What Does Depression Feel Like?

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Have you wondered what it is like to be depressed? Or what is the difference between 'depression' and being 'depressed'? Do you need comfort in hearing about what you have? Do you think Depression is mind over matter? Do you not believe in it? This article may not change minds, but at least this will have been an effort to show you more.

Submitted: December 20, 2011

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Submitted: December 20, 2011



 Depression is a term used a lot in this day in age, and hearing the term has a different effect on everyone as they process through their understanding of it. Some people understand it because they have/had felt it themselves, or they have had to gone through seeing a loved one suffer through it. Sadly unless you have been apart of the emotional turmoil in some way, you cannot even imagine how horrible it is. 

It is an illness that kills the soul and the mind at first with only "off" feelings and emotions that feel as though they can be shaken, but soon the emotions are in so deep there does not seem to be any way out. Whatever someone with depression was before: it is lost, and it will not come back just because they want it to. What you see is the hollowed shells that remains behind as it continues to burrow deeper into a person. This sick intangible thing continues digging in painful ways, that is almost infathomable until it happens. 

This illness can choke the tears out of someone and only let them gasp for moments before the choking resumes. Sometimes that is all there is though, the gasps, the gulps of air hoping that it will stop. Hoping for some comfort large enough to put you at ease. 


This is all a very poetic way of describing some of what depression is; but it lacks fact and logic that people can all relate to. Being 'depressed' is being upset for a short period of time because of a situation or event. The individual may feel withdrawn, but they are able to push themselves out if they choose.

People with depression cannot. This is where many people who have not been emotionally tied to someone with depression get lost and frustated. They say it is all in a change of mindest! A perception change! Something to be snapped out of or something to "get over". 

It is not that at all, you can try to tell people with depression that: "Oh it will be alright", but without proper help? This will not be enough to help people with depression. Someone with depression has been experiencing symptoms of depression for  3+ months, and it only gets worse.



To seal this explanation, I will reveal my personal feelings on the matter and will try to make it as clear as possible.


I have struggled with depression for 7 years, and the cause of which is unknown. It is unbelievably difficult to accept that this is an illness that I have no control over, and that I cannot get better on my own. What is harder is needing help and not knowing how to ask for it, and not wanting to ask for it. Going to a doctor and therapist is one thing. Friends? Family? How do you tell them? Especially if they don't understand depression and refuse to believe that you are not just being melodramatic. 

Instead, it is easier to pretend you are happy. To get by everyday with a smile that is a lie. People who declare that: "If you make yourself smile you start to feel better on the inside", are idiots if they tell someone with depression this. I have had such people tell me this. I have also had loved ones tell me that they support me, but that they do not believe in depression at all. 

To be supportive? You have to believe in it. Otherwise you are only going to deny that to yourself, and to that person that you understand or could possible see or feel what is happening to them.


To say that the anguish they are feeling is not real? Fine, it is not real TO YOU. It is VERY real to them however, and you are just becomming a reminder that they cannot get better on their own, or that they failed somehow. They feel this, and you are only making it worse by denying it.


In my depression, I can't be around people I love and actually want to be with, because when I spend 10 minutes with them it takes any energy I have. I sit and I lie to them just so I can still see them smile, just so that I do not feel the guilt of what they would feel if they knew. I retreat to solitude after ten minutes, and later listen to them express their frustration that I cannot seem to be bothered to spend more time with them. I apologize and keep my mouth shut for them. I know lying to family is seen as a bad thing, but from my point of view? I need to see people happy. I need to see that I can still make my family happy, because as small as it is it does help. 

In my depression I spend hours alone, craving the comfort of someone who actually feel what is happening. I crave friends who make me feel loved, and who I can talk to, but everyone has their own lives and usually, I am alone. The loneliness, everyone has felt at somepoint in their lives, but this loneliness is different. It's the loneliness that I want and that is my curse for wanting it. Energy is spared when I am alone, and when I am alone I don't worry about pretending or about what is happening. I want to be alone because I feel abandoned by the select few people I have trusted enough to tell about my depression. However, the self doubt kicks in soon after this sets in. I soon think that 'well of course they do not want to see me or be around me. They have lives of their own that they are concerned about and hearing a depressed person all the time is hard'. 

So I am eased from the guilt once more by loneliness. 


What do I do when I find myself backing into a secluded corner, unable to muster energy to be fun or to do anything? Nothing. 

Drawing, making music, writing extensive novels, photography, hanging out with friends, reading? The thought of doing it, drains everything I have. 

I can try for brief moments, but soon I have to stop. It becomes too much and I feel choked, and as though there is nothing left in me to try with. This I have been told is out look problem, or because I lack faith in "God". I have a faith, but it does not matter whether I do or do not this feeling is there, and it is not just a bad day. It's carved into me and as much as I fight it, it is pointless. 

It is not because I do not want to either. I sit and I listen to music I played, and I will sit and stare at music and miss it so much that I will start crying, but I still cannot do it. I cry at how pathetic I have become and I cry because I ache for something that I loved with a passion that is lost.


I mostly just miss myself though. I miss laughing, not pushing people away, having energy, and being able to sleep right. I miss hanging around people. I miss... focusing? Thinking clearly? It is like you are not even in full existence without it. 

I can try to focus but again, that is energy gone. I can try to think clearly but that is groping through fog, and it takes your energy away.


It is like in video games when you have a life bar. Well everyday yours is 15/100 points away from the bottom at best and that has to last you through the whole day. That has to ge tyou out of bed, showering, to work/school, through the work, through obligations, and eating properly. 

I can tell you right now, I end up barely getting out of bed, going to school/work, and I don't do anything there or anywhere else. Just sit and wait. Wait to lie down somewhere and not move or think. 


I wrote this article with my 15 points, but as you can see the quality and passion is waning. The emptiness and helplessness remains, and continues to grow. Some days are better than others, but none of them are actually good days. 

Crave people can't have them, crave hobbies, can't have them, crave energy, can't have it, crave yourself, can't have it, crave thinking clearly, can't have it, focusing, can't have it.


I lie in bed at night searching for any comforting memory or emotion. Any. Otherwise I cannot sleep. Sadly, even if I do sleep? Nightmares. 


No matter where you turn, depression thwarts the victim. I hate telling people I have depression because it sounds like an excuse, or that I am whining. Really, I just am attempting poorly to ask for help. 


Also this should be obvious, but I have discovered it is not to everyone: People suffering from depression who have asked you for help, cannot help you. People suffering from depression will become worse if you criticize them constantly, abuse them, talk down to them, argue with them, or refuse to be understanding. 


It is incredibly hard to be there for someone with depression and that is why it is important to understand more about it. It is important to know that they are not themselves. This is not them and they may seem as though they are being distant and are just being difficult. They are not.


I wish I could say more, I really do. 15 points are up, time to sleep.


I am sorry for the poor writing, but I hope this helps.

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