What It's Like to Socialize During a Depressive Episode
You were probably eager to go out, to see your family and friends; but now, you feel painfully, unceasingly numb. The numbness you feel may envelop your entire being, swallowing you as you attempt to feel any glimmer of excitement, enthusiasm or hope for the day ahead.
Instead, you may feel nothing, even as you tepidly wish to feel your heart fluttering with excitement at the prospect of finally seeing your loved ones. You may linger in bed, feeling exhaustion overwhelm every muscle as you fruitlessly long to sleep for an eternity. You may remain in a bleary-eyed daze of indifference to the world around you, feeling the minutes slowly tick by as you tiredly gaze at the bland walls of your bedroom. You may feel no motivation to begin your day, to leave the house or to see your loved ones, even though deep in your heart, you long to remain by their side.
After a lengthy internal battle, you may arise, trudging to the sink to wash your face, curl your hair and put on your makeup. You may discover that you no longer recognize yourself as you smooth your curls and apply your makeup out of a sense of obligation. Your appearance may feel reminiscent of a happier time, a time when effort felt effortless, a time when you were capable of feeling. As you stand in front of the mirror in an uncomfortable outfit you struggle to embrace, you may fully discover the seemingly bottomless depths of your numbness, hoping that at any minute you will feel excited to leave the house but knowing in your heart that your depression has caught you in its grips, detaching you from your deeply held desire to live your life to the fullest.
You may attempt to convince yourself that your decision to leave the house will be worthy of your time, that you will eventually come to enjoy yourself in the presence of your loved ones, but your vehement persuasion is not powerful enough to combat your depression. You may resolve to not let on that you are waging an internal war, fighting your unfeeling exhaustion with cheerful exuberance, smiling and hugging your way through a throng of gregarious family members.
Only you know the truth behind your exuberant facade. Your smiles, your “hellos” and your hugs may feel forced as you attempt to conceal your wavering desire to socialize. You may eventually find yourself standing alone in a corner, wondering why you cannot seem to enjoy yourself the way you hoped to and wishing your loved ones could know that you love them and are thankful to be with them, even as you may feel yourself blurring into someone you no longer recognize.
You may discover that your depression is the culprit, the driving force behind your hesitance to socialize and embrace the festivities surrounding you. You recall your excitement just days prior and wish you could transport yourself back to the happiness, back to the joy, back to the time when numbness was not an integral piece of your emotional repertoire.
You may begin to feel a spark of hope swell within you, even as you stand alone and feign happiness. You may remember that days, weeks or months earlier, you may have been capable of feeling, of truly experiencing the depth and range of your emotions. You know deep in your heart that you may not feel this numb forever, and your struggle to feel completely sentient may slowly dissipate as you gradually climb out of your engulfing depressive episode. The warmth of the hope you feel may course through your body, providing you comfort in your most difficult moment, and you may persist through your depression believing that maybe the next time you go out you may truly feel the life and love surrounding you.
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