So, take a breath. Now imagine you’re trapped in a small glass box. Your ankles and hands are chained to the interior, big and sturdy iron cables. There is no way out. Now the box starts filling with water, slowly at first, but then very, very quickly. You are attempting banging on the glass, yelling in terror, begging for help. You rattle the chains, desperate for anyone to notice. And then, the water is filling your nostrils, your throat. It filters through your teeth and into your lungs. You slip away from the tiny gap between the glass and watery trap. You are submerged. And then, a figure appears. Face up against the glass, staring at you. You try to yell, but the icy fingers are slitting through your skin.
‘Try harder’ the figure laughs, rolling its eyes. ‘You’d be able to get out of it if you weren’t so lazy!’
You struggle against the pressure of beating waves.
‘Just snap out of it! Seriously, if this is an attention thing it’s not going to happen.’
Your vision blurs.
‘Get some fresh air – you’ll feel absolutely fine if you get outside.’
Your lungs implode.
‘Just snap out of it’.
Depression is the water, curling at your toes. But as it gains strength, it rises, up to your hips. Before long you are drowning. And people are just wondering why you aren’t swimming.
For me, the waves start in my belly. Right at the bottom, beating against my sides. Then it creeps up, and intertwines through heartstrings. It tugs and brings my eyes down. It grasps them, and squeezes the emotion out. Before long I am numb and emotionless.
From the outside looking in, it can’t appear a lot of sense. You’re sad, you do something so you’re not sad. Call your friends. Go see a movie. Have a bath. Eat ice cream from the container. And that’s fair enough. Because that’s how you deal with it, right?
But, you see, even getting the energy to reach for your phone can be terrifying. The thought of running a bath, putting a movie on. Well, it can seem like a marathon. And the worst part is, you can’t even see the bit where you feel proud at the finishing line. You just see the painful emptiness overpowering everything else. And you don’t ever see it leaving ever again. So what’s the point in anything?
It’s not sadness. If it was, there wouldn’t be another name for it. Depression is so so far from sadness. And until you understand it, you will never sympathise. So please, please try and understand.
Stay safe and strong my loves.