These are the things that made me realise I had depression
Was I depressed or just being a bitch?
It’s a Sunday night, and you’ve got that it’s-the-day-before-my-9am feeling. You’re contemplating what the fuck you did at the weekend and wondering how you’re so goddamn tired on your day of “rest”. Then in kicks the realisation that it’s not a Sunday night feeling, it’s an every night feeling. Your mind wonders like a child wandering in a supermarket, walking up and down the aisles before getting completely lost amidst others franticly racing around, going about their daily life.
It’s then that you realise that the tiredness has consumed you and you’re completely lost in your own head. You realise that you didn’t always feel like this, but there’s no telling where it began, and rather, where it will end.
That’s not just what seems like a totally generalised experience, it’s, in as many words, my experience of noticing something was up, or rather, very very down.
You can assume that depression means a few down days to months at a time spent in bed, that it is overwhelming, that it can change an entire person. But until you’ve been through it and experienced it first hand, it’s impossible to even slightly comprehend what’s going on. Even then, you only know how it’s affected you. Because like a fucking huge palm to the face – as much as it’s a shock and really, really hurts – it’s going to be different for everyone that takes the hit.
But from my experience, I can shed some light on how I felt at the lowest of the low, and what it was that made me seek help.
Being tired. All. The. Time.
This is how it began. My alarm would go off, I’d hit snooze like any normal person, but the battle lasted a lot longer than that. 7am or 7pm, there was a consistent cloud over my eyes, and no matter how long I lay in bed, it persisted. Think of it like the morning after a big night out, you’d do anything to stay in bed and avoid the outside world, only I wasn’t having shit loads of fun the night before and I definitely didn’t deserve to feel like that.
Losing all my productivity
Tiredness doesn’t mix well with uni work. You’ve got three exams, it’s your final year and you really need to get your head down, but there’s something in the way. It’s logical to do the same as every other tired student and spend your days monotonously slogging it out in the library but I was severely inconvenienced by a buzz in my brain and the possibility of just breaking down into tears in the library. It happened, a lot.
Feeling lonely, even in the biggest group
Next came the isolation for me. There was a bubble around me everywhere I went, so no one could get close. I had a tenacious cold feeling in your body, constantly reminding me of how lonely I felt. And even if people made the effort to speak to me I thought that no one cared, or that they were judging everything I did, even the way I blinked. It became easier just to not show up at all.
Thinking that things are always too good to be true, and fearing losing everything
Spending an unnatural amount of time alone, I feared losing it all. My friends, my family, my keys, my fucking mind. Nothing felt stable and I literally felt as if I was hanging onto the wobbling edge of every single thing I knew. One wrong step, one wrong word, one wrong look and I feared fucking up and losing it all. So again, it was rational to me to do nothing at all.
Being a horrible, horrible person
Fear made me hate everything. And without knowing, feeling like absolute shit began to permeate through my head into everything I did. My voice was cold, because I felt cold. I lashed out at those I loved most because my emotions were lashing out at me. And even if they weren’t vocalised, I could think the most twisted, disgusting thoughts about others just because I felt the same about myself.
Doubting the authenticity of your depression
On noticing my rudeness, I began to doubt my feelings. I could manage a smile, so I’d wonder whether I was really depressed or whether I’d just exaggerated my low mood and used it as an excuse for being a bit of bitch.
Taking refuge in the most unhealthy habits
Knowing there was a possibility of happiness as few months down the line, my mind wandered into unknown unhealthiness. It comes in all forms: some restrict their diet, take a shit load of drugs, harm themselves. You name it, there’s a million unhealthy coping strategies out there. Whether you recognise it or not – as if the way you are mentally isn’t unhealthy enough – you’re often drawn to destroying your body physically, because it makes you feel better in the short term, and it’s addictive.
Sometimes feeling numb, at other times having complete emotional overload
Then it all came back around. I was cold, I was empty, I didn’t remember how to be happy, or excited, or content. You get some bad essay feedback, you shrink a top in the wash, you forget your bus pass – everything changes. Your heart rushes, your body fills up again, until it feels like it’ll overflow with negative thoughts, anger, pain. There was no equilibrium, ever.
Coming off medication can be the worst thing ever
I got to the point of coming off anti-depressants, but that was far from the positive step it had seemed. Whether it was the shaking, the nauseating side effects (or just the taboo) they can make you feel shit. Coming off them riddled me with thoughts about what would happen next – and whether I could cope.
You can get out the other side
And from experience, I did cope, and you can get out the other side, even if it takes a long time.