Did you ever lack motivation until the point of asking yourself why you should leave your bed? Have you felt like you had no control over what is going on around you? Like, nothing makes sense and no matter what you do, it is not enough? Did you feel worthless and guilty for something out of your control?
Depression feels closer to that and then it finds the way to go beyond, because it’s goal is not to wound or disable. Depression aims to kill. It has beaten me down thousand times, and I want to show you its dangerous tricks.
It is a weird feeling that starts crippling your being. It acts almost unnoticeable in the beginning, like things are getting heavier in your mind. They lose color and brightness, fading into something that becomes a duty more than anything else.
I remember not wanting to write or read. The TV shows I followed started making a queue. Thinking about projects or plans made me snap and complain. I avoided getting involve in new things because nothing seemed appealing.
From things that are intellectually engaging —like new projects- to the physical aspect —like sex or sports, nothing awakes your curiosity. All seems dull and pointless. Trips, festivities, visits… all have an odd taste, like flavorless.
It is a tragedy, and it gets worse.
This might be surprising if you have never been through a rough episode, but it can get really, extremely boring. Depression will suck out all the happiness of things in your life little by little.
Yes, since motivation doesn’t boost your spirit anymore, your enjoyment gradually decreases. Going out seems like way too much effort. Movies don’t make you feel engaged anymore, neither conversations nor hobbies. You might do it because it is what you are supposed to do —and because otherwise people would get suspicious.
But the truth is that your interests start decreasing until they almost disappear. You want to kill time but don’t know how, and days just get longer and longer. I sleep. A lot. Others get intro alcohol or drugs to boost their senses or get numb.
And one day you find yourself bored to death, wondering what happened to the person you used to be. Deep down you know that something is wrong, and that is when it starts getting really scary.
This is probably the worst of all the side effects of this disease, and all its outcomes —professionally and personally— are devastating.
When it reaches dangerous limits, depression will hold you back from carrying on with your normal life until the point of neglecting your duties and responsibilities.
In my case, I couldn’t get myself out of the bed in the mornings —it just seemed pointless- which led me to miss way too many classes. I wasn’t even able to go to birthday-parties or other kind of social gatherings. I couldn’t find a reason to move on.
I felt the worst human being on earth, and the more down I felt the less I wanted to engage with things. I know it sounds ridiculous, but it is a real trouble. You become fearful of others and guiltiness attacks your reason.
In any case you are responsible for not being able to get up. You are not lazy or irresponsible, but you will torture yourself again and again feeling disappointed for something you can’t even control.
That is why one of the first lessons I had to learn is to treat myself compassionately. Breaking through that circle of negativity is incredibly tough.
Do you know what is a vicious circle? “A situation in which an attempt to resolve one problem creates new problems that lead back to the original situation.”
I can’t count how many times I caught myself thinking “you are worthless,” “nothing of what you do is worth it,” “you should just give up and crawl into your bed.” That is called irrational thinking. Of course, it doesn’t have to make sense.
You are demotivated, bored, exhausted and tired; you feel guilty and frightened; everything you do is wrong and everybody will blame you if they discover it. The light at the end of the tunnel gets smaller and smaller until the point you end up believing you deserve what is happening to you.
It is a terrible feeling, probably the worst I have ever felt. I couldn’t stop thinking and I made up any kind of stories and excuses to believe it. That is why it is so hard to fight this monster, because it uses everything it can despite making sense or not.
I have a recurrent, unjustified disorder. That means it comes and goes for no reason. If you ask me why, I can’t answer: it just happens.
Actually, I was doing incredibly great lately when all of a sudden, I found myself unable to sit down and work, sleeping 13 hours average per day and barely eating. All that after spending months rocking like a pro writer, freelancing and starting a bunch of new projects.
Do you realize how painful it is to look back and have no reason to justify that? And the worst is that I know it will happen again. For me, it is cyclic. I can’t know when it will be back but I now that one day I will find it hanging around the neighborhood again.
What do you do when you face that kind of situation? I work. I work as much as I can during my good times. I give everything to make sure I will have something to hold on to while I am navigating through the storm. And, of course, I find support.
There are thousands, millions of people out there enduring this misery. There are communities dedicated to help and offer support. I do help when I can, because it is necessary. I know depression is something that will stay with me for the rest of my life, but I can’t wait for it to go away to start living my life.
So don’t let it win the war. This, today, is just a battle. It might go better or worse but what really matters is that you tried and that tomorrow you will keep striving. Never give up. Give your 100% each day, even if today’s 100% is just breathing and taking a shower.
You are worth living this life.
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