Depression, “Now With Even Worse Feelings”

In case you haven’t read this blog for too long, I’ve struggled with depression since 8th grade. The difference is it’s never felt this intense. I’ve wanted to kill myself, and thought about cutting myself but recently I’ve been overcome with feelings that I have never felt with such intensity. I am feeling more these days and it feels like my body is paying me back for not feeling my depression when I had it the worst.

A week ago I experienced a few days when biking to work was one of the most arduous tasks I’ve completed in years. The energy, mental and physical, that I had to put into every pedal stroke felt overwhelming. Going up subtle inclines felt like climbing a mountain. Another day I spent over an hour trying to get myself out of bed. When I did my whole body felt unbelievably heavy to move. I had a difficult time doing basic tasks like showering and shaving.

Last Thursday was the peak, I felt feeling I had rarely felt before. I blew of two friend’s that I had plans to see and was mentally incapable of responding to any of their communications. I got calls and texts but the task of responding even to worried texts was inconceivably difficult. Despite how much I wanted to reassure them and even just text a roommate “yes you can borrow my car” I couldn’t. A friend invited me to eat dinner and I when I realized I had no desire to see her I frowned.

Before depression I felt like a constant self doubt and feeling of worthlessness. This depression was a feeling that everything was a burden. The feeling is hard to explain and ever harder to grasp.

Luckily my friend, Red Beard, caught me in the middle of my isolating and made me explain myself. I deflected at first and then saw he was demanding a real answer. I felt too much, I couldn’t even find the words at first. I had to look at the ground and not think about what I was saying to even acknowledge my depression.

I tried to explain the feeling to him. It was as though everything around me were depression. Even the air I sat in was depression. Almost as though air was replaced by this thicker heavy gas called depression that made all movement harder, made everything heavier and was truly inescapable.

Why? Good question, but I have no answer. I am unable to even think about why in this fog of depression I can’t even see that far. And thus it becomes impossible to tackle, where do you start when you’ve got no air to breath just a fog of depression gas.

After continuing to talk to Red Beard I began to fathom it. He helped me acknowledge the need to cut myself more slack and take on less responsibilities. This is what I was doing the previous night. I refused every responsibility, even basic obligations of responding to worried friends that you blew off.

Since then I have started taking steps to lessen my responsibilities and to do things that nourish myself. Like a backpacking trip I had been putting off for months, like alone time and hanging out by the river and watching trains go by. I also realize the importance of my daily routine that I structured in such a way to prevent depression from stopping me like it had. I realized and finally acknowledged that I do have depression and it is a disease.

Last weekend I finally went backpacking. It was unbelievably refreshing. Yet the the first morning in the woods I was attacked by depression and after eating breakfast I became unable to move and crawled back into my tent. It felt horrible but I fought it off. Depression is a disease and even taking all the medicine you need won’t make it go away. I came home, told friends and plan on continuing to be open about my depression and thoughts generally.

I’ve also been playing around with how to put a visual to the feeling of depression. Here is my first attempt.

This piece is called "345 lbs" and is an attempt to make depression visible to those who have never experienced it. It says "Depression is a disease." 345 times.(click on the picture twice to make it larger)

This piece is called “345 lbs” and is an attempt to make depression visible to those who have never experienced it. It says “Depression is a disease.” 345 times.(click on the picture twice to make it larger)

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