“I often find myself wishing that depression was a visible thing, like a terrible rash, a wound or a swollen limb. Something you could point to and say "See? *That's* what's going on with me. I am hurting." Something that would cause your loved ones to wince in empathy at the realness of it, rather than have everybody walking on eggshells wondering if today would be a Good day or a Bad day.
Depression is invisible. It's embarrassing. It's something that's extremely difficult to talk about, especially when you most *need* to talk. It makes you sound like a broken record, and then you become afraid to speak anymore.
You feel like you're poisoning everyone around you with the black, toxic ink of negativity that's filling every cell in your body. Standing up and walking to the bathroom takes effort - forget doing laundry, making food, answering questions or smiling. Forget being a functioning member of society. Forget enjoying the "little things" in life. When you're deep in a low period, your aspirations evaporate as if they were never there. It's like every good thing you ever built your life on has suddenly been revealed as being a lie or a waste; you feel cheated - but more than that, you feel too paralysed to do anything remotely constructive.
Depression is like drowning in thick tar, and as I said, the worst part is how shameful and humiliating it is. You sense people thinking "I wish they'd just get over it!" (as some people actually say, out loud). You feel that if you could summon the courage to say how bad things really are for you, you'll be dismissed or laughed at. You worry that you'll drag other people down with you. No matter how hard you try - to be cheerful, to be consistent, to be healthy, to seek therapy, to reach out to others, to be happy - it never seems like enough. Life is an excrutiating daily effort to keep clawing out of that deep hole, hand over hand. The slightest trauma can undo months of work.
This is my experience, at least. Everyone's is different. But the thought I keep coming back to is that if this were a visible disorder, people would find it easier - both to endure it and to help someone recover from it. It would be easier to know what to do. People would feel less helpless and in the dark about it.
The greatest benefit of all would be the satisfaction of watching the wound healing, until there was barely a scar left behind."
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