From the Inside Out: A Look at Depression

I know last week was Mental Health Awareness Week, but I think it is worth noting that many people suffer from all different types of mental illness and one week to take notice is not enough, but it is something. Sometimes just listening and being empathetic is helpful. I wrote this piece to honour those battling depression.

She isn’t battling a beast; the paranormal; or another human being even. She is battling herself. This is pure conflict right down to the bone; right down to the marrow; even into the sinew of her tendons. In literature we call this conflict person vs. self. In real life, we call this mental illness. Just writing those words is haunting yet liberating; scary yet truthful. But the real litmus test is if she can even utter those words out loud “depression”, “I have depression”, “I am depressed.”

The world is against her or so she thinks. Everything this week, this month, and this year has amounted to one big gigantic failure. She is up, she is down, and she feels out of sorts. Staying in bed only delays the inevitable. Getting up only brings the inevitable to her doorstep. The inevitable is ugly, harsh, and demonic. It breathes heavily down her neck and creeps into her spine until she is paralyzed. A gigantic heap of flesh and bone lying on the bed; unable to move; unable to feel; unable to care.

The needs of others can’t be met today, because she can barely meet her own.

“Why can’t I feel anything?!!!” she screams to herself.

But there is no one to answer and no one to care and no one to feel.

These tears flow out and she cannot get them to go back in. They slip out one by one, slowly at first until she feels under water…drowning in her own sorrow. She doesn’t even know why she is crying. She only knows that she is crying and she feels weak. No sane person cries for no reason and even if she could tell someone about her crying they would ask her why and she would have no answer for them. Nothing would sound logical. No answer would be good enough. No reason warrants this amount of sorrow. There is no answer expect “because.”

Her limbs ache with pressure like she has five hundred pound weights on top of her. She cannot move. Moving one digit, one hair, one toe feels like she has to move mountains. These covers are made of lead like the lead bib an X-Ray technician makes you wear. Moving is futile; too much work. Why bother?

She lays in bed watching TV hoping a romantic comedy will make her laugh, but instead she feels…nothing. How can she go from feeling sad to nothing in two seconds? This is depression. It lacks complete logic. From the outside in, it is hard to rationalize and understand. From the inside out, it is a maze with no way out. It is gray, dark, and the walls are overgrown with moss.  And all she wants to do is disappear. But she can’t. She has people. She is part of a unit.

Tomorrow she might be able to function even if she has to fake it until she can make it.

 

~Jennifer Ward

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