Sunday, January 1, 2012

What It Feels Like...

...when I am depressed.

It usually takes me a while to figure out I'm actually depressed. Sometimes it can take days. Usually, the quicker I figure it out, the quicker I can get over it. 

I know that depression is rather baffling for those who don't suffer from it, so I thought I would try and explain how my depression feels to me. I realize it is different for everyone, but I imagine that there are aspects that are similar, if not the same.

When I am in the middle of a depression, it feels rather like I am in the middle of a dense emotional fog. Any plans that I have for the future feel like they're rather unlikely to succeed, because I can't see that far ahead anymore. I try to stay on track, but it's hard to see the path and know where it's going. Even more immediate endeavors that are successful surprise me. About all I can see and cope with are my immediate decisions and actions. For someone, like me, who likes to plan ahead and choose my actions carefully, this state of mind is rather stressful.

I begin to fear talking to other people. Not because I'm worried about what they'll say to me, but because I'm worried about what I'll say to them.  See, I'm an intelligent and clever person. Sometimes the first thing I think of as a response isn't very nice. It's clever, but not nice. While depressed, I can't always filter what I say, and I don't want to ruin a potentially long-lasting friendship because I'm depressed.  Plus, generally, I try to be careful of the feelings of those around me. If I can't be sure of how someone will react to what I'm going to say, it feels safer to just withdraw into myself until I'm more in control of my words.

I find myself getting bored very easily, yet I find myself possessing a kind of nervous energy. I feel like I should be occupied with something, but can't focus. It's distracting and has a tendency to make me rather irritable.

When reading or watching a TV show or movie, I like to get emotionally involved in the characters. At least, while I'm in a normal state of mind. When I'm depressed, I can get too involved in the characters and it can have rather surprising consequences for me.  About eight years ago, the seventh season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer had just come out on DVD. I had missed watching the show while it was being broadcast, so I was very excited to finish off the series. Of course, I was in the middle of a depression and was a little too involved. During the course of the season, a character that had been around since the very first episode got his eye poked out rather maliciously by one of the season's villains. At the end of the episode where that happened, I came back to myself huddled up in the fetal position, crying my eyes out. I could barely breathe. Now I choose what I entertain myself with very carefully when I'm feeling down.

My last observation is that, while depressed, it's not that I can't feel happy. I do sometimes. It's more like there's a damper on my more positive emotions. If I hear something that would normally make me laugh, I'll usually just smile. If it would make me smile, my mouth will twitch. I still enjoy the same things, my enjoyment is just reduced.

So that's it. If i observe other effects the next time I'm depressed, I'll try to make note of it and make a post about it.


JadeLuckMoney said...

I think I see it before you do sometimes, and you're right--every time is different. Knowing how to respond is always difficult to figure out. But time, patience, and love helps.

RiaTheOne said...

Yes, this is what it is like for me as well! I usually have some sort of cold, fever or flu to go along with it, and although I know what I should be doing, I just can't seem to get up and do it.

Not sure how it is for you, but depression for me adds more low to the lows. Much like your Buffy experience, I cry at life insurance commercials, that I didn't email someone in time, etc.

Good to explore and identify who, what, how. Knowing this DOES help identify your triggers and possible ways to intercept them.