Depression is a condition millions of Americans suffer through each day. You probably don’t know who they are. They don’t always stick out. They are your co-workers, your friends, your family members…maybe you. They are the ones that can’t get off the couch but also the ones who never sit down. They are the ones who look so sad all the time, as well as the ones who are always seem so upbeat and happy.
People who are dealing with depression come from every walk of life, every race, every region, every culture. Depression does not discriminate. And it doesn’t take a break during the holidays. It can actually get worse.
Depression is defined as “a mental condition characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, typically also with feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep.”
But what does that actually mean? What does it feel like? Someone I know who has been diagnosed with clinical depression wrote this letter to me to describe how she feels. She allowed me to post it here. The hope is that others will read it and know they aren’t alone. Depression is an isolating mental illness, but it can be overcome.
Need a reminder that you are loved? Read this post I wrote for you.
What Depression Feels Like
I’m sad. All the time. I cry every day. Not all day because there is still dinner to make and laundry to be done and kids who need to go to practice but the tears are always there just beneath the surface.
I’m tired. Bone tired. I’m overwhelmed. I feel overburdened, downtrodden. I keep trying to pull myself out if it like I’ve done all my life. But this fog, this veil of sadness, won’t lift. It lingers. It remains. It covers everything good in my life, like there’s a grey filter being applied.
I’ve done a good job pretending life is the same as always. Pretending I’m OK. Pretending I’m fine. Pretending I’m strong enough to handle anything that comes my way. But I’m not. I don’t feel strong. I feel alone and lonely.
It has been hard for me to talk to anyone lately. I just don’t have the energy anymore. I know I’ve been short. I’ve been rude. I have missed events and skipped out on plans. It’s getting so hard to keep up the pretense that everything is fine, but I need to keep pretending to get through the hour, to get through the day. But not anymore. I can’t pretend anymore. Everything is not fine.
I’m happy/relieved to say the person who wrote this letter got the help that was needed and is doing substantially better. So if you feel like this, if you can relate to this letter, then know you can feel better too. The veil can be lifted. You will smile again. Reach out to anyone you can trust to get the help you need. The sadness doesn’t have to stay forever.