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What Depression Really Is: The Hidden Realities That Lurk in the Shadows

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Editor's Note

If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741741.

Depression is letting the dishes stack up for a week. Depression is eating a chunk of cheddar cheese and a spoonful of peanut butter for breakfast because you are too unmotivated to prepare food. Depression smells because you haven’t showered in five days. Unanswered emails, unfinished projects, dropped plans, incomplete attempts; depression is abandoning. It is sleepy and cold.

Depression is calling in sick to work with “a headache” even though you want to explain that you have been crying on the bathroom floor all morning, but you don’t. It is ignoring homework, bills, obligations and standards. It is all-consuming and suffocating. Depression is feeling like a failure, a burden, an embarrassment. It is being ashamed, apologetic and hating yourself. Depression is being so deep in the pit of despair that the only way out seems to be ending it all.

Depression is lying in bed for 13 hours and staring at the ceiling fan. It is sleeping too much or not at all. Eating too much or not at all. Depression is losing the will to breathe. It is matted hair, overflowing trash cans, lost jobs and lost friendships. Depression is gained weight, lost weight, low self-esteem and millions of tear drops. It is wanting to sleep for 1,000 years. Depression is lonely. It is skipping dates, not returning phone calls, pushing people away and losing the will to go on.

Depression is feeling hopeless, unlovable, undesirable and not good enough. It is feeling desperate, inadequate, worthless and a waste of space. It is losing hope. It is being alone, scared and so very tired. Depression is losing the desire to see the future and hating the present. Depression is dirty floors, failed tests, overflowing laundry and a nap that lasts all day. It is painful, bleak, heartbreaking and soul-crushing. It is one-word answers and an indifferent shrug.

Depression is ignored, hidden and lied about. It is punished, shamed, frowned upon and ridiculed. Depression is misunderstood as laziness, selfishness and pity-seeking. It is shoved to the side, pushed away and turned away.

Depression is all around. It screams from the painting and shouts from the songs. Depression lurks in diaries and journals, novels and photographs. It runs down cheeks, is whispered on lips but often left to the wind. Depression is in a friend, a coworker, a daughter or an uncle. Depression is a young child. Depression is in the mirror.

Photo by Victorien Ameline on Unsplash

Originally published: January 27, 2019
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