The Mighty Logo

How Depression Is Like an Ink Spill

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Editor's Note

If you’re struggling with self-judgment, check out The Mighty’s No Shame group. It’s a safe space to share how you’re feeling with other people who get it.

Depression is like an ink spill.

It’s is like walking through a place of vivid color. There’s sunshine. Crisp fall leaves of vibrant reds, oranges, yellows.. and all is peaceful and full of subtle beauty.

Suddenly though it’s like someone spilled ink on the pretty picture you’re in — all around the edges, and it’s slowly soaking up toward you from all directions. A spill may be because you’re feeling inadequate. A spill because you weren’t the best wife, mother, friend that day. A spill because Mother’s Day is around the corner and you’ve done nothing about it. A spill because you got the 6-month call to go get your MRI check up. Most of the time though, spills are there for absolutely no reason you can come up with. But they seep in towards you, covering up what’s vivid around you, and it’s completely overwhelming and debilitating.

If that weren’t enough, you begin to realize that it’s only your world, or the piece of paper you’re on, that is being soaked in the ink, and from what you can tell, everyone still sees everything in their pictures just fine.

Everyone else’s world still continues (at least from your eyes). It gets overwhelming as you try to clean up the mess around you. It takes so much time. It feels isolating. It feels heavy and empty and lonely, but you can’t express it. The mess feels completely stupid. It feels like you put it there yourself, yet you don’t 100 percent know how it got there. It just crept in. The why is evasive.

For the people who hide their depression, it’s easily overlooked. Some may not realize they’re drowning in the ink. So many try to pull themselves out without wanting to put on that they’re stuck. Usually because they don’t know how to talk about it. People want to know why you’re feeling the way you feel so they can fix it, but in raw reality, you can’t express the reasons you’re suddenly drowning again.

Every time I hit this rut, I am clueless about how to deal with it. I am clueless about how long it will last. I am clueless how to express that it’s not necessarily because of a situation or something that happened. I am clueless about how to help it.

Every time I hit this rut I feel incredibly stupid. There’s a perception I get of what others must think. Maybe some people just roll their eyes thinking “here she goes again.” Sometimes I wonder if it’s perceived as attention lust, when in reality it’s my way of trying not to isolate. I wonder if people think, “well, goodness, she is so blessed and people show their love to her all the time, so what in the world is her problem?” Or “Why can’t she have more faith. I thought she was strong in faith.”

These are my inaccurate and unfair perceptions, and I think those are reasons I pull away. For people who don’t even put on the front, I can for sure see why. The thing is, the mess takes time. No one can fix it for them. It’s merely a work through it, wake up and feel like you can see again, type of thing, at least for me.

Depression is weird, and it’s not talked about enough. There needs to be a safe place for it. Perhaps this is a vulnerable place to be, but it needs to happen.

getty image by Favor_of_God

Originally published: May 14, 2020
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home