Depression is a fog. It clouds your mind and heart and is a veil over not just the bad things, but also the good. I realised this the day that mine began to act up on a perfectly sunny, summer afternoon, when I should have felt happy. And I didn’t. Instead, I felt that sinking pit in the depths of my stomach, that signalled to me that something wasn’t right. And it hadn’t been right for many, many years. I have never been formally diagnosed with depression, but the symptoms are all there, and it runs in my family. My brother, my Mom, my Aunt, and so on, have suffered from anxiety and depression related issues. And I’m no different. Some days, even when I know it’s beautiful outside, I can’t even be bothered to get up early enough to fully enjoy the day.
Depression comes in many forms, and mine is made up of many different parts, shifting day to day. Some days are great, and I feel hopeful. Others are terrible, and I feel as if I’m going no where in life. My depression is particularly triggered by hormonal changes each month, which make me become very unstable at times, and very, very dark. It’s like a hurricane hitting my brain, and all the power goes off. But I recognised this some years back, and it helped me manage to push through it each month, because I knew it was coming. But depression isn’t always the extremes, it can be much more subtle, and sinister, than all that.
Depression, for me, is: The inability to fall asleep at a decent time. Never sleeping well. waking up so many times per night it’s unnatural. Feeling tired no matter how much sleep I get. Feeling forgetful most of the day. Being unable to motivate myself to go to the gym even though I know it’s good for me. Not caring what I eat. The inability to focus on simple things, like reading and writing, when I have an English degree. Applying for jobs but having no hope anymore that I’ll ever hear back. Trying desperately to convince myself that things will get better, but realising, maybe they won’t. Maybe this is just how life is. Maybe some people don’t get to be happy, because something is stopping them from achieving said happiness. Feeling like an asshole for complaining when you have a privileged life, and you’re incredibly aware of it. Being grateful and yet sad simultaneously. Wanting more, but believing you’re undeserving of it. Needing affection and intimacy but being unable to find it, or ask for it. Wanting to find love but feeling like you’re unworthy of it. Deciding that not everyone is meant to love, that it’s a privilege, not a guarantee, and you must just be one of those people who isn’t meant to find it. No one outside your immediate family will ever love you. Ever. And letting that eat away at you until it drives you mad. And then you sleep, and wake up the next day, and hope it’s one of those good days, where you picture yourself back in London, or Manchester, or Paris, when things felt ok, when you had hope that one day you might find a job in New York or LA or somewhere else that made you feel like you were part of something greater than yourself. But remembering, once more, that you are not. You’re not meant for greatness. There’s nothing special about you, apart from your delusions of grandeur, and this is why you’re never happy. You believe you’re worth much more than you actually are. You’re pathetic, and boring, and mediocre, just like you always feared. And sometimes those people find love and happiness, but you’re not like those people. You’re alone, in your bed, at noon on a Tuesday, wondering how you have an MA in Creative Writing from one of the best universities in the United Kingdom, and the world, and you’re still at home, trapped, like sand in an hourglass.
Kelsey H. 7.28.17