I never know how to talk about depression.
How do I write about depression? Where do I even start?
I try to be fairly open about my struggles with mental and emotional issues. I am a big believer that communication can end stigma. However, it can be really difficult to speak openly about things that some people view as a personal weakness. Due to the nature of my neuro-divergence, I have periods of depression in my life, sometimes several times a year. If ever the subject comes up, I try to laugh it off or change the subject quickly. The truth is, depression is still so misunderstood.
For the past week, I’ve been having a depressive episode. Even though I take an antidepressant mood stabilizing medication daily. Even though I had work and class and other obligations. Even though I have friends who care about me, even though I live with a partner who loves me.
Depression doesn’t care.
For five days, I was unable to do anything besides lay on the couch, drink tea, and stare at the ceiling. Every sound irritated me. I didn’t want anyone to talk to me. I didn’t want anyone to touch me.
My partner glanced at me occasionally with concern from his desk across the living room, but mostly I was home alone with the cat. I ordered in takeout, or didn’t eat. I drank three times more coffee than usual, but my energy level remained in the dirt. I couldn’t move. I didn’t care.
Homework went undone. Dishes went unwashed. Emails went unanswered. I even had to call in sick to work one day.
I felt embarrassed, disappointed in myself, and self-loathing - when I felt anything at all.
I wanted to run away - if I could find the energy to stand up and move my feet.
When I finally fell asleep at night, I was plagued with nightmares.
On Saturday, I felt proud of myself when I mustered up the energy to watch two documentaries on Netflix.
This is the side of depression that can be hard to understand.
It’s a struggle, and every day and every week are different. All we can do is make the decisions that are best for ourselves, try not to feel guilty or bad about our depression, and just keep going. We’re not alone.