Have you ever had someone knock on your door, invite themselves in and overstay their welcome? You kind of hint towards them leaving, not really understanding their purpose of being there, but they’ve already set up the TV to their favourite channel and have started eating the entire contents of your fridge. They are they to stay, with or without permission. Metaphorically speaking, this is depression.
Physically speaking, it’s tiring, it’s a constant shadow lurking in the background, a demon on your shoulder – it makes you push away the people closest to you and it takes away the very essence of who you are.
It comes without warning and rattles you to the core. You lose sight of who you are and it nestles comfortably inside your brain – attacking every good memory that aims to make its way in, filling you only with doubt, sadness and the need to curl up into a ball.
If you met me before depression, before anxiety took ahold of me, I was pretty carefree. I’d be out until midnight most nights, or soaking up some vitamin D on the beach. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had bad days, but nothing that catastrophic that made me lose sight of who I actually was.
Sometimes I look at myself in the mirror and hardly recognise the girl that looks back. I am a shadow of my former self, and whilst there are things I want to achieve in life, this gaping black hole that squeezes the life out of me stops that. I’ve done some questionable things whilst in my depressed mind, I’ve said things I haven’t meant, attempted on my own life – depression doesn’t care about your loved ones, your friends you’d leave behind. Your its target and it’s going to attempt anything to take you out.
There is nothing romantic about depression, the books, the films that romanticize it clearly don’t understand the impact – it’s 24/7 battling your brain for control. It’s telling you your worst fears and you believing it.
It’s the brain fog that makes you forget the good times, like feeding a whole street of homeless or in the pouring rain handing out cups of tea. You are a shell of that person now, she is gone.
You start to depersonalise because being in your own head is far too much. Why not just disassociate yourself for a few hours, a few days?
Showering? It seems too much but going to bed for days… easy. You don’t make contact with the outside world and whilst they are wondering you are okay, it’s too much. It’s too overbearing. You push it all away. You are completely alone. It’s worse, much worse, but you can’t deal with it, it’s too tiring.
And then suddenly, finally, eventually, somewhere in the bleak, unfathomably long, black days there is a sun beginning to peak its head out. Its rays start to warm you from the inside and the essence of you starts to come back. Gradually, not all at once… You’ll feel the fog start to lift and you’ll start to remember who you are.
Perhaps it’ll take days, but eventually, you’ll realise you do have control.
The uninvited guest tells you they have somewhere else to be, that they will come and see you again soon, but for now you breathe a sigh of relief.
The uninvited guest waves you a fond farewell and shuts the door.
You’ve made it. They’re gone.
The battle maybe constant, but it’s one we’ll win.