A lot of the time, people say, “I’m depressed,” when they really mean, “I’m sad.” Depression isn’t a tearful sobbing widow at her husband’s funeral but a heavy emptiness crushing the life out of daily living. It is not a downcast face, no, it is a laughing face, a laughing face that “hides eyes that cannot cry.” That is why some of the funniest comedians are the most miserable. What does it say about us, that misery makes us mirthful?
Depression isn’t a dark cloud obscuring the sun, it makes you hide from the light. Depression is not hatred of people, it is just that interacting with them is so tiring that you lock them out, shut your curtains as you promise yourself to let them in tomorrow. You find yourself wondering when the day will pass into night and then you wonder when the sun’s fiery tendrils will chase the night away, never realising that years are passing you by. So you sit, not knowing what you’re waiting for and try to dream about a better tomorrow, a tomorrow invisible through the impenetrable darkness.
Food loses its taste, pleasure offers fleeting respite and even laughing leaves you emptier than before. Yet, desperate to glean some semblance of a worthwhile existence, you wolf down meal after tasteless meal, licking your lips before chasing another diminishing pleasure with your empty laughter ringing out loud. Then the friends you shut out yesterday knock on your door. Fighting the urge to shut them out again, you let them in. Of course their attempts to cheer you up just tire you out and so do their suggestions.
You’re filled with euphoria as you lock your door behind the last one to leave. Yes, you will do something. Their deluge of suggestions and pep talks, meant to motivate, has served only to amplify a nagging whispering feeling deep within you. For some time, you’ve been wondering why you should go on, if your life is worth the effort and if you shouldn’t end it all. Your friends have tried to inject you with motivation but all you are left with is a feeling of increased worthlessness. Surprisingly, you are euphoric.
You are excited because you’ve convinced yourself that you are not worthless. You have found a way to dispel the palpable darkness that engulfs you. You have finally found a way to live a full life and have made plans. You’re no charity case and even if you are, it stops now! You can see yourself climbing to those dizzying exciting heights. Yes, you’re better than this! Sleep comes difficult because you can hardly wait, but it comes in the end and so does the morning. With its emptiness. Your curtains stay shut and you lie in bed, tired. How long before the darkness swallows the sun, you wonder. How long before the darkness consumes you? That nagging whisper grows louder. That is depression.
For all its overflowing emptiness, depression is not invincible. It has and can be defeated. With a little help. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/