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The Depression Pendulum That Swings Back and Forth

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From the outside, you would never understand it. The happenings within.

It is as if all the worlds an ocean, and you, at the center, cannot swim to land. Land is nowhere, everywhere, and no where all over again. You swim forward, but those waves are relentless. No matter how far forward you go they pull you back, effortlessly. And sometimes, you just spread out your arms and let those waves thrust under and around you.

I was nine when I was first diagnosed with depression. After hospital stays for my physical health and being on the side-lines of the soap opera that was my parent’s divorce, suffice to say, depression was pretty much expected. Here is the thing, something like depression never really goes away. Even that brought about by circumstances, it lingers. It is a relentless wave. It is unforgiving. Its all-consuming. Life moved on and I’m not nine anymore. But my depression is real. It’s never truly left.

I can’t write about what percentage of the world suffers from depression because I just don’t know. I would be lying if I said I knew, but I think for the most part, a solid portion of the world knows what it feels like. Those who do not, well, consider yourselves the lucky ones.
So let me break it down for you.

Depression is not sadness. Its emotional paraplegia. It’s an emptiness and a numbness that consumes every bit of who you are. Everything you do. Everywhere you go. It suffocates you and no matter what you do or where you go and how good you feel at that particular moment, there is always a part of your brain that keeps the “depression switch” on. You cannot run from it.

But you can face it.

Depression is the ultimate pendulum, swinging back and forth.

Nothing feels like everything, and everything is too much. Too much sadness, too much anxiety, restlessness, exhaustion, too much lack of motivation, too much empathy for others and truthfully not enough empathy for yourself. It’s not being able to (and I say being able to, because trust me you do want to) get out of bed. Have a shower. Brush your teeth. Move your body. In the darkest clutch of some of my most depressive states, I once went three days without brushing my teeth until the point came where my concern for the fact that my teeth may just fall out of my mouth, by some miracle, outweighed my brain’s paralytic convictions (Side note: depression seems to outweigh logic in most cases. Yes, I know my teeth will not actually fall out of my mouth but try telling my depressed brain that).

The hardest part of the depression paraplegia is how it feels. This is what I mean by the pendulum.

On the one side of it is nothing, and on the other is everything. And in between that is you, just trying to hang on.

I wish my brain didn’t go to dark places and that my mind could rest on its own without the help of medication. I wish I didn’t feel incapable of being loved and have such a deep love/hate relationship with my solitude.

Despite everything, my depressed brain has given me a new perspective on things. On my friends, on life, on art and has shown me that being vulnerable and facing your feelings head on is the only attainable success that come from it. Every day is hard, but I’m here.

I’m here.

Photo credit: Images

Originally published: July 29, 2021
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