Last night was a dark night for me. For the past week, I’ve been slowing sinking into a depression, and I hit rock bottom last night. On a positive note, it’s fantastic that it only took a week. This is the longest I’ve experienced the darkness for a while – usually, I bounce back within a couple days. I’m disappointed that I’m still struggling with depression.
What Depression Feels Like
At this point, I’m convinced that everyone has dealt with some form of depression. This isn’t sadness. This isn’t PMS. Although it can be sparked by both. While others bounce back with a switch change of attitude or focus, people who live with depression struggle to make that switch.
It’s like having an engine that won’t turn over. You keep cranking away, worrying that you’re going to flood the engine, feeling like it’s just about to turn over and then the engine craps out. Again.
Everything feels smothered and dark, and although you can distract yourself here and there, a dark cloud follows you around, and there’s no shaking it. You can either ride it out – keeping quiet to avoid destroying relationships when you inevitably lash out – or medicate yourself. I choose remaining quiet and let those around me know that “I’m sad today.” That’s code for “Leslie is riding me hard this week.”
Things that are normally a minor annoyance become devastating until you reach a point where you feel like you’re the most ridiculous person on the planet and no one loves you. My parents don’t even like me; what does this say about me?
There is a small voice that is speaking reason – it’s far away, whispering reminders about third world countries, the homeless, abused and neglected animals – it doesn’t matter. The voice mumbles a list of people who love you, but you can barely hear the words because of the sobs racking your body.
And then it’s over.
When the Light Returns
The day after hitting rock bottom is like the day after a fever breaks. Your appetite hasn’t returned yet, but you can breathe again. Every breeze feels cool and refreshing against your skin. And you look forward to things again.
You’re still a bit sensitive. Although your breakdown was done privately, alone – it feels like there were ten cameras capturing every tear, every harsh word delivered to yourself, every minute of misery. You feel ashamed and judged because millions of people would trade places with you on your worst day and on their best. But you can breathe again, and the dark cloud is higher in the sky, being blinded by the light.
Today is a new day. I start from scratch, counting again. It’s been 13 hours since my last dark cloud.