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The Worst Part of My Clinical Depression

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I have clinical depression. My periodic bouts of depressive episodes are marked by the typical symptoms: apathy, mental fatigue, random crying, aches and pains, a deep sadness, detachment and severe physical fatigue.

That last one is the worst part.

Even if my rational mind can combat the negative stream-of-thought patterns that arise during these periods (ex. “I will never feel happiness again, there’s something wrong with me, it will never get better, nothing matters, it’s all going to fall apart,” etc.), I haven’t been able to combat the physical symptoms, like extreme fatigue. It feels like I haven’t slept in weeks. It doesn’t matter if I went to bed at 6:00 p.m. the night before and slept in until noon. I’m tired. I’m weak. Nothing has helped. I hate that.

It makes it hard to advance in a career, keep friendships, accomplish goals, keep my body healthy and active, stay on top of household needs… the list goes on and on. It’s extremely disheartening to feel so out of control. Things become easily overwhelming because I just don’t have the energy to be able to emotionally handle them. It’s like when you’re overworked and sleep deprived and even spilling the coffee you just made for yourself can make you roll into a ball and sob convulsively. Because it’s just too much. Because you’re just too tired.

When I am in a depressive episode, everything feels this way. Something that energized me and brought me joy the day before does nothing anymore. If you ask me how I am, the only answer I will have for you is, “I’m tired.” Because I am. I am worn out and fatigued, and I have nothing left to give. That, for me, is the worst part of depression. Because I haven’t been able to fix that. I can fight sadness, I can fight irrationality, I can remind myself what’s real and what isn’t. But I haven’t been able to change physical and mental fatigue. It doesn’t matter how strong I am, how hard I work, how brave I can be. It doesn’t go away.

All I can do is ride it out until I am me again. But what about all those wasted days?What about the in-between moments, the mornings when I am not fully able to give my all, no matter how much I prepare for the day or pray or sleep or maintain? What do I do with all those lost days? I mourn them. That’s all you can do. You mourn them, accept them, and move on. You remain grateful for every second you are alive and breathing and have survived. And you keep fighting for your joy, through the fatigue and the hopelessness. You keep fighting for your joy.

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Thinkstock photo by Phyllis Meredith Photography

Originally published: November 16, 2016
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