There are many things I’ve come to hate about depression in my 37 years. I hate how it steals joy out of your life, how bone tired you can be from doing the bare minimum and how long it takes for medications to help. But what I hate most is the sneaking. You feel like you’ve been making progress. You feel pretty good, actually. You sing and dance. You eat and enjoy your food. You enjoy your family and work. But depression is always lurking, a deft snake in the grass. I get too confident in my life and abilities then it happens. It’s a seemingly subtle shift, but you notice right away. You feel it. You loathe its presence in your body, the poison in your blood.
You break plans with your friends because you can’t get out of bed. You have to conserve your energy so you can do things like shower (if that’s even possible), brush your teeth and do your hair. You’re forced to take more breaks because your body can’t keep up. The guilt comes; you feel bad for being a different person than when you made plans with your friends or promised a deadline to your boss. You’re starting to realize that it’s only a matter of time before people see you for the fraud you are. You are only capable of naps now and languishing in a familiar pit of despair.
It’s hard to see that things will go back to normal. What, even, is normal at this point? Which part of you is the real you or the depressed you? It feels like it doesn’t matter. Maybe it doesn’t.
Your body starts to hurt, producing aches and pains all over. Your jaw and shoulders stay tense. You grind your teeth. It’s irritability that sometimes accompanies anxiety, depression’s very best friend. And it ain’t pretty. You snap at loved ones, roll your eyes, beep the horn. But you don’t know what you’re mad, not really anyway. You don’t know anything.
Except that you don’t think that you can’t handle another episode, that you’re just not strong enough.
I realize that it will get better. I know that depressive episodes are temporary. But it just makes me a bit sad that happy times are just as temporary as the bad ones, and it always seems like there are double the bad times.
I feel like I know true joy because I’ve experienced real pain. But must it be pain almost all the time?
Can I not catch a fucking break?