When It Feels Like I'm Drowning in Depression
Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
I don’t know if it is the borderline personality disorder (BPD) or the depression — or the two of them working together to try and pull me into the water. Regardless of the fight left in me, the weight pulls me slowly under the water, before sinking me to the cold, dark bottom.
These are the times I find it hardest to keep going, to keep fighting. These are the times when I question the progress I have made in therapy and wonder why I don’t yet feel better, or if I ever will. These are the times when the smallest of things irritate me, getting under my skin to the point of feeling angry. These are the times when I cry the most, feel the most frustrated and misunderstood. These are the times I wonder if I should fight to cut those boulders off and float to the surface or allow the water to fill my lungs and put my mind and body to a final, peaceful rest. I have clawed my way to the surface more times than I can count and will continue to do so.
For me, these major depressive episodes can come on as quickly as the blink of an eye. They are often triggered by the simplest of things, and last anywhere from a few days to a few months. These are not BPD depression episodes which tend to bounce my emotions around more rapidly, like the lines on a heart monitor. These are feelings of hopelessness and despair compounded with an overwhelming sadness that leaves upon me, an invisible heaviness I can physically feel, yet cannot accurately describe. This depression sucks the life out of me, emotionally and physically leaving a sense of tiredness I can’t control. The simplest tasks like getting up and having a shower or doing the dishes can leave me feeling like I just ran a marathon. The exhaustion of doing something so menial leaves me wanting to crawl back into bed and sleep the day away. And the frustration of this draws me further towards the bottom.
The depression eats away at my desires. It sucks the pleasure out of the few things that once brought me joy, and replaces them with a complete lack of motivation. It feels like there is just no reason and no ability to see more than an hour ahead. Anything further than that feels impossible and pointless. The depression makes my mind foggy and takes away my clarity and focus. It makes something that comes naturally to me — like writing — become a daunting and overwhelming task, as if I have to dig for the words instead of them just flowing. This depth of depression takes away every last ounce of hope I have. It makes the sunshine less bright and the flowers lose their wonder.
This type of major depressive episode has an inner monologue that drowns out any voice of reason. It is louder than and stronger than the positivity in my mind or the therapeutic techniques I have learned to put into practice. It feeds my inner critic with falsehoods so convincing, I have to stop myself from believing them and remember depression is a master liar. It amplifies every negative thought I have ever had in my life. It takes the words from voices of my past, reiterating I am a failure, I am worthless and I am all those things they said, and repeats them over and over like a skipping record. It slowly eats away at my hope replacing it with overwhelmingly realistic scenarios of negativity that are as easy to fall into, like a pit of quicksand. It makes me question my existence, my purpose and if I will ever be able to do anything more than just survive.
However, despite the despair and fear, I remain to fight. Despite the feeling of being constantly weighed down, I continue to fight the war in my head and survive its battle scars. I realize this will not last forever. It will pass just as the other episodes have. I know regardless of the depths of dark, cold water I am pulled into, I will continue to fight so I can take another breath and perhaps each time, I will spend be able to spend a bit more time at the surface.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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Thinkstock photo via Transfuchsian.