To some it feels like a dark cloud hangs over them constantly. To others it’s a big, dark dog, following them around wherever they go, kind of like the Grim in Harry Potter. I’ve heard someone call their depression the grey blanket that Life throws over them from time to time.
To me, it felt like being in a tomb.
Like being sealed inside myself, and watching my life happen without actually really being able to feel any of it. Because as much as I was still able to live my life, write funny tweets, hang out with friends, I would really just be in that tomb.
What I remember from that tomb is just a lot of self hatred and a whole lot of…nothing.
I would just not feel anything.
When I sat across from friends, family, people I knew I loved very much. But I just couldn’t feel it.
I told my boyfriend that even though I knew how much I loved him, I couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t access it.
I couldn’t feel joy. Everything I was doing I was only doing because I figured I would probably feel even worse if I didn’t do those things.
But none of it brought me any joy. Not my job, not my writing, not the Internet, not my exercise routine: none of it. Everything was just exhausting and…nothing.
Depression robs you of who you are. It wraps itself around you in layers and layers of self hatred and apathy, so tightly you can’t wriggle through. And you can’t “just get out of it”. You can’t “just snap out of it.” You can’t get out.
You’re locked in there. Like a tomb.
Beyond the DSM-V characteristics, I know what it feels like now for me. That state of being. The complete disconnect between me and everything that I love, the feeling of not feeling anything.
I don’t think I can ever fully prevent myself from experiencing it again. I hope that if it happens again, I can treat myself with self compassion and patience, and get myself to a professional as quickly as possible.
Today is National Depression Screening Day in the United States.
I was asked by the Debi Gliori’s publisher to write something to feature her book and depression on this day. Debi Gliori’s book ‘Night Shift‘ is about her journey with depression featuring her stunning black and white illustrations.
The author and illustrator Debi Gliori writes the following about her book in the epilogue:
I don’t know what battles you are fighting right now. Whether they are all happening on the inside or outside, we have to fight some battles during our lifetime. We all have our demons to face and our dragons to slay. Or perhaps tombs to break out of.
I wanted to use this article to tell you that you are not alone. That I was locked in a tomb, and I got out. Maybe one day I’ll have to get myself out of that tomb again. Fighting hard from the inside, as well as letting helpers hack away at it from the outside.
But I have, and I will. And I hope you will too.
(I was asked, not paid to write this and feature Debi on my blog. Because I relate to the topic of depression and because I loved Debi’s illustrations, I wanted to write this. There are no affiliate links.)