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Depression Is My 100-Pound Backpack

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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.

Depression feels like a 100-pound backpack to me. It’s like there is a constant weight on my body. Most days it is more than I can bear. I can feel its weight as I turn over in bed. The pressure pushing me down into the mattress. Even with all my willpower, I cannot get up. I start to question myself. Why am I such a failure? Why can’t I get up and go about my day like everyone else? It shouldn’t be this hard. Why can’t I be “normal”? I just want to go back to sleep. I hate my life. Why can’t I just die already? How the hell am I going to make it through the day if waking up is this hard?

I am able to conjure up the strength to sit up with my backpack. Now I have to decide. What do I have enough strength to do? What do I have to do today? Everything feels like more than I can handle. I need to shower and get dressed. This thought completely overwhelms me. Not today, at least not now. I look around my room for clothes. Nothing is clean. What have I only wore once? I feel so useless. I need to do laundry. My backpack feels heavier with every passing negative thought. I sit back down. I’m hungry. I don’t have the strength to cook anything. I’ll just ignore my hunger for now. I have done nothing more than get dressed, yet I feel exhausted. I lay back down. I want to take my backpack off, but I can’t. It is permanently there. More negative thoughts come creeping in.

I’ll look at Facebook to distract my mind. I look for the fun stuff and try to ignore the bad. I want to cry, but I can’t find the tears. I don’t want to think anymore. I shut my eyes and pray to go back to sleep. I wake up again. A few hours have passed. I pull me and my backpack up. I have to eat something. A bagel is easy enough. I remember my laundry. It is not an option, surely I can handle one load. I gather a little of everything and start the washer.

I need to do something therapeutic, so I look for mental health articles online. All of them seem so positive and filled with hope. But I don’t feel it. I feel alone and wonder will I ever feel hopeful again. My backpack is pulling me down now. I collapse into a ball on the couch. I just don’t want to hurt anymore. If I die my family will be in pain. We have already lost both our parents. I’m trapped. I feel so helpless. I don’t know what to do. I bury my face in a pillow and scream “I hate you!” I stomp out to my truck to have a cigarette.

I want to self-harm. I hit the steering wheel. My mind tells me I deserve to hurt. I fight back the urge and go back inside. It’s hopeless, I will never get better. Shit! I haven’t taken my meds yet. For a moment I think, why bother? They aren’t working. I go take them anyway. I put my clothes in the dryer.

I am mentally and physically drained. My backpack feels heavier and I feel like I am going to collapse. I go lay in my bed. I feel numb. I’ve lost all emotions. I don’t have the strength to fight my mind. I lie there and stare blankly at nothing. I shut my eyes and wait to fall asleep.

I am woken by voices in the other room. Ugh! My sister and her family are home. I have to pull myself together. I shift my backpack and force a smile as I go greet them. I focus my attention on the baby. My niece is adorable. After a few minutes, I remember my laundry and take it out of the dryer. I throw it all in a pile in my room. I tell myself I will put it away later. I make small talk with my sister and play with the baby again. She makes me smile genuinely.

Dinner is eaten together. I put the dishes in the dishwasher and watch a little TV. It feels like it’s been a long day. I go back to my room to journal before bed. Today was an OK day, I’ve definitely had it worse. I shouldn’t complain. I’m wide awake because I napped. It’s going to be a long night. Tomorrow we will start again.

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

If you struggle with self-harm and you need support right now, call the crisis hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741. For a list of ways to cope with self-harm urges, click here.

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Thinkstock photo via valzhina.

Originally published: February 22, 2017
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