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When Depression Feels Like My Own Personal Invisible Enemy

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Too many people don’t understand how I really feel.  They don’t understand why on some days I’m perfectly fine, and others in tears and self-harming.

So I’m going to explain to you exactly what depression really is.

Imagine a person following you everywhere, all day, every day, whispering to you. He’s invisible, so no one else can see him except for you. He’s always whispering negative things to you. He’s always telling you how stupid you are, how you’re never going to get anywhere in life, that everyone hates you. All he does is whisper, whisper, whisper. You know he’s lying, so you ignore him. But he won’t take no for an answer.

He shouts to you. He gives you such a headache. You have to fight him so hard, fight to lead a happy life, even though he is trying to destroy it. But fighting him is a full-time job. He never leaves you alone. He’s with you wherever you go: in class, on your date, while you’re hanging out with friends, on the bus, in the shower, on the loo.

Fighting him off is so tiring that you spend most of your spare time sleeping, but even then he’s waiting for you when you wake up — waiting to make you even more miserable. You try another approach: making him your friend rather than an enemy, but that doesn’t work. He’s still out to get you. He doesn’t want to be your friend. He wants to be your enemy. And he keeps on reminding you that. He keeps reminding you how much he and everyone else hates you.

Most days you are able to fight him off and keep going. On the outside others will see you as someone perfectly “normal,” but on the inside you’re struggling to contain this person they can’t see.

Some days you’re just too tired, too exhausted to carry on fighting, and that’s when the person lashes out. He does things that drive people away from you. They can’t see him and think it’s you. He says unforgivable things to them, and then that’s it between you and them. The invisible person has won yet again.

You cry yourself to sleep and wake up with renewed energy to fight him off again, but it’s too late, your/his words and actions are already said and done. You can’t take them back. You try to explain to your friends, but they can’t see the person, so they think you’re just making up rubbish, and back away even more. It doesn’t matter that today you are stronger than you were yesterday. The person is already one step ahead of you, making you more and more miserable than ever.

That is what having depression feels like for me. Depression feels like having an invisible person attached to you wherever you go. It’s something  no one else can see except me. So next time I lash out at you or get upset for what seems like no reason, ask yourself if it was really me or was it the monster living inside me?

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

Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: October 9, 2016
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