Explaining Depression to Someone Who Doesn't Believe in Mental Illness
The poem I fell in love with
it’s the weight of a full-body cast, forcing you to the bed, unable to move. it’s the cotton in your mouth after a root canal, morphing your words to indecipherable muttering. it’s the silence after a wake. you can’t name it, but it brings about a heavy silence that you can feel, rendering you useless. it’s the woman lying on a hospital bed after a miscarriage, feeling utterly alone after the body exits her womb.
‘one day, you’ll wake up and you won’t be sad!’ you’re right, actually, i don’t wake up sad. when i wake up, i feel tired. i don’t have the energy to move. to get dressed. to shower.
‘doesn’t not showering get disgusting?’ yes! it does! the longest i’ve gone without a shower is two weeks, and it was hell. it’s not the fact that i don’t want to be clean, because trust me, i do, it’s the fact that i have no motivation to move from my bed unless it’s to the couch.
some days are better than others, i call those the okay days. those days i’m able to at least brush my teeth, maybe sit outside for a minute. the thing no one tells you about depression is how lonely it gets; i know i have people who are there for me but sometimes i just cannot tell that they’re there because they always leave when it gets hard.
everyone leaves at some point. we’ll make plans when i’m having a good day then the day of the plans i cannot force myself out of bed. my mother says i need to go out, have some fun, /live/ a little. it’s ironic, being told to ‘live’ when you don’t want to live.
it’s hard trying to have fun when your friends definition of ‘fun’ is going to the club and that’s your definition of a panic attack. clubs are far from ‘fun’ when you have to rehearse what you’re going to say a dozen times in your head then spend the next five minutes pep talking yourself into talking to the bartender then feeling the bees in your stomach and leaving. it’s not dealing with the repercussions, letting your phone buzz endlessly next to you because you don’t even have the energy to turn it off.
sometimes it’s about finding the person who will make the bad days not so bad. they still get bad, but sometimes what you need is someone with you throughout the bad days as well as the good days. someone who will hold your hand and not leave your side no matter how hard you push them away. it’s having that person understand that recovery is not linear; recovery is two steps forward and one step back.
i may not be okay now, but there is someone who will always be by my side, even when it gets
hard. she will hold my hand and tell me ‘you are not alone’ as many times as i need it; she will guide me to recovery.