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The Symptom of Depression We Need to Talk More About

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Depression — one of the darkest places I have ever been in. It is hard to describe how it feels, but one way is that it feels like a dark cloud comes to settle over you. It consumes everything – thoughts, feelings, motivation. It leaves you so fatigued that all you want to do is stay in bed. It’s not just one bad day, it’s constant and can last for months.

The main feeling often associated with depression is sadness, and this is true. There is often such a deep sense of sadness, not over a particular event or happening, it just is there — it’s such an intense hurt that it’s often felt physically too.

One feeling which is often felt too, but not always spoken about, is the feeling of nothing. Neither happy nor sad, just a total numbness. For me personally, this is often worse than feeling down. To feel nothing can leave you feeling stuck and as if you are watching the world carry on. You don’t feel like yourself but more like a robot going through the motions of life. A smile is never genuine anymore — just done out of politeness and even more painful is you can’t even cry anymore.

All the emotions you should be feeling, aren’t there and aren’t able to be expressed and for me, this is the most suffocating place to be in. It’s at times like this when self-neglect comes in. I won’t eat for long periods of time, just to feel the hunger — to feel something.

Being around people can make the problem worse as while I’ll be there physically, mentally I’m miles away. I can never understand how people can feel things so naturally when I’m struggling to make any kind of connection with anything or anyone around me. Frustration breeds here and that’s why isolation is sometimes easier. It’s easier to be by myself than to try and explain my feelings to those around me.

The worst thing about the numbness is I know it doesn’t last. At some point the emotions will come rushing back —usually like a huge wave and hit me all at once. If I feel sadness, it will be so deep that I want out. If I feel anxious, it’ll be so great that I snap at those around me just because I’m so overwhelmed with my mind.

Though numbness appears to be easier than feeling sad, it’s not. It’s frustrating and devastating.

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Thinkstock photo via berdsigns.

Originally published: September 26, 2017
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