Someone asked how depression felt. In truth there is no one answer. On some days, it can be a racing heart, on others it can be a dark pit, on others it can be child-waking-from-a-nightmare terror and sometimes it’s 90% boredom, sitting and watching but not taking in episode after episode of a random TV series, swearing that this will be the last episode before I get up and go live life. It can be sadness, irritation, despair, loneliness, loss, fear, uneasiness and a hundred other emotions.
But as I reluctantly come back to the real world after cutting myself off, this is how I answered:
It feels like a weight pressing down and pushing in from all sides. I feel like I walk slower and talk slower. There’s an ever-present dull ache that permeates every part of my body coupled with more specific pains that come and go in waves – a painful back, an aching neck and head, muscles tense and, inexplicably, over-sensitive fingertips and soles of the feet. The depression has an almost physical presence inside. On good days, it sits way down in the stomach, barely noticeable. Other times, it sits at the base of my throat, heavy and choking.
I wake up and throw off the covers (or move them off – I do nothing with the energy that requires throwing) and feel like I’m still trapped under something, like my body itself needs to be thrown off, like someone has tucked me in so tight that I can’t move or get free.
On good days, I feel lighter. Literally lighter. It’s a cliché but the weight is lifted. So today when you ask me what depression feels like, I answer this way. It feels like a weight pressing, pushing and imprisoning.