goals, dreams, regrets and hope. Depression removes the essence of what it means to be human.

At its worst, depression leads to withdrawal; from friends, family and the wider world. It feels safer to be alone. It feels safer to turn out the lights and hide under the duvet. There is a longing for isolation, and an escape from communication. The phone switches off. Emails, post, text messages – these all become too much. A once simple task is now neglected. Such tasks mount up as apathy marches forward. What is the point? Does this really matter? What relevance is my life in the grand scheme it all?

Small talk is tortuous and routine is monotony. Life is predictable. The anger and sadness of events in the news simply confirm the view you hold towards a broken world. Depression gives you an uncanny sense of knowing about human nature. Emotion permeates reason. It is survival of the fittest; it always will be. Consciously or not, humans are programmed to survive. To have control and power in the battle of life, love and happiness.

A ride with depression is an addiction to pain. It cannot just disappear. To escape means to fight. The strength to fight develops through acceptance. No-one else can lead that battle. But reaching out can mobilise an army. This army is here for you. To support your cause. To help you survive.

You are a valuable human being. Those dark thoughts are simply that: thoughts. They are not reality. They can be challenged. They are as transient as clouds in the sky.

You have the strength to fight. You are not alone in this battle. Our stories will differ but the pain is still real. It unifies us. There is strength in numbers.

So let’s continue to fight. Let’s build up our army of support. Talking helps us heal. It builds up resilience. Ultimately, it helps us to prepare for the possibility of a lifelong struggle; but one which will neither defeat nor define us.

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