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When Depression Makes What You Feel at Complete Odds With What You Know

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I feel nothing today, and yet I feel everything.

I know I am a decent person, but today I feel like I’m the most despicable human being ever to have lived.

I know my wife and kids love me, but right now I feel like I’m an onerous burden to them. I feel like an imposition into their otherwise happy and “normal” lives, and that they would be better off without me.

I know I have a successful career that is personally-fulfilling… but I feel like I actually contribute nothing and that everything I’ve ever accomplished is only due to luck.

I know I have friends and relatives who want to help… but it feels like they are fake and distant — that they only say what I want to hear to ease their own guilt and make themselves feel better.

Deep down I know there is hope and that even the darkest night ends with a sunrise… but tonight I feel like I am trapped in a dark oblivion — a cold, shrinking box I can never escape from and from which I will never see light again.

And you know what sucks?

My feelings are winning.

In fact, they win every. Single. Time.

It’s a cruel juxtaposition when what you feel is at complete odds with what you know. When your heart absolutely disagrees with your head. For me, this is one of the most frustrating aspects of depression. It’s like a demon that eases into my body and takes complete control of my feelings. It gradually wraps its icy fingers around my heart and dulls and desensitizes and blackens every thought.

It’s like undergoing an open surgery but the anesthesia isn’t working. You can’t move, you can’t talk, you can hardly even breathe… but you can feel everything.

It’s like watching someone toast to your success while the guy next to you screams insults in your ear, and you absolutely believe him.

But wait… isn’t this the very definition of irrational thinking? When thoughts or actions are in direct conflict with reality or fact? When the monochromatic hues of logic and reason are overpowered by the too-bright colors of illogical emotion? When the voices in your head are yelling so loudly that you can’t hear yourself whispering “this isn’t true,” “this isn’t real,” “please stop”?

Yet, in these moments, to me, there is nothing at all irrational or illogical about these emotions. They are reality to me. And anyone who tells me otherwise is a fool. Don’t remind me of what I know. Don’t tell me I’m overreacting. Don’t try to refocus me on facts. And please… please… don’t discount what I’m feeling as silly or trivial. At some point I’ll probably look back at this moment and say “What was I thinking?”… but today is definitely not that day.

Today, I need you to try and understand. I need you to remind me that whatever I’m thinking or feeling is OK, no matter how at odds with reality it might be. I need you to accept me for who, and what, I am and not make it your personal mission to “fix” me.

Depression has a way of debilitating and deceiving. It twists and distorts and destroys. If you struggle with this paradox between reason and emotion as I do, just know that you’re not alone. Some days are better than others. Some days the tricks and tips learned from therapy do seem to work. But other days just plain suck, and there’s nothing I can do but grit my teeth and try to hold on.

I know there is a reason to hope for all of us… even if on some days we can’t feel it.

And I hope you know it too.

Don’t give up. Don’t give in. Keep fighting…

I know that there is a chance that these thoughts may resonate with, and maybe even help, someone. But I feel like I’ve wasted your time for reading this trite bit of nonsense. I feel like what I’ve struggled to outline here is painfully obvious to everyone but me — and that makes me a fool.

I know, I know, it’s probably not true… but I feel… and that’s the problem.

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

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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Image via Thinkstock

Originally published: January 12, 2017
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