When Depression Hits at 1 P.M.

On a beautiful afternoon, I am sitting with my best friends, laughing uncontrollably at an inside joke we’ve had for years. We are all finally together, something I really cherish. We don’t get together as a group often anymore now that we’re all at different colleges with hectic schedules and hundreds of miles separating us. I laugh a ton, and I even feel happy. I struggle with depression, but I’ve felt lighter lately; it’s been a nice change from the darkness I usually feel.

Then I feel a shift.

Mid-laugh, my chest starts to feel heavier, and I can’t help but blankly stare at the floor. Suddenly, I feel like my heart is dropping to my stomach like a rock cascading to the bottom of the ocean.

I try to tune back into the conversation, as I realize all of my friends are still joking, telling stories and bursting with laughter. I don’t feel the same as I did five minutes ago.

Five minutes ago, I was so excited to finally be with my friends. I didn’t want the day to end. Now I just want to go to bed and shut off my mind. Suddenly, I’m consumed with worry.

“I should be happy right now! Why aren’t I laughing? Why can’t I just feel normal for once? Is anyone noticing I’ve checked out of the conversation? I knew it would come back. I’ll never be happy.”

And my thoughts spiral.

You see, depression for me isn’t always crying at 2 a.m., restless and unable to sleep. It doesn’t just hit when I’m alone with my thoughts. Sometimes it hits on an enjoyable afternoon amidst a genuine laugh with friends. Everything suddenly feels heavier, and I’m shaken with fear, wondering how long the darkness will last this time.

Depression may be an unwelcome visitor that pops into my life at the most inopportune moments, but I won’t let it stop me. I may let it slow me down, but I’ll never stop. Whether it’s halfway through a laugh at 1 p.m., or at 3 a.m. in the silence of night, depression is daunting. Every day is a battle with mental illness for me, some harder than others, but I intend to fight.

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