i hate calling it 'my' depression, like it's something i collected, bought, something i'm keeping around because, oh, it just brightens my life every day. but yeah i do possess it, i live in it, the dark cloud over my head that drizzles incessantly on my human experience. sometimes it pisses it down, other days it just spits, gently, and sometimes, albeit rarely, i catch it casting a bit of a rainbow. as an illness, there's no framework depression follows, no checklist of symptoms you can tick off and bam, there's your diagnosis, there's a packet of pills, here's the cure. i wish it was that simple. no instead, suffering from depression means learning what your own symptoms are, paying attention to what triggers them, and working out how to manage them. it's the process of creating, rather than following, the treatment plan. with an illness like depression, you will never be sat down and told how to get better. you won't find it online, in a book, or even in the office of the third psychiatrist you've seen this week. it is an illness that, unfortunately, looks different on everyone, and that's why this one, the one that hangs out over my head and in my heart, i call mine.
i do understand why sadness and depression can get so conflated, but as a Depressed Person i find that they are very separate things. i almost never feel sad when i am depressed. empty, yes. lonely? yes too. angry, sick, bored, lost, and numb are all feelings my depressed self is far too familiar with. but funnily enough, not really sadness. so if depression isn't always this sadness it's been romanticized to seem, then what does it actually look like?
the white noise in my brain gets really loud. unbearably-to study is to stare at a computer screen and read the same 3 words repeatedly for 3 hours, all ability to be productive is lost. mirroring. sometimes the only way for me to keep myself functioning when I'm depressed is to mirror someone else. their behaviour their eating and sleep patterns. their working hours. the less decisions for my brain to make, however small and inconsequential, the better.
spiralling. i get scared of never getting better (ok, likely), and living my entire life in this state (possible). more irrational fears too. that a tumour is pressing on my brain and causing dark thoughts. that my lack of productivity will result in brain activity diminishing and that i will
forget how to do simple tasks like reading and writing. that everyone i love will simultaneously be hit by a car on their way home today. etc.
Aoife Murphy - Fourth Year - International Relations