What Life is Like: Living with Depression
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What Life is Like: Living with Depression

When it's good, it's great. When it's bad, it's like the good was never there.

Photo by Yuris Alhumaydy on Unsplash

Depression has a strange way of sucking you in. You might not realize it has gotten its hooks in you right away and then the next thing you know, you're spending night after night alone. You have no motivation to get out of bed, to see anyone. You come across as rude, disinterested. Your already delicate relationships crumble until you're trapped in a prison of isolation of your own making. You have no one to blame but yourself, though you'd like to believe otherwise.

People see less and less of you. They might wonder why, they might not. They certainly don't ask questions. You want to climb out of the hole you've dug and apologize for your aloofness, but you're in too deep. So, you carry on, alone. Life goes on, you realize. The world does not revolve around you and people will move on with or without you.

You don't understand why you're so different. Why you can't muster up the energy to go for a walk, to see a movie with a friend. You make excuses when the few friends that depression has not ripped away from you ask you to hang out. Yet you still wonder where you went wrong when the invitations stop coming. You spend nights alone, watching people live their lives and torturing yourself for your lack of ability to live your own. You have an understanding that life is short, that your time is fleeting, and you should do what you can to live life to the fullest. Still, you turn the other cheek. You can't be bothered, can't risk rejection and heartache. So instead you sit, watching and wondering what your life would be like if you were actually living it.

Normal things are hard to do with depression. Sometimes you wash your hair every day, sometimes you wait until you can't get away with it any longer. Sometimes you brush your teeth, sometimes you chew gum and pray no one notices.

You make excuses. For yourself, for others. In fact, your life is a long list of excuses. I can't go, I don't feel well. I'll do it later, I'm too tired. I'll hang out with them another night, there will be more invitations. I'll work out tomorrow, it's too late today. You wonder why life is passing you by, but deep down you know the answer. You can find it in the list.

People think you're flaky. They think you're mean. They think you don't care, that you're too self-absorbed. You want to tell them the truth, but would they understand?

When life is good, it's great. The sun shines brighter, the air feels crisper, the music sounds sweeter. You think, how could I ever feel anything but happy when there are days like these? But when life is bad, it's unbearable. You cancel your plans so that you can sit and wallow in the dark. You look at life through an unfocused lens. Everything is there, but it's not quite right. You want to sleep. You don't want to see anyone. You want to be alone and at the same time, you feel so incredibly lonely.

Depression is not a state of mind. It is not a mood. It is not a lifestyle. It is an illness. It is, in more ways than one, a handicap. It makes you impulsive, unmotivated, and hopeless. You find yourself struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel. You feel like it'll never end, like this is the hand that life has played you and you have to stick with it.

You don't, though. Remember that. When you want to give up--that's when you fight the hardest.

Because you might think people don't notice, that they don't care. That life would go on without you. But people care, and life would never be the same without you in it. It will get better. If you can hold onto that belief, you can do anything.

Living life with depression is hard. At times it seems unbearable. But living life with depression has, in some ways, been a gift. I have learned to cope. I have channeled my feelings into creativity. I have learned how to fight, how to battle even when all I want to do is give up. In this way, perhaps living with depression has been a privilege.

Depression has strengthened my character. It has allowed me to test my limits. It has made me a victor. I am not weak. I fight small battles every day. And every day so far, I have won. I have not given in.

While I haven't beat depression, I am managing it. I am living life with depression. It might not be conventional, it might not be a perfect life, but I'm alive and I'm working on it. And if you ask me, that's an accomplishment in and of itself.

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