“Every day is so wonderful then suddenly, it’s hard to breathe”… Having suffered from depression since I was twelve, you could say I’ve had some time to ponder how it makes me feel. The thing that I find most difficult, even as someone who is fairly good with words, is trying to get other people to understand how this illness makes you feel. A lot of the time I just give up and say I’m fine when I’m not as it’s just easier than trying to put into words my emotions.
The song beautiful hit a chord with me as it seems to perfectly sum up some of my feelings with lines like “to all your friends you’re delirious, so consumed in all your doom, trying hard to fill the emptiness, the pieces gone, left the puzzle undone”. It really does make you feel like an outsider when those closest to you don’t understand. The worst thing I’ve had said to me, quite a lot actually, is ‘snap out of it’ and ‘why are you low when you have everything going for you?’ People with this illness don’t choose to be like this. I would love to be able to ‘snap out of it’, and if I could I definitely would. But it isn’t that easy. Depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. This means that it doesn’t matter how well your life may be going or how many positive things are happening to you, you can still end up feeling depressed. It’s hurtful when somebody says this, as if you aren’t grateful for the good in your life. Of course there are lots of people worse off than us, but that’s not taken into account with a mental illness.
The other thing is when people say ‘ahh yeah, I’m having a low day too’. It might be just trying to help and be empathetic but it feels like trivialising the illness by suggesting it’s just a low mood and it will be gone soon. As someone who has had this illness for fourteen years, more than half my life, it’s not something that will just go away.
The closest I have ever come to explaining my depression is when I’m not quite there, when I’m ok and then something switches inside me and it’s like a mist comes over everything and I can feel myself on a precipice teetering on the edge about to fall over into the overwhelming darkness depression brings. It’s terrifying. I’ve also felt that I had to get out of the world, like I feel trapped in the atmosphere. It makes you feel crazy.
“Now and then I get insecure from all the pain, I’m so ashamed”. Having been on antidepressants now for several months, these moments happen less and less as the tablets act as a barrier. I didn’t want to go on the medication though as it felt like giving up. I tried them before and felt I could do without them but I couldn’t. My doctor recently said I might need to be on them for the rest of my life. I don’t agree with that. I don’t want to be a bubble wrapped version of myself forever. I hope that in time I will be able to beat the illness without the help of the tablets, but for now, they are keeping my head above water and that’s all I can ask for.