The Sense of Loss That Comes With Depression
Imagine yourself standing in front of an enormous, gushing waterfall. You feel so many overwhelming emotions and have so many thoughts as you listen to the deafening, powerful water crashing down. As you look down to you your feet you are stuck in the cracked and dry earth. As you look around you see nothing… no life, abandoned land and just an endless stretch of oblivion.
Depression is having a constant, deafening and overwhelming pour of emotions and thoughts, yet you feel stuck in this empty, barren void. You cannot move and at the same time of having these overwhelming feelings you are numb and empty; there is no escape from the darkness you are ensnared in. The stronghold of depression tightens its grip every day just a bit so that one day you cannot breathe anymore and you are searching for a permanent escape from this hell. It’s not that you don’t want to live, you just cannot live this way anymore. This illness takes everything from you; to me, even my soul. All that is left is a worthless and hollow version of the person I used to be.
With depression, we carry so much guilt as well. As one of my favorite writers, Robert Frost, puts it: “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.” Responsibilities and daily life still continue. We still need to go to work, care for our family, take care of ourselves, run the necessary errands etc. However, depression kills everything fibre of your being. For days or even weeks, getting out of bed is an enormous mountain to climb. Showering, washing my hair, eating — anything that takes any form of physical effort is being avoided for days or weeks because the task is just too daunting and exhausting. Dreading the question of, “How are you?” It’s the same. The answer is the same, it’s always the same, I’m always the same. I get so angry and feel so incredibly powerless when asked this question because of the fact that my answer doesn’t change means I am not changing. It means since our last conversation I have not done anything differently or changed anything about my circumstances in order to answer you, “Better, thanks.” It makes me feel like such a failure and it’s a constant reminder that I haven’t moved from this dim cage.
When I think back on a time when I wasn’t in the claws of the seesaw ride of bipolar, the fondest memories are that I could do things. It was as big as if I wanted to be an Oscar-winning actress. I was doing the work to get there or as simple as if I wanted to keep myself busy I could do so happily. Depression steals the driving force to do anything away; it makes it all seem like such an effort, just not worth it. Everything I use to enjoy is a distant memory now.
Going out with friends and socializing, being bold and confident to take on any new challenge or adventure, being creative fluently with no breaks of weeks or even months because I simply cannot muster the energy to think out of the box. I feel like a shell of my former self and despite treatment, it doesn’t seem to change. It is such a lonely place to be because when I try to explain to my loved ones what I am going through, it is a never-ending battle. All they see is that I am on medication, I am seeing a therapist and my circumstances are working. Trying to explain the emptiness I experience because I cannot get back to my old self, the struggle I have to find a job yet I desperately want to part of the workforce again, struggling with my marriage because I simply cannot find the happiness I so desperately wish for.
I grieve for myself. I grieve for the life I could have had if it wasn’t for this illness. I grieve for all I have had to give up and lost because the ugly, dark grasp of depression simply won’t let me go.
Getty image by angel_nt