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Tuesday, August 13, 2013

My Life With Depression

I won't presume to speak for everyone who suffers from depression, but I can share what it feels like for me in the hopes that maybe others will understand. You have my permission to share this, if you think that is deserves to be shared.

I've read that "Depression is anger turned inward" and I agree with that 100%, because so much of my misery is caused by me being angry at myself for being angry at stupid things.

Erin is sitting in a chair and it's not comfortable. Normal Erin would think "This chair isn't comfortable. I should move!" and then she would move and get on with her day.

Depressed Erin thinks "Why does this chair hate me so much? Am I such an awful person that it has to go out of its way and make me uncomfortable just to spite me? Stupid chair! Well, I hate it too! I wish it were dead!"  at which point Erin's Rational Mind says "Um, Erin?  You know you are being totally irrational about this chair thing, right?  It's an inanimate object! It can't possibly hate you."

And Depressed Erin thinks "Of course I know this!  But I FEEL like the chair hates me. No amount of logic will change how I feel right now, because EMOTIONS RAWR." And then Depressed Erin feels really stupid because it's just been pointed out that she's mad at a thing for no good reason whatsoever.

She then thinks "What the heck is wrong with me that I am losing it over a chair? I must be really stupid to let my emotions override my good sense like this."  And then she begins to hate herself for being so stupidly emotional, and this puts her in a worse mood.

Because she's in a worse mood, everything else that goes wrong seems that much worse and that much more personal, which becomes a feedback loops. "It's too bright! The light hates me! Stupid light!  No, wait, stupid Erin."  "Argh, I'm too hot! Stupid thermostat... no, stupid Erin again..."

Eventually, Depressed Erin just gives up and goes back to her room, which is hopefully the most comfortable room in the house for her, and she hides back there because it's the only place where she has 100% control of the environment and hopefully she will not be disturbed by all the things in the world that hate her and make her feel like she's dumb for overreacting. And if she does overreact, she's in her safe place where no one will judge her for screaming at a lightbulb or crying because her clothes hurt.

And this is why Depressed Erin hides in her room and doesn't talk to people. She has to wait until she feels like things don't hate her just because she exists before she feels safe enough to risk coming out of her protective den.

This is how it is for me. Your mileage, of course, may vary, as I am not you.


  1. Have you done the "The universe hates me and I deserve it" thing yet? My depressions lead me to punishing myself because the universe wouldn't treat me this way if I hadn't been bad in some manner.

  2. I have suffered from depression for a long, long time. About all I've learned is that there is no help or support for someone like me, just abuse, ridicule and extortion.

    When I was very sick last winter, I once found myself face down in the carpet and unable to move. It gave me time to wonder how many months it would be before anyone even noticed I was dead. Not whether or not anyone would actually miss me, but how long it would take for anyone to notice. So, a significant portion of my depression is situational.

    I don't live the life of a hermit, I go out to various meetings a few times a week. I used to go to church, until I realized how seriously straight white males are hated by Unitarians. I haven't had a date in over 15 years and the mere thought of me ever having sex is enough to drive feminists into a screaming frenzy (really, the hysteria would be funny if it wasn't so tragic).

    So, I'm pretty much just waiting to die. Hell, the government is going to get my house and bank accounts, I have no family and no one to even put in a will.

  3. At least you seem to be able to focus the anger on SOMETHING no matter how irrational or unusual. I could never get any real focus on mine, just that something was really frustrating and angering me, and that not being able to figure out EXACTLY what was making me frustrated and angry made me even MORE frustrated and angry......

  4. Offhand, did you see Hyperbole and a Half's explanation of depression?

    I went through a period where I basically stood at the shores of that level of nihilism before (thankfully) backing up. I can't even imagine how bad it is to actually wade or swim in those waters.

    Hang in there.

  5. I did. Fortunately, my depression these days only last about a week or so, and because I know this -- know it will end -- I'm able to weather it just by saying "This will go away. This WILL go away. I just have to live through it."

    The closest I ever came to Hyperbole's case was when I was in my early 20s. Figuratively, I went to my room and didn't come out for years. I attribute this to late-stage adolescent hormones and existential dread about my future being a force multiplier for depression. Even then, I had days that didn't suck.

    If I had it as bad as she did, I might have killed myself. I certainly flirted with the idea of suicide back in college.


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