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What Depression Actually Looks Like

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For me, this is what depression looks like:

Eating three-day-old pizza because while you don’t really want to eat, you already wasted your money on takeout, so you kind of have to. It’s staring at the avalanche of tissues and scribbled pages and oily boxes and wondering when you let yourself slip so low. It’s sleeping in to the very last moment you can before getting up and forcing yourself to go to work, because you need to pay rent and you need to feed your cat and you need to be a functional human being.

Maybe if you go, you’ll kickstart your brain into being “normal” again.

Depression looks like soap scum on your shower curtain, because you didn’t clean it last week like you’d planned to, and you haven’t been in there since. It looks like the pieces of rubbish on your floor that you walk over every day and never bother to pick up, even though tell yourself you should every time you nearly slip on them in your socks. It looks like the spider webs joining together the dry, dead leaves of your Japanese peace lily that you haven’t watered for four months. You haven’t taken the plant to the dump yet because it’s there to remind you that you can’t take care of anything, even yourself.

Depression is 18 mugs in your sink — some growing cultures of bacteria, some hosting bundles of spores — because you have the strength to fill the sink with water, but not the strength to actually wash the mugs in it. It’s stagnant and it stinks, and every once in awhile you drain it to try again. Depression is a filthy fridge, because you try to have healthy food in there to eat, and then forget what eating is for and it rots.

Depression isn’t pretty. Depression isn’t inspiring. Depression isn’t aspirational. Depression is heavy and tiring and seemingly endless. Depression does not make you a better artist or a better writer, it doesn’t give you “cred” or an “in.” It doesn’t guarantee your immortality or that your work will be seen. It is such a dangerous stereotype to put on people seeking to express themselves creatively, and it really needs to stop. The stigma needs to be broken around those people who struggle with their mental health, and the underbelly needs to be turned to the light. People fighting depression are warriors. They are much stronger than anyone thinks they are. But even they wouldn’t wish this feeling on anyone, not a single human being.

Depression shouldn’t be seen as a stepping stone to becoming stronger. It is an obstacle, it is harmful and it is hurtful. It’s a road that some people accidentally veer to.

I have depression. I have anxiety. I have borderline personality disorder (BPD) and I am not ashamed to admit it. But I will not hide behind the shiny false masks of how it makes me a more creative individual, and I will not stand for people using it as a trend piece.

Follow this journey on Val Prozorova Writer.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via eranicle.

Originally published: July 12, 2017
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