It exists, and it’s a chronic, life-threatening disease.
I hear it’s hard for people to understand what it’s like if they don’t have it. So what does it feel like?
- It feels like you’re waiting for your life to be over. You lie in bed all day, either praying to die or willing yourself to oversleep because it’s the acceptable alternative to suicide, though it’s not like you don’t think about death all the time anyway.
- The passion you had for your most beloved hobbies and activities feels like it’s been sucked straight out of your soul. If you can even remember you once liked engaging in a certain hobby, you then force yourself to do it with the stale hope that your love for it will come back, just as I am forcing myself to continue writing these posts.
- It feels like there is no future, at least not for you. You’ll never get married. You’ll never find work you love. You’ll never feel beautiful and worthy. You’ll never be noteworthy. All the future holds is new opportunities to underachieve/fail again.
- You believe there is no reason to be here. You have no purpose, no self-esteem, no self-confidence, and you’re too damn tired to try and muster some.
It’s not about being ungrateful. You genuinely enjoy the good moments of your life but you can’t help but wonder when they’ll end, which instantly drains some of the joy out then and there.
I’ve had depression for over half my life. All through middle and high school. All through college. Now, when I’m in the prime of my life and should be happy for having finished my first novel, I’m not happy at all. I feel more like a failure than ever. I have little energy, little motivation to do anything, including attend therapy, and no real concept of a healthy future. When we were told in school to imagine ourselves five years from now, I couldn’t do it correctly. I was always amazed I made it through each milestone because I couldn’t imagine myself at 16 or 22, like I now can’t imagine making it to 30. Not really. But inevitably it’ll come…even though I don’t know if I particularly want it to.
Of course, you say, if someone feels this way, he or she should seek help. I agree and I have. I’ve had five therapists over the course of 10 years. What does therapy feel like?
- The positive perspective feels like a lie—like you’re lying to yourself if you dare to be optimistic. Negativity feels like realism, even when you’re aware it’s not. It is, however, a well-worn and unfortunately comfortable path to follow so you’re always in danger of giving in to it.
- You feel like your therapists make a lot of good points, but you’re not sure if you’re strong enough to make the mental changes necessary to save your life. They’re telling you you have to force yourself to change beliefs that are over 20 years old—to change almost everything you think you know about others and about yourself. And it’s not that you don’t want to fight your prejudices or that you’re too scared to change (well, maybe a little), it’s that you might not be as strong as you once thought because you find to be so hard…Maybe you’re not sure you’re worth it.
But somewhere deep inside, part of you hopes you are, so you cling desperately to that hope, as misplaced as it feels, and take a chance and keep on going. You remember that it’s hasn’t always been all bad and that with time there comes change. That means there will be good changes too.
The pain won’t last forever. It can’t. It won’t…
Depression takes all of your strength to battle. Every bit of it, and it makes both warriors and peace-seekers of us all.
God bless those of you struggling with psychological disorders and issues. I’m sorry you feel the way you do. All I can say to you for now—all I can ask from you now—is hold on. Hold on to your hope. Hold on to your life. You are here for a reason, and just because you don’t know what that reason is now doesn’t mean you never will. If you can’t find a reason, make one. I’m making mine: a YA superhero series. Who knows if anything will come of it? But I want to try. I want to try and to try, I have to live. If you want to try, you have to live. Let us borrow each other’s warrior strength and work on our thoughts and our nerves and our faults. Nothing’s ever going to change if we don’t move.
I hope you hear my hope and make it your own. Don’t let this disease win.