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Depression, the Unwelcome Familiar Guest

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It’s been knocking louder than usual at the door the last three weeks or so. Some days I’ve managed to avoid answering it — to ignore the all-too-familiar visitor, but the incessant light rapping at the door still persists nonetheless. Depression is a tricky bastard like that. Just when you think you’re in the clear, that you’ve progressed to the point of not battling with it on a daily basis, it pays you an unexpected visit. I know I’ll never fully be out of the woods, so to speak. I have clinical depression — it will visit whenever it damn well pleases, and there’s not too much I can do but try to ward off the unwanted guest for as long as I can and hope when it breaks in (or I get too tired of the knocking and let it in), it doesn’t stay too long. We have a lot of history to reminisce on, depression and I, and the conversation sometimes becomes too comfortable and familiar. I try to tell myself it won’t stay long and its visit won’t be as intense as it used to be, but it has a way of deceiving you into believing its visits will be like they were years before. Its best friend, anxiety, who is always present, helps out by pulling you into thinking about all the worst-case scenarios you could possibly dream of.

It won’t seem to go away, and its presence seems to be more intense than it’s been in quite some time. I feel it sinking in deeper and deeper, and I feel angry and annoyed at everything. Why must it pick the most inopportune time to come say hello? I have about a month left of school, and I should be excited and proud of myself for everything I’ve gone through to achieve this huge accomplishment. I should be finishing out the semester strong, but instead here I am, drinking a glass of wine while lacking the willpower to stop stuffing my face with Cheez-Its (hey, it’s the same as wine and cheese right?). I have no energy to work on homework or do anything for that matter. I see so much I have to do in the next few weeks, and I am frozen with anxiety because I don’t feel I can do it (or do it well), despite my track record that proves otherwise. I need to get ahead and get shit done because I have a lot to do (maybe not “a lot” for a majority of people, but for me it seems overwhelming, like it always does). Instead, depression has decided it wanted to barge in, disrupt my progress, and mingle like old times. I quite simply don’t have the energy to fight it off any longer. If it wants to visit, I might as well make myself comfortable.

I’m riddled with anxiety, not just because I see numerous tasks before me I must complete and am unable to get started on but also because I know I must simultaneously fight the anxiety and depression off, which makes the large job into a seemingly impossible task. To add fuel to the fire, I feel as though my body is falling apart. I’ve had stomach issues for much of the week, my body aches, and everything on me is heavy. I’m so utterly exhausted. When you have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and worry about getting sick, these physical symptoms make life a living hell, as you are constantly obsessing about whether or not the runs you just had or the aches you have mean you are sick with the stomach flu. If you are sick, how are you going to get anything done or go to class? Others may recognize these symptoms as just physical manifestations of the depression and anxiety, but while I can consciously acknowledge this may be the case, being sick seems like the safer, yet much scarier conclusion.

I don’t know what the solution is except to ride it out, try to persevere despite the visitor that is crushing me, and hope the visit is over soon. Hopefully it hasn’t rendered me completely hopeless, so I can enjoy this exciting time ahead. For now, I will curl up with tears and stomach pain, and pour it some wine so we can reminisce.

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Thinkstock photo by Zhenikeyev

Originally published: November 21, 2016
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