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What It's Like to Be Stuck in 'Depression Fog'

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In the past few weeks, as we get well into winter, my depression has taken over my body and mind. I feel like I’m in in some kind of “Body Snatchers” episode or something as I watch myself go through the motions during the day. Everything feels like more effort, and I find myself snapping at the smallest infractions. Then, there’s the deep fog of depression that overwhelms my senses.

The fog of depression feels like a real fog. It feels unreal. It feels like I’m detached from my family, the outside world and myself. I’m floating through a deep, deep fog, and I can’t seem to find my way out of it. The more I try to fight it and think positive thoughts, the deeper into the fog I get, which actually makes it more like quicksand. As I struggle to get out, I’m drug further down. I want out, but I can’t find my escape.

Sometimes, I wish I knew the right branch to grab on to pull myself up out of my depression quicksand, but the truth is I cannot reach it on my own. Inevitably, each branch I grab to pull myself out of this sinking feeling breaks off, as if the weight of my depression is too heavy to bear.

I find myself sitting outside in the cold, shivering and alone, just to try to wake myself up. The feeling of the cold air whipping at my body jars me, but it does little to lift the fog. I’ve tried smoking to relieve some of my anxiety, but I feel the fogginess closing in on me no matter what I do. The medications, though changed and some increased, cannot seem to combat what’s sucking me down into a hole that I don’t know how to escape on my own.

It’s times like these that the people in my life, the few I’ve allowed into this world, are most important. Everything said or done can either lift some of the fog or increase its thickness. Telling me I need to stop thinking negative thoughts only makes me feel worse. I begin to berate myself for being so negative, which I recognize as more negativity, and I sink down further. When reminded of all the blessings in my life, I can recognize all I have, but then, I feel horrible I can’t seem to appreciate it. Compassion, kindness, hugs and empathy seem to help the most.

What I want more than anything is for those who care about me most to know my depression is not their fault. What I need to recognize for myself is that it’s not my fault either. I happened to step into the deep, thick, muddiness of depression, and now, I need to find my way out before I’m in over my head and suffocate from it.

I need to feel something other than sadness, hopelessness and despair again. When the fog overwhelms me, I just need to find a place where I can breathe again, where I can feel alive and not just be alive.

If you, like me, are stuck in the depression fog, then know that so many people out there feel just as you do. Sometimes, all we need to get by until the fog lifts again is the support of someone who knows. At some point, we’ll need to stop struggling and reach for a branch that can lift us up out of the quicksand. Find the person in your life who can hold that branch for you, whether it’s a therapist, a psychiatrist or a trusted friend.

This battle is not one meant to be fought alone, no matter what our brains tell us. If you’re going to fight anything, then let it be the isolation. You, like me, can fight this thing, even when it feels impossible. Even when you see a permanent way out, I know eventually the fog will lift again, and I will see the sunshine. As I stand here in the quicksand, waiting for the right way to escape, I vow not to allow myself to get pulled under.

Will you take that pledge with me?

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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: January 11, 2017
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