Recently several different and totally unrelated events reminded me of what my life was like several years ago when I was in a relatively deep depression. During this time another supervisor at work made a comment regarding a driver who had been off for a while due to depression. The supervisor said, “I just don’t understand depression.”
“I hope you never do,” I replied.
“I just don’t understand why people feel they can’t work when their doctor says they have depression.”
I did try to explain, but quickly realized that there truly are no words or descriptions that would help somebody who has never felt the symptoms to understand.
After one of the situations drew my memories back to that dark time in my life I started trying to think of a way to better illustrate what depression feels like.
Of course it is impossible to truly describe depression for many reasons, the least of which is it is different for everyone.
You find yourself in a dark and dense fog. You do not know where you are … you do not know how you got here. Confusion enshrouds your mind as fear wraps its cold fingers around your soul.
You try and remain calm. You decide to walk out of the suffocating haze, though you are not certain which direction to go.
You ready yourself for your trek, but you find your feet are buried in the mire.
You cannot move.
You struggle, desperate to loosen your feet from their binding … but you cannot break free. Soon you are exhausted. You fall to the ground … flaccid … helpless.
You wonder why you are the one who is stuck. You wonder why you are alone.
You begin to wonder if anyone realizes you are missing. You begin to wonder if anyone truly cares. You become angry … but you do not know what you are angry at.
Trepidation fills your mind. You want to cry out for help, but you fear what may be deeper in the fog. You are certain you will never escape … you’ll never be found.
You give up.
As you lie on the cold, dank ground you try to remember when there was no haze. You want to cry, but you don’t have the energy to shed tears. You just want it all to be over.
You may be lucky enough to have someone who wants to help, but it is possible they will not find you … it is likely they don’t know how.
There will be many that do not understand your situation. They are apt to think that you are truly not stuck … that you entered the haze because you wanted to.
I pray you are one of the few who emerge from the fog with very little trauma … but even then you will always see the mist hovering on the horizon. When the wind shifts layers of fog waft over you … it wraps you in its cold embrace to remind you how helpless you truly are. It never truly goes away.
If you have read this and have never suffered from depression let me assure it is not completely accurate. It is neither dark nor empty enough to truly represent how deep you may be buried. It is also far too coherent. Once the fog swallows you nothing makes sense … even the simplest things become complex and difficult.