Depression has plagued many of recent. If you struggle with depression, you know that there isn’t an automatic way to fix your mood. But knowing that you’re not alone in what you’re dealing with can often be a big relief.
Sometimes, you’ll find your feelings validated in a poignant song or an incredible book, or catch a piece of your own experience in someone else’s journey. And for some reason, it just makes things seem a little better. Your depression is still there but now, somewhere, you have an emotional soulmate. That’s where these stories come in.
Five brave women were asked to explain what their major depressive episodes really feel like, and the descriptions they shared were raw and unique. Still, there’s probably something about each one that feels a little recognizable and a lot reassuring.
Nothing’s exciting or enjoyable.
When 36-year-old Gina M.s depression was at its worst, she just wanted to stay in bed. Nothing was exciting or enjoyable, says the woman of North Carolina. Going out with friends or interacting with people at work had zero appeal, so shed turn into an actor and push herself to do it anyway.
You have to fake a smile and act like you’re okay when really you’re not, she says. Pretending to be happy made her feel like a phony, and it sucked up every ounce of the energy she felt like she already didn’t have. Sometimes I broke down and sobbed because of how dark everything felt, she adds.
I felt like a rock…
When Jordanna S.‘s depression first hit six years ago, she would still push herself to get out and be social. She’d laugh and play the part of fun friend in group situations. But inside, she felt stone-cold, unhappy, unfulfilled, and unaccomplished.
The 35-year-old from New York likened it to those old depression drug commercials, where she was the sad rock rolling around. Her depression is mostly controlled now, but there are still times when she shuts down, and even things like replying to texts feel overwhelming.
What can seem like laziness to others is really just depression stopping you from doing what you would like or can see yourself doing, she says. At times, it feels like you just cannot.
My senses are completely dulled…
To Ellie M., depression feels like a cold, heavy layer that dulls her senses and separates her from the rest of the world. It weighs you down and alienates you from anything that might cause a sensation, says the 35-year-old, who lives in Tennessee. That’s usually a bad thing, but it can sometimes feel like a positive. Depression has a numbing effect. When you walk through life shrouded in it, upsetting things aren’t as impactful, she says.
It comes on like a wave…
Like a tsunami causing little warning ripples before crashing into the shore, MaryEllen R. of Ohio can usually sense when her depression is about to hit. It feels like the sadness keeps getting harder to shake off, the 27-year-old says. Once the catastrophic wave finally crashes, she gets knocked off her feet, and its almost impossible to get back up.
You feel like someone has their hand on your chest and keeps pushing, she says. It can be really intense. I dont want to get out of bed for days.
I felt like a worthless shell of myself…
During her two-year battle with depression, Kelley B. tried her best to keep things together at home for the sake of her husband and three young kids.
But the Georgia-based 36-year-old constantly felt overwhelmed and was barely able to tackle simple tasks like vacuuming, laundry, or doing the dishes. Instead of feeling accomplished when she did manage to complete her to-dos, my contributions to the household felt totally meaningless, like I was a shell just completing tasks to survive, she says.
And even though her husband would tell her how much he appreciated all that she did, it didn’t make a difference. When you feel worthless, it doesn’t matter what other people say or think, she says.