Depression: A World Without Color

Depression: A World Without Color

How Depression Really Feels.
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“Depression is like being blind and constantly told how beautiful color is”

As a person living in a black and white world, I am here to tell you why I don’t see it like that. I wouldn’t call depression a blindness to color because that means I’ve never seen it. The problem is that I have seen color; I remember it. It just is no longer there. Way too often I see the world as a colorless obis. It isn’t even black and white anymore--it turns grey. Black and white would imply that my world can be differentiated between large and small things. But the reality is the small things begin to bleed into the big.The world is just shades of grey. The color being leached out, taking all energy and motivation with it.

I don’t fight a war as some call it, because the truth is that I just don’t have the energy. When someone asks if I’m fine, and I am forced to smile and say “Yeah, I’m just tired”, it is not a lie. Lying would be saying ‘I didn’t get enough sleep’ or ‘Yeah I just have a lot of homework’, but the reality is that I got plenty of sleep, and I probably took about an hour to poorly write in some answers to my homework. But that doesn’t change the fact that I am tired. Too tired to hang out tonight, too tired to go to that club I signed up for back in the time of color, too tired to care. My world matching the colored grey of my eyes.

I went through my life seeing the vibrancy of everything from the smallest ladybug to the brightest sky and then my world went dark. It didn’t happen all at once like the lights going out during a storm, it was more gradual than that. I watched the saturation slowly drain from my life. Going from colors to black and white and finally to grey. I didn’t notice the loss of my colors until I no longer had the motivation, the energy to care about it.

My friends slowly became my acquaintances and my acquaintances became someone whose name I couldn’t be bothered to remember. I began to think that they were better off without me anyway. I would just bother them. They’d have left eventually. They’d have realized I really didn’t deserve them.

Then, every once in awhile, there are small periods of color. They may not be bright colors, but they are there. I get excited to go to practice for that sport I’ve begun resenting. I finish the book I started months ago. I call my friends.

As fast as it appears though, the color vanishes.

I go back to pretending that I don’t miss those colors. I go back to not bothering to fight. My energy drains away and takes all of my motivation with it. I don’t admit that there is a problem.

Until the next time the color comes back--this time it’s accompanied by a person. A person who seems to understand. Their eyes a beautiful splash of color. For the first time, I see color as vibrant as the ones I saw as a kid. Such a beautiful contrast to the grays of my new world. No matter how bad or grey the world seemed to get, their eyes still hold a color so bright it’s blinding. And I remember what it’s like to want that color. I remember what color feels like. And for some reason, they see something in me that makes me worth keeping around. I live my life motivated by that color.

Soon, almost without me realizing it, color seeps back into the fabric of my life. One moment I’m laughing--caught up in this person--then the next moment I see the color faintly in everything around me. I look forward to seeing them the next day, no longer for their color, because that’s all around me, but for the love that has grown into that color. And even after that person with the colored eyes leaves I still see my colors. I find people just as colorful. Just as understanding.

Then, I’m drawn to someone new. Their eyes are pale, almost grey, but shine with a passion that can’t be hid. Soon the love that grew for the person with the colorful eyes is overtaken by the love for the person so full of passion. A true friend. I still have colorless days. Days where the color fades away. And somehow the person so full of passion is so gentle when those days come around. One day we take a photo- a harmless photo where I look at the camera and they look into my eyes. And that’s when I see it. Their eyes so full of passion have turned miraculously bright, the passion not forgotten just now so colorful, staring into mine. And mine are just as vibrantly colorful.
Cover Image Credit: Katie Schaffer

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A Letter To My Humans On Our Last Day Together

We never thought this day would come.
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I didn't sleep much last night after I saw your tears. I would have gotten up to snuggle you, but I am just too weak. We both know my time with you is coming close to its end, and I just can't believe it how fast it has happened.

I remember the first time I saw you like it was yesterday.

