Demonstrating Depression: Living with the Black Dog

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s been a while since I’ve posted on my blog and, whilst I aim to keep my posts informative or critical, I also want to make updates which don’t require as much thought or preparation.

This might just be a one-off post but it’s what I’d like to post today. Fair warning, for those with mental health issues, this may be triggering.

It’s more a stream of consciousness than anything else – virtually unedited and not up to my perfectionist expectations.

But it’s therapeutic to get things out in writing sometimes and I figured it could actually be interesting for people who have never experienced depression before.

If nothing else, I hope the following excerpt provides an insight into what depression can feel like for some people or comfort if you have similar experiences.

It’s a messy hybrid of epistolary (diary) form and first-person narrative written from my perspective during a period when my depression was particularly bad.

As with all mental illness sufferers, I have good days, bad days and ok days. This was a bad day.

‘As I sit here in my room, I feel exhausted and numb – drained of all energy. It’s like my head is too heavy for my neck. It’s an effort to even look up, let alone smile or feign polite conversation.

I’m overwhelmed by two contradictory urges simultaneously. One to sleep forever and one run and scream and shout and escape this place and my mind. The former is stronger and I lay my head to rest.

There are too many possibilities it seems and I’m tired of feeling everything and nothing all at once. There’s too much wrong and too much right in the world that I feel drained and overwhelmed by it.

It’s just easier to sleep isn’t it? Then you don’t have to think about these things.

And that’s not to say that I want to die. I don’t. I never have. I’m passionate about so many things. I want to learn everything, meet everyone, soak in the knowledge and revel in how incredible it all is.

But I also want to sleep and not have to think about my own mortality or whether I’m doing the right thing. Time is ticking and I only have one shot and I’m tired of having that burden weighing on me. I have to get it right.

Writing this, I’m aware of so many familiar thoughts – self-critical and callous – rising to the surface but I don’t have the energy to articulate them fully let alone counter them.

“People don’t care. What will they think? You’re a pathetic attention seeker.”

“Surely, all this is just an excuse for your laziness.”

“How self-centred of you to think that people care about your feelings. They don’t and neither do you about theirs. You aren’t the centre of the universe. It’s called protaganist disease – look it up.”

“People in developing countries manage to cope and they don’t know if they’ll be able to eat or if their loved ones will die of disease from drinking water to stay alive. Why can’t you?”

I feel stale. What’s right? Everyone has their own opinion and perspective on the world but I want to know the right one. Maybe he has it sorted. Maybe she knows what she’s doing. I wish I looked like her.

Oh, I just don’t care.

I’m pathetic and tired and numb and going round and round and round and round in stupid circles again.’

Disclaimer: This is by no means a representation of depression as a whole as symptoms and experiences vary widely. This is purely an individual perspective.




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