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What a ‘Depressive Episode’ Day Looks Like for Me

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There are flare-ups for people who have arthritis, fibromyalgia and Crohn’s disease. Panic attacks for those with anxiety. People who have depression go through what I call “depressive episodes.” Depressive episodes can last a day, a few days or maybe even a week or more. It is a period of time when the symptoms of depression become so intense they’re debilitating.

I’m currently in a depressive episode. I have no appetite. I don’t sleep more than two to three hours a night, and I only get out of bed to use the bathroom and get something to drink. I can’t shower. Brushing my teeth is a major chore. The television is on, but it doesn’t draw my attention.

My level of interest of absolutely anything is zero. My only social interaction is with my husband and my cat. Appointments and other plans get canceled because I can’t leave the house. Oh and housework? Yeah, that’s funny.

What goes through the mind of someone in a depressive episode? Obviously, it varies depending on the person. Like many, I have anxiety, in addition to depression. There are so many thoughts. They repeat over and over again. They don’t stop. It’s like the ticker at the bottom of the television screen. Instead of the latest headlines, my thoughts and feelings keep scrolling around my mind. I keep a journal and I write when I’m going through tough times.

This is an excerpt from today:

“How am I supposed to go to [social function]? I can’t even leave my bed, let alone leave my house. I don’t want to see anyone or anyone to see me. I’ll be the ugliest one there. My hair looks like shit. I hate my clothes. I can’t talk to people. I have nothing to say. What do I say when someone asks me what I do? ‘I can’t work because I’m too sick to function’?”

It’s so awkward. I’m worthless. I don’t want to be here anymore. Wonder if anyone would notice if I was gone. Or care. Probably not. No one bothers talking to me anymore anyway. I guess I can’t blame them. I don’t have much to say. I’m easily forgotten. I thought I had friends. I think even most of my family forgot about me.

I have no purpose in life anymore. I’m a waste of space. I’m not going to achieve anything. Everything I’ve tried to do has been a failure anyway. What the hell is the point? I won’t have a career, and I doubt I’ll ever have kids if I can’t even function like a normal human being. I have a headache again, probably because I can’t sleep. I’m exhausted. I just want to sleep and never wake up.”

Anxiety, anger and feelings of worthlessness all tangle together and keep rolling down the never-ending spiral staircase. It’s exhausting. It’s frustrating, and as if all of that isn’t enough, eventually, there comes an overwhelming feeling of guilt. I care about my loved ones, and I hate to let them down. I also feel like I’m letting myself down. I panic, I cry and I curl up in a ball in bed. I pray I fall asleep so I can escape the misery.

Most people with depression or any chronic illness hear the phrase, “One day at a time,” quite often. I’m holding onto hope that the next day will be better.

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. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Originally published: September 20, 2016
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