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The Thick Fog of Depression

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Depression, like a fog that descends in over the sea, starts out slowly. It is still kind of clear; you can see to the other side. Then gradually it becomes thicker and thicker, and you wake up one day and discover you cannot see the other side. It is so thick and heavy; the fog is sitting on every part of your body… as though there are weights. You feel as though you are dragging yourself through.

The loss of sight of the other side starts to suck all hope out of everything you do. Once the hope is gone, your brain starts to turn on you as well. The only things you start to hear are how much of a drain on everyone you are and that you are like the fog in their lives. You are a drag, useless, worthless; if you weren’t in their lives they would have sunshine and rainbows.

In the midst of the fog you start to suffocate. Breathing becomes hard, you start to feel sick in the stomach, a lump develops in your throat, your hand tingles and the thoughts start to race in your mind that you will never see the other side again.

You start trying to frantically clear the fog, but it doesn’t work. The harder you try to push it out of the way, the more your mind starts suffocating you and the harder it is to breathe.

To the outside world you put on the smile because how can you possibly explain that you are drowning in fog? The last thing anyone else needs to hear is about the fog you are living in; you don’t want to burden him or her. You smile so they think you are OK, when really every day the fog gets heavier and the anxiety that you will never see the other side again gets more frantic.

You feel a little like a duck: cool, calm and graceful on the surface. Meanwhile underneath the water where no one can see, your legs are moving faster and faster, but you are getting nowhere. You can’t see which way to turn or even know which way is up, and the more you spin the harder it is to breathe until it feels like you might drown.

The pain of the emotional fog gets harder and harder to endure. If only there was a way for a light to shine its way through the fog — for you to find the edge, for you to hang on. Until then you keep fumbling your way through, trying to drown out the voices screaming at you that you are useless, worthless, unlovable, a failure and will never amount to anything. 

It is scary there in the darkness of the thick, suffocating fog, with all the noise. It hurts, and it is so lonely. But you keep holding on because you don’t want anyone else to feel like this.

Then one day as the fog starts to lighten. You remember how to breathe again, you can see some lights in the far off distance. Maybe, through the fog, you even see a rainbow that gives you hope and the promise of a new day.

The fog, no matter how thick, never lasts forever, and it comes and goes like a ghost in the night. You never know why it came and can’t predict how long it will stay, but if you can hold on, it will pass. It is the holding on in the dark, with the noise, through the loneliness (even in a room full of people) all the while fighting for breath, that is the hardest of all.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255

Image by Sillier Than Sally Designs.

Originally published: October 5, 2016
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