I have been fighting depression for more than 10 years. Over a decade of late nights and toxic behavior and having to pretend the next day that nothing is wrong.
I never know how to explain depression to someone. It’s so different for everyone and comes in so many different forms. Some people describe their depression as a weight that holds them down, ever-present and demanding of their time. Others describe it as a shadow that looms in the back of your mind, always taunting and jabbing and trying to tear you down. Some days, you just have thicker skin. And then sometimes, depression is described like drowning. It’s wading in an ocean of poison and barely catching your breath before you’re dragged back under.
I don’t think people understand that depression is constant. Some days it doesn’t feel as heavy, it doesn't tug and pull as hard. And other days, it knocks you down before you can even get out of bed.
I am always fighting this constant battle with myself. I may smile and laugh and seem happy, but know that, somewhere, in the back of my mind I'm struggling. The happy interludes, the in-between where the weight doesn’t feel as heavy, are simply vacations from the reality that is my depression.
It makes me feel like a failure, no matter my successes. I feel worthless and like I’m a burden on everyone around me.
My depression is a beast that lives inside me. It whispers horrible things in my ear, tells me that I am waste of space. And all the while, I have to smile and pretend I’m okay.
That life isn’t beating me, no way. I’m too stubborn for that. I have to pretend that there isn’t some rabid animal inside of me, clawing to get its grip around my throat and snuff out my life.
People who don’t have depression don’t understand. But they can still be there for people like me. When they say something that scares you, don’t yell. Don’t get angry because you don’t comprehend how their mind works.
My mind is a scary place. I shouldn’t need to open up and spill my darkness for your compassion.
Support people with depression, even if you don’t understand. Just be there.