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This Is What My Bad Days With Depression 'Look' Like

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This piece was written by Kirsten Corley, author of “But Before You Leave

“You seem a lot happier than me,” he said.

“I have my fair share of bad days, but I don’t show people that,” I replied.

Depression lingers. It isn’t always there. He haunts you like a shadow creeping behind your every move. It’s there to remind you on the best day of your entire life, depression will deliberately make the following day your worst.

Depression is like the lies it tries to get you to believe about your life. It infects every bit of you like a self-fed poison you can’t even control.

So if you ask me what a “bad day” is like, this is what I’ll tell you:

It’s laying in bed unable to sleep as thoughts rush through my mind. Every passing hour, my thoughts get darker and I’m turning into the version of myself I hate. I contemplate life and if I’m living it to the fullest. Questions run through my mind. Do I matter? Do people care? Because when you’re asking pressing questions at 2 a.m., there isn’t a moment you feel lonelier.

And it’s getting late and my eyes hurt from being open, but my brain won’t shut off.

Then finally, exhaustion beats my internal battles and I fall asleep only to wake up moments later. I’m still tired. I’m always tired. And I reach for my phone and another night with four hours of sleep will do.

But I don’t want to get up, I just want to lay there. I question. What’s the point? Am I happy? Do I like who I’m becoming? Do I like my job and my relationships and my family? I tell myself I am a burden to those I love and on a bad day, my depressed mind believes it.

It’s being emotionally exhausted. How do you explain that to someone?

It’s walking into work on a really bad day — and by “bad day” I mean nothing bad has even happened. Sometimes you just wake up and you know it’s going to be one of those days that tests you.

And the kindness of a co-worker is the smallest light that helps me on those days.

It’s the conversation I have with my best friend when I tell him I’m not myself today and something is off. And instead of trying to fix it (because there is nothing someone can say to fix depression), he says “we’ve gotten through the other bad days, this one is no different.”

Depression on a bad day is that moment I break down in private for no reason at all and I feel a sense of guilt for not being stronger or being able to control this thing.

It’s looking at my reflection in the bathroom mirror and hating what I see. It’s questioning who I am. Because depression tells me I’m not great. It tells me I’m not pretty enough. It tells me I won’t succeed. No one cares. And it’s a silent voice that taunts me.

A bad day consists of those moments when I physically can’t move and I just lay there for hours.

It’s disregarding every basic necessity and someone having to ask me, “Did you eat today?” But the truth is on bad days, I forget.

It’s the weight loss people will commend me for or the weight gain they notice immediately. The truth is every bad day or consecutive string of bad days comes in the form of everything unbalanced.

It’s reaching for alcohol to numb my pain even though I know it’ll make it worse and I shouldn’t be drinking on those bad days.

But the truth is depression on a bad day is reaching for anyone of anything that keeps me afloat when it feels like I’m drowning. But at the same time, I don’t want to feel like a burden to my loved ones. Even though they are the ones who keep me going.

It’s the smile, hug and conversation from the guy who has a piece of my heart and on every bad day, he’s what I look forward to.

It’s the time I know I’ll spend with my family soon and even though I don’t say it often, I love them.

It’s the time I’ll spend with friends even though depression tries to convince me I don’t have any.

It’s the want and need to lift others up and make them feel better because that’s what beats a bad day.

It’s every picture I look back at when I’m alone. And everyone always asks me why I take so many pictures in moments where I’m truly happy.

A bad day doesn’t last forever, this I know. But those bad days have a way of testing everything about me. But I know the truth.

I know depression is a liar trying to make me believe these false realities.

And on those bad days, I know it’ll be a battle very few see but it’ll be one I never stop fighting because while the bad days make me feel like everything in my life is horrible, it makes me appreciate every good day even more.

This story was brought to you by Thought Catalog and Quote Catalog.

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Unsplash photo via Allef Vinicius

Originally published: April 6, 2018
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