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9 Things Depression Is (and 4 Things It Is Not)

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1. Depression is a version of yourself.

It’s like your brain trying to talk through a poorly insulated wall to a monkey operating your face, body and senses. You are nearby. It’s kind of you — but not a good you. It’s not a you that you like anyway. It’s a you being operated by a monkey who barely hears what the real you is saying.

2. Depression is long.

Maybe not years, decades or an eternity for some, but while you are depressed, it’s long. Time is tiring.

3. Depression is time.

Counting time, counting down, counting and counting. Counting blocks of time to rest. Counting blocks of time to work. Counting to ensure you have done enough that day before you get back to the safety of your house, bed, favorite chair or sofa.

4. Depression is depressing.

You don’t want to be depressed. You know there is no reason to be depressed. There are third world countries, bigger issues, smaller issues, just issues! Those other issues don’t relieve depression. Depression is enough to feel guilty about without thinking you don’t have a right to be depressed.

5. Depression is guilt and a burden.

To you and to others, at least that’s how you see it.

6. Depression is pointless.

You feel depressed because you are depressed. There is no point or reason, just the feeling of struggle. This will not stop you from trying to figure out why you are depressed 5,000 times a day.

7. Depression is struggle.

The Oxford dictionary defines struggle in many ways, all of which describe depression:

  • Make forceful or violent efforts to get free of restraint or constriction: Frustration, anger and relentless exhaustion are all by-products of trying to break free from depression.
  • Engage in conflict: Conflict is continually engaged in every day, sometimes every second of every day. “I don’t want to feel like this!” “Do I get out of bed?” “I have no energy to go out.” “You are strong. No, wait you are weak!”
  • Have difficulty handling or coping with: Depression has become such a problem to handle. Coping mechanisms include: drinking to forget, drugging to forget (legal and illegal), therapy, sleeping, suicide, sunshine, sex, more sleep, reading, exercising and further sleep.
  • Make one’s way with difficulty: Everything gets more difficult. Brushing your teeth, getting dressed, getting undressed, coffee with friends, work, things I used to love, relationships, friendships, appreciation, gratification.

8. Depression is a hindrance of progress, in anything.

It slows you down and makes you forget what you started, what you just said and what you are about to say. It stops you half way through a task, just because it is that time again.

9. Depression is pain.

Like “Oh my f**king god! When will this pain stop?” It’s annoying and exhausting pain. It’s like when you stub your toe but all day.

What isn’t depression?

1. Depression is not self-pity.

If it’s just a pity, then you would trade lives or go back in time to go back to what was “normal.”

2. Depression is not sadness.

Sadness is after something like a breakup. It tends to be justifiable and limited. Depression is limitless and sporadic. There is no reason.

3. Depression is not dumb and not always numb.

Dumb suggests lack of intelligence. Would you call Winston Churchill unintelligent? Numb suggests no feeling, but f*ck me, do you feel everything!

4. Depression is not always a bad thing:

• Depression can bring families together.
• Depression makes you appreciate being happy.
• Depression makes you smarter and opens your eyes (before shutting them for more sleep).
• Depression makes you a better human. You are able to empathize, be more patient and share more
• Depression creates chances to work on yourself. Think therapy, holidays and rest.

Depression is not infinite. Depression may take work, but you can be free.

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
Originally published: August 4, 2016
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