When My Body Is Heavy From the Chains of Depression


Whenever someone asks me how I am, usually the first word out of my mouth is “tired.” Even if I’m not in a depressive episode, the fatigue remains. It’s an emotional and physical exhaustion that’s with me almost every day. My body is heavy. My mind takes a little longer to process things, and I constantly want to take a nap.

When the depression hits, my body gets heavy. Suddenly, moving is the most difficult task I could possibly undertake. I lie on the bed and my body sinks into the mattress, stuck for the next four hours. I want to get up, but I can’t.

My chest gets heavy too. Breathing becomes a little harder. I notice my breaths are just a little bit deeper, just a little bit longer. I’m trying to use my breaths to distract myself from the thoughts going through my mind.

If I can move, then I become tempted to self-harm. I will dig my nails into the palms of my hands. I will bite my lip and tear at the skin with my teeth. My eyes will become drawn to the scissors on my desk. Usually, I resist.

My eyes won’t always fill with tears, but if I’m incapacitated long enough, then I’ll cry. It isn’t always clear if I will be able to stop. Sometimes, my body convulses with sobs. My breathing becomes shallow and erratic. My nose runs and my mouth drools. Alternatively, my eyes silently pour over as I stare at something across the room and sniffle when my nose gets runny.

In public, I’ll suppress myself. I’ll smile, even if my chest is tight. I can’t be bothered to say anything about how I’m feeling except, “I’m just tired.” I will force myself to move, even if it just about kills me to do so. If my eyes water and I’m starting to cry, then I’ll quickly wipe the tears away and say my eyes are stinging or strained from my glasses.

My body becomes a prison. Every now and then, I’m granted furlough and can go out into the world without my body heavy from the chains of depression.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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