Did you know that October 10th of every year has been designated as World Mental Health day? It’s a day dedicated to global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy. And depression is a major mental health issue that millions of people around the world suffer from. According to estimates, there are 350 million people in the world who suffer from depression. That’s 5% of the world’s population. Oh, and also, women are affected more than men when it comes to depression.
But more often than not, mental health issues don’t get the attention they deserve, leading the person suffering from it to endure it in silence, lest they be judged or scoffed at. Depression is insidious, in that you don’t even know when it creeps up on you and makes a home for itself in your head, in your heart, in your body, in your soul. But what does it feel like to be depressed? This question doesn’t have an easy answer. As many people there are in the world who are depressed, there are so many explanations to this question.
One thing is common across all of these people though – it’s not easy; by no stretch of the imagination is it easy. It’s extremely HARD.
Sure, there are physical and emotional symptoms to recognize depression, but not everyone exhibits them, and not everyone who exhibits them is depressed. See how complicated and difficult it is to recognize a person who is depressed, and then help them get the help they need? Sometimes, it so happens that you, yourself, might not know that you’re depressed. Whether or not you have been diagnosed professionally that you’re depressed, it can be very scary to experience the myriad of emotions, thoughts, and feelings that are caused by depression.
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And one of the things that depressed people tend to do is keep the fact that they are not feeling like themselves hidden. Because you see, they don’t want to make their family and friends uncomfortable with negative talk, their suicidal thoughts, or even how numb they feel. However, having a strong support system can actually help cope with your depression.
Know this: You are NOT alone. You may be depressed, but it is common enough that there are many resources out there that can successfully help you come out on the other side in one piece. All you have to do is reach out to someone – your family, friends, counselor – anyone to help you figure out how to get out of the metaphorical sinkhole you find yourself in, and feel better.
If you’re struggling with unexplained feelings of sadness, inexplicable bouts of crying, loss of appetite or overeating, problems sleeping – insomnia or too much sleeping, or any of the numerous other symptoms of depression, it’s time to get help. Your struggle is REAL, and you CAN get better.
If you still don’t know how to articulate your feelings and emotions, go through these following statements, and see if you relate to them.
1. When you’re depressed, life seems too long.
Frankly, it seems endless. Sure, there’s work, family, friends, and all that it entails to keep you busy and occupied. But it can’t take away how you really feel. It still hurts, and the endlessness of it all takes a toll.
2. Depression is like drowning, but not being able to die.
There’s this near-constant feeling of being smothered, only you don’t get to die in the end, like you’d expect to.
3. I know I need help, I just don’t want it.
You recognize that what you’re feeling isn’t normal, or healthy even, but you just can’t seem to give a damn about getting help. The biggest question in your head is: What’s the bloody point of it all?
4. I just wish you knew how difficult it is to get out of bed and act happy for the day, when all you want to do is crumble and break down in tears.
Or wish you’d never gotten out of bed at all. Or rather never woken up at all.
5. I’ve never been the most important thing to anybody; not even myself. – Ranata Suzuki
When you look in the mirror, you can’t quite meet your own eyes, lest you start questioning what you’re doing up anyway.
6. Have you ever cried because you are… YOU?
Countless times. But you can’t really change who you are in essence, can you?
7. Sleep just isn’t sleep anymore, it’s an escape.
From who you are, your feelings, your emotions, your thoughts, what you’ve become, from the world itself.
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8. Some days are just… HARD.
You have no idea how hard it can be – just to wake up, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, go to work – all of these seem like rolling a boulder up a hill like Sisyphus.
9. Bear with me while I plaster on a fake smile and plough through this one more time.
I’m fine, I’m okay, I’m doing good, I’m great! NOT! You have no idea of the huge ball of frustration, anxiety, fear, and confusion that you carry within yourself.
10. Depression is living in a body that fights to survive with a mind that tries to die.
For someone who values their mind above all else, this can be seriously debilitating; downright frightening even.
11. I am good for a while. I’ll talk more, laugh more, sleep and eat normally. But then something happens, like a switch turns off somewhere, and all I am left with is the darkness of my mind.
You don’t really know why you’re doing what you’re doing. In fact, you don’t really care. You just want the feeling to go away, but guess what, it’s here to stay.
12. That moment when you burst into tears in your room and you realize that no one knows how unhappy you are.
You don’t need a reason to start crying; it just happens. No trigger necessary for your eyes to well up. Crying alone is sad, but not being able to express why you’re crying? That’s what it’s like to be depressed.
13. “Worthless,” “not good enough,” “hopeless” repeat in her mind as she holds on to what’s left of her.
You have no idea why she feels worthless, not good enough, or hopeless, when you look at her, but neither does she; not really. But the truth is, she does feel like that. Pretty much all the time.
14. It’s like you’re screaming, and no one can hear.
Your insides are constantly churning, your thoughts going a hundred miles a second, your screams are deafening, but no one can hear them.
15. I’m tired of trying and sick of crying. I know I’ve been smiling, but I’m dying a slow, painful death inside.
You put on a fake smile and go through the day, because that’s what is ‘expected’ of you. Because that’s the ‘right’ thing to do. Because that’s what you must do to survive. But surviving isn’t living, is it?
16. Pretending to be ‘normal,’ doing your best to act like you’re okay… day after day, week after week, month after month… it’s just so EXHAUSTING.
You have no idea how exhausting it is to pretend to be happy and come across like everything is hunky dory, when you’re screaming your lungs out inside, while pasting on a smile outside, for that is what is ‘expected’ of you.
17. It’s hard to wake up from a nightmare if you aren’t even asleep.
How do you wake up from a nightmare you’re living – every second of every day?
18. I hate it when people tell me to ‘just be happy.’ So you think I chose to ‘just be depressed’?
Depression, unlike happiness, isn’t a choice. You don’t choose to be depressed; it could strike anyone, at any time. There are no concrete reasons for being depressed.
19. I lost myself somewhere in the darkness.
Trying to wade through the murky darkness when you don’t even see a flicker of light to illuminate your way, is extremely difficult. Don’t judge if someone says they’re depressed; be there for them – in whatever capacity you can.
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20. It’s scary what a smile can hide.
You thought a smile indicates happiness, joy, and even ecstasy? No, that’s not what a smile indicates. It hides a churning mind, a screaming and numb inside, a heart that feels too much. You will never see a smile again and take it for granted, if you’ve been on the other side of that too-bright smile.
What does it feel like to be depressed? These above statements should have given you a pretty clear picture, no?