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When Depression Makes Your Bed Your Refuge

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My eyes feel cemented shut, my eyelids weighed down by concrete blocks. This bed is my refuge. These blankets are my shield from the outside world, from life. Yet they do very little to warm me from the painful chills of existence. The hurt is inescapable in waking hours. Sleep is my only true solace, a temporary reprieve in which I immerse myself with the silent desperation of one who has lost their will to live. I can’t recall the last time I smiled genuinely or didn’t force a laugh. The flesh on my cheeks has become dry and flaky from the tears that pour out in salty torrents. This is not melodrama. This is my reality. The ineffable misery that has loathsomely become routine. Words are futile communicators of this deep, endless ache.

I know I should get out of bed, at least for a bit, but I can’t. I can’t seem to find a point, not an iota of motivation. Everything that once brought me joy, or even contentment, has been robbed from me by an unseen thief residing in my mind’s dankest corner. Merely lifting off the covers has become an Olympian feat. Responding to text messages exhausts me. Personal hygiene has been shelved and forgotten.

People say “Exercise more! Eat healthy!” How am I supposed to work out when getting myself to the toilet is a grueling task? When pouring a glass of water to swallow my pills feels like running a marathon on the hottest day in August? How am I supposed to eat healthy when all food tastes like ash and I can barely get out of bed, let alone go to the crowded grocery store where strangers too can see how worthless a human being I’ve become?

Sometimes I’ll put on a funny TV show hoping to distract myself from my sadness, but I always end up feeling worse off because I don’t laugh when I know I normally would. My once technicolor world has faded out to, not even black and white, but monochrome shades of grey that bleed into a dull haze. It feels like this depression will never relent. The light that once shone from the tunnel’s end has receded to a pinprick before being totally extinguished.

Despite my depressive states growing progressively more severe as I age, they do always pass, eventually — usually with the right medication tweak, but sometimes just from the passage of time or a change of seasons. I am blessed to have such a strong network of support surrounding me during these times. I need constant reminders that things will improve because I come to a point where I no longer believe it is possible. Yet, regardless of how permanent these periods seem, they (like everything else in life) are subject to change, and eventually, the dark tunnel’s end shows signs of a faint flicker which slowly, but steadily, expands until I can’t discern the tunnel from the sunlight shining all around me.

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Photo by Jordan Bauer on Unsplash

Originally published: November 3, 2017
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