Depression, I’ve discovered, never goes away. However, recognising that, matters. It’s ok not to be ok.
I had a good run. Almost two months where I didn’t wake up feeling panicked, no more anchors someone had placed inside my stomach while I slept, the idea that no matter what I did, I would horrendously fuck things up, had dissipated. I clung to the idea that my sobriety meant my depression wouldn’t get called into my brain every day and start running the show. It would be a shitty intern at best and maybe only show up every two weeks with the wrong coffee order. I was wrong.
I tricked myself. Depression, much like bad memories, reruns of BIG BANG THEORY, or the McRib, never really goes away. Over the last two weeks, I have become a human puddle. When I see slush, I see myself. My self-confidence plays hide-and-go-seek and my ability to get things done, big and small, has withered away faster than a snowman on the receiving end of an Elon Musk flamethrower.
Initially, I was mad at myself. I had to have done something wrong. I had to have deviated from the routines that had been working for me. If I could just figure out what it was, I could fix it. Then I remembered the simple fact that my brain and body chemistry are simply wired differently than most people’s. I imagine most people’s brains look like a flux capacitor, while mine resembles the insides of a Teddy Ruxpin hotwired together with a toaster someone threw out. That’s not bad, just different.
My depression, much like my flawless skin and slight scoliosis, will never go away, it is forever a part of me. It’s just so fucking hard to come to terms with this. I have an action list in mind that I know if I use, will help me get out of most of my funks, but I forgot how much this disease can fog up my mind and make common sense and logic look blurry and out of reach. Depression feels like what fluorescent lights sound like: a constant, dull buzzing that makes it hard to focus on what’s in front of me, especially if it happens to be good, happiness and joy flicker but don’t burn bright.
I’m writing about what I’m feeling because I want anyone else living through it to know you’re not alone. It’s so easy for me to tell someone to take a shower, go for a walk, reach out for help, or a million other ways I’ve learned how to cope. But having been in the thick of it again, I remember that when you’re depressed, you wake up buried in quicksand. Reaching out to grab a phone takes a monumental amount of strength. Making a meal is a Herculean effort. Everything is easier said than done.
My mind is on the same old loop: I’m a failure, I’ve done so many terrible things in my life that I deserve to feel bad forever, I am alone and it will always be that way. I am unloveable. I’m a piece of shit. Every good thing I’ve ever had I’ve ruined.
These are feelings. Feelings aren’t facts. I am wading through the muck right now, remembering the good things I have done with my life and the positive impact I can have on other people. I always feel like the negative feelings are unique to me. I know that is not the case. I don’t want to harm myself, I just want to hit the reset button and start over. Clean slate my brain.
I am going to do my best to keep telling my friends and loved ones what I’m going through and not tell people I’m doing, “just fine” when they ask. I don’t know when this dark fog will lift. It could be tomorrow or a year from now. But if you’re reading this right now and you relate, I hope you can turn your brain off for just a moment and remember that you matter, to try and be as kind and compassionate towards yourself as you are to others. Keep fighting the good fight.
I don’t have any advice today, I just want to remind you that it’s okay to not feel okay.
You are not alone and neither am I. Let’s hold hands as best we can and wade through this muck together.