You guys were squealing and jumping all around, because you were going home with a new dog. Dad, I can still feel your strong hands lifting me from the crate where the rest of my puppy brothers and sisters were snuggled around my warm, comforting puppy Momma. You held me up so that my chunky belly and floppy wrinkles squished my face together, and looked me right in the eyes, grinning, “She's the one."

I was so nervous on the way to my new home, I really didn't know what to expect.

But now, 12 years later as I sit in the sun on the front porch, trying to keep my wise, old eyes open, I am so grateful for you. We have been through it all together.

Twelve “First Days of School." Losing your first teeth. Watching Mom hang great tests on the refrigerator. Letting you guys use my fur as a tissue for your tears. Sneaking Halloween candy from your pillowcases.

Keeping quiet while Santa put your gifts under the tree each year. Never telling Mom and Dad when everyone started sneaking around. Being at the door to greet you no matter how long you were gone. Getting to be in senior pictures. Waking you up with big, sloppy kisses despite the sun not even being up.

Always going to the basement first, to make sure there wasn't anything scary. Catching your first fish. First dates. Every birthday. Prom pictures. Happily watching dad as he taught the boys how to throw every kind of ball. Chasing the sticks you threw, even though it got harder over the years.

Cuddling every time any of you weren't feeling well. Running in the sprinkler all summer long. Claiming the title “Shotgun Rider" when you guys finally learned how to drive. Watching you cry in mom and dads arms before your graduation. Feeling lost every time you went on vacation without me.

Witnessing the awkward years that you magically all overcame. Hearing my siblings learn to read. Comforting you when you lost grandma and grandpa. Listening to your phone conversations. Celebrating new jobs. Licking your scraped knees when you would fall.

Hearing your shower singing. Sidewalk chalk and bubbles in the sun. New pets. Family reunions. Sleepovers. Watching you wave goodbye to me as the jam-packed car sped up the driveway to drop you off at college. So many memories in what feels like so little time.

When the time comes today, we will all be crying. We won't want to say goodbye. My eyes might look glossy, but just know that I feel your love and I see you hugging each other. I love that, I love when we are all together.

I want you to remember the times we shared, every milestone that I got to be a part of.

I won't be waiting for you at the door anymore and my fur will slowly stop covering your clothes. It will be different, and the house will feel empty. But I will be there in spirit.

No matter how bad of a game you played, how terrible your work day was, how ugly your outfit is, how bad you smell, how much money you have, I could go on; I will always love you just the way you are. You cared for me and I cared for you. We are companions, partners in crime.

To you, I was simply a part of your life, but to me, you were my entire life.

Thank you for letting me grow up with you.

Love always,

Your family dog

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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Working On My Emotional Health Is At The Top Of My To-Do List

I'm finally realizing the importance of my mental and emotional health.

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The month of April has been so eye-opening for me. For the first bit of the year, I felt like I was in a slump; like I was just going through the motions and not fully living my life.

I was letting boy drama, school stress, and my poor actions to deal with those issues take over my life. I was allowing the anger and shame from those mistakes bubble up inside me until I was just about ready to explode.

I was allowing myself to go back to old ways of coping with problems that I knew weren't healthy, but I knew would be a short-term fix.

I simply wasn't living.

Then, one day I woke up and told myself I needed to change, and that if I didn't, I'd be on this same path ten years from now... or worse. I told myself I needed to get my life back on track with the Lord and with who I want to be as a rising senior in college.

After meeting with one of the leaders at my church (btw, everyone needs a Mrs. Jenny in their life!) and with my therapist, I'm starting to realize how important my emotional health is. My way of dealing with problems hasn't been working all that well, so I know it's time to try something else.

It's all going to be a huge learning process (and at times, an uphill battle), but I know working on my emotional health now will build me to be the best I can in the future.

By learning to become more open to healthier ways of dealing with issues as they come up (like not avoiding problems and actually facing them head-on), I know I can become my best self, and that is something I'm willing to work on with my whole heart.

So, I'm learning to let go of needing to control everything in my life because honestly, wanting to control everything puts me more out of control than when I first started.

And, I encourage you to do the same.

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