The Face of My Depression

Fair warning, this is not a pretty piece of prose. My head is a hot mess right now, and it’s a miracle that I was able to put this together. I am posting it as is because the psych major in me has always been fascinated by my own mental health issues and for once in my life, I am somewhat able to document it. More on that later. Why am I making it public? Because maybe someone out there would be interested in conversation, or maybe they’re thinking the same thing and they want to know if anyone else knows what it’s like. This is my fleeting moment of “sobriety”. I’m clearheaded enough to know that talking about this is important. Lucid enough to understand and feel some kind of empathy with others who might be going through what I go through.

I’m not posting this because I want anyone to feel bad for me. On the contrary, I don’t really think I’m worth the effort at the moment so anyone trying to say otherwise is probably wasting their time and I’ll just look at you funny. That’s just where I am at. Cry someone else a river, they deserve it more.

Also, trigger warning, I do talk about suicide. I do it in a pretty blasé manner. If that disturbs you, please go read something else.

Now on to the shit show…

This is the face of my depression:

  • 12+ hours of silence
  • Overeating
  • Not eating for days
  • Not sleeping
  • Laying in bed with little to no motivation
  • Avoidance of any and all face to face interaction
  • Doing anything and everything to make myself cry
  • Hours of self-hatred because I am apparently a robot and can’t cry
  • More hours of self-hatred for being such an emotional mess about being a robot
  • Rinse and repeat, usually as many at the same time as possible for maximum effort

I don’t waste my time with suicidal thoughts. Well, not too much time. I have a pretty creative list, and I have worked on it for years so there is not much I feel I have to add to it. And yeah, I think, or thought, about killing myself. But I have lasted 29 years, and I don’t like to do anything half way so since I already decided to stay alive, it is not easy to just let that decision go. God and my faith aside, my stubbornness is one of the reasons I’m still here. Plus, I don’t like making people feel bad and, as strange as it is to admit, people care about me. I do know why during the good times. Sometimes, I can even try and believe it during the bad times (today is not one of them).

I call the bad times “gray days”. Days so dark, I pretend I’m a little kid again with my brother at the pool or river and we compete to see who can hold their breath under water the longest. I can hold mine for almost 2 minutes before I see dots and my pesky survival instincts kick in. I’ve got some pretty badass lungs.

It’s not easy to love myself although I work at it every day, but it is so simple to hate. I hate how I can be mute for hours on end even when all I want to do is scream. I hate that my friends try and reach out, all the while I very simply force more distance between us. I hate how I cannot seem to connect with my emotions, how I question my very existence. I hate how sometimes I just start crying, but the moment I realize what’s happening, my eyes dry and whatever emotion causing the tear is gone again. I hate the numbness. I hate how I don’t care about myself as much. I’ll notice my hunger, but why waste energy on food? What’s the point? Or I’ll just want a snack, but an entire large pizza later I’m overstuffed and hurting. I hate that I don’t respect any of my limits. I hate how I don’t respect myself. I hate that I can list every proper, healthy coping mechanism that I worked on with my therapist and willfully decide not to use a single one. Because why fucking bother? And I hate that, that question is the one I constantly ask myself: why fucking bother?

My introversion can usually be a boon, in my eyes. But on gray days? It is the worst curse. My head is loud with voices that aren’t mine, reminding me how worthless I am. Shouting their constant disappointment, disapproval, disgust. My throat closes up, and a pressure on my chest keeps me from anything louder than a whisper when I can actually attempt a whisper. And just when I’m on the cusp of doing something positive or worthwhile, the voices get so loud that I’m overwhelmed to the point of mentally blacking out. Blanking out really. It’s like everything in my head just shuts down and I forget how to move, how to do anything. I guess, thank God for those pesky survival instincts because at least my body never forgets how to breathe.

Image of mental map journal entry
Mental map journal entry

The worst part is that sometimes there is no trigger at all. Usually, it’s some kind of stressor either with work, family, or friends that will cause a gray day. Or hormones. Periods are a bitch. But the darkest days? They come out of no where and since I don’t know what causes them, they can last for what seems like forever. The latest one, the one I’m fighting now, has been happening for 4 days. I’m so tired. And for some reason, I had to try and document it because I’ve never properly done it before. I’ve created a private Twitter account that doesn’t follow anyone or have any followers just so I can divest myself of some of my darker thoughts. I did a mental map journal entry to try and pull myself out of this current episode. Obviously, didn’t work. But this is the first time I’ve somewhat cohesively tried to express what happens, what I’m thinking, when I am deep enough in a gray day.

I know I will unfortunately survive this. I will push through, wake up one morning, and be thankful to be alive and well. I’ll journal about my afterthoughts and feelings, and reach out to the people I love, and all will be right again. I’ve made it this far, and I am not a quitter. But I am also tired, and I hope the sunny days come back soon. If nothing else, I could use the sleep. And it might actually be nice to like myself again.

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