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Who I Become When 'Depression Brain' Takes Over

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I said the phrase “depression brain” the other day, and a friend mentioned it tonight. So I wanted to talk about it.

Depression brain, for me, makes me feel like someone different. Someone indignant. Someone disorganized. Someone confused and careless. Someone I wouldn’t trust or want to be around. Someone melancholy and fatigued. Someone erratic and bewildering at times.

Depression brain also makes me a little paranoid. It tries to connect things that don’t need connecting and worry about things that don’t make sense when “logical brain” is driving. I hate admitting this symptom, but it’s a reality for me.

I wonder how many people experience this as well but are too ashamed (like me) to talk about it. This is one reason I start to hide and push people away. I don’t want them to see or understand that I’m “super crazy.”

Depression brain amps up my anxiety to a palpable level where it hurts my bones, and I’m constantly quivering. I can take some medication, but then I’m out of it for the day, which sometimes is OK because these feelings are so unbearable.

I look in the mirror, and I see someone old and enervated. Hardly recognizable. I can’t really pay attention to conversations because I’m exhausted and the mental exercise drains me. So, I stop socializing. Depression brain has hijacked so many moments from my life by keeping me shackled to my bed. I miss my friends.

Some days, I just cry. I spent last week in tears almost all of my waking hours. Depression brain is a jerk like that.

I inadvertently push people away by canceling plans, acting boorish and appearing disinterested in their life. The irony is I miss them and need support during this time, but by the time I’ve gotten to this point, I’m too much to deal with. Too frustrating and tiresome.

I don’t blame people for growing weary of me by this point. I don’t want to spend time with depression brained Meredith. God, she’s the worst. I miss regular Meredith.

Depression brain also likes to whisper in my ear that I’d feel so much better if I used the right drug or had some booze. I know that it’s right, but this would only provide short-term relief with unpredictable side effects. So I go for walks despite my brain telling me it’s too cold or that it’ll be too much effort. I write in defiance of my brain telling me I can’t because it’ll be garbage. I reach out even though depression brain tries to persuade me my friends and family are too frustrated with me and don’t like me much anymore.

Depression brain is addicted to slumber, binging for 14-16 hours sometimes. Jeez! Depression brain also loves to skip work or class, telling me I can’t handle the workload and convincing me I’m not enough to get work done. Depression brain has successfully cost me a handful of jobs and is currently working on sabotaging my academic career. Thanks, depression brain!

Depression brain doesn’t like for me to have close relationships. It must be the jealous type. It will zap my libido and make intimacy arduous and intimidating. It drags up some post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms for some company like little brain party crashers.

I know it goes away, and someday, I will be me again, but this sucks and it is hard. Depression brain takes a lot and gives virtually nothing. All I can do is try and take care of myself. I try to be an advocate for my health while depression brain is in town.

This post originally appeared on Typing Vigorously.

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 Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: December 1, 2016
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