A few days ago, on twitter, I tweeted out a “word of the night” just for the fun of it. The word is Neoplatonism. Neoplatonism is the belief that one should search beyond appearances for true knowledge. I only find this appropriate in what I am about to share with you.
Everyone knows that on social media you typically only post things about your best self. You will post about the amazing vacations you went on, the amazing new job you got, or the AMAZING friends you have and how much you love them. Yet, not many people post about the hard things. I mean, I understand why. Why would you want to make yourself that vulnerable to a lot of people that you don’t even know that well?
To be honest, I have tried to write this same post about six or seven times. Every single one has been deleted and I still don’t know if I even want to post this one. I know that a lot of people struggle with this though, so maybe knowing they aren’t alone can help them with this. What is “this”?
It sucks. A lot. Some people say that it is just your imagination, some people say it is just you overthinking, and others believe that you are just too into yourself. Let me tell you, none of that is true.
None. Of. It.
There was once a book I read. I can’t remember the title but the main character was a depressed male who was sent to a mental hospital after trying to commit suicide. One of the lines he said while he was there was said to a nurse. The line goes, “Don’t you know? Depression isn’t an effing feeling.” He’s right. And to anyone who believes it is just a feeling, please, get that out of your head right now.
Depression looks different for a lot of people. For some people, they are sad. But that is more of just a stereotype that goes along with depression. I think that depressed people look sad, but let me tell you, they aren’t feeling sad. Don’t get me wrong. They aren’t happy, excited, angry, fearful, disgusted, etc. They are numb. They literally cannot feel any emotion.
I know this first hand. I kind of go in phases of numbness. There are complete months that I don’t remember from this past year because of how numb I was and there are other days that I remember every single detail because the numb cloud lifted just enough.
There are two situations I can specifically think of where I was scared that I was numb. I know, that’s contradictory. How do you feel an emotion when you’re numb? It’s hard to explain. The easiest way to describe it is that you are experiencing an out of body experience. Your mind completely shuts down and part of you detaches. Off to your side, you can see your emotions and what you’re supposed to be feeling and how you’re supposed to react and how to do the basics like smile and frown. But in your physical body, you can’t experience any of it.
The first time I recall this happening was last Christmas.
Yeah. I said Christmas.
When you think Christmas, what do you think? The most wonderful time of the year, right? (Pun intended) I wish. I have always loved Christmas, and still do. Christmas 2015 was just a really bad day for me. I remember having a good day with family and friends like we do every year, but at the end of the night, I couldn’t feel any of that emotion and that scared me. I ran to grab my journal so that I could start writing this out. In there I wrote something to the effect of, “You know what I wish? That I could be happy!” I remember writing that and wishing that wasn’t how I was feeling. How could I ever tell my family and friends that after what was supposed to be one of the best days of the year, I couldn’t feel anything. I didn’t know that I had depression then. I just thought I was full of self-pity and that I just needed to get over myself and I would be fine. Boy, was I wrong.
The second situation I’m about to describe has happened multiple times, but I am going to tell you about a time that happened not even two weeks ago. I was at work and had had an AMAZING day so far. I don’t remember all the specifics of that day anymore, but I know it was great. I was feeling emotions, which made me even happier, I was doing well at work, and I was motivated to do things. And then, while at work, a switch was flipped. Nothing happened to me. I was in the middle of prepping more food when all of a sudden I felt completely different. I felt the moment when my brain shut down and all of a sudden, there were my emotions, right next to me. They were mocking me, making me feel even worse for not being able to show them off.
The more I write, the more schizophrenic I sound. I want to clarify something. I’m not actually seeing hallucinations or anything. But my brain understands things better when I have a visual to associate it with. When I say I can see the emotions next to me, think Inside Out. It’s like all my emotions got taken out of HQ and they are all lost in long-term memory, trying to find their way back to HQ so that I can feel something again.
Let me tell you though, the numbness isn’t even the worst part about depression. The worst part is how it completely takes over your life. You aren’t the one making decisions anymore, depression is. Something that I pride myself in is the fact that I can be very self-motivated and I will get things done in a timely manner. I work hard to achieve what I want to achieve and I don’t accept the fact that I can’t do something. I will find a way to do it. Depression has a different idea for me. I used to be able to do all those things I just said. Somehow, I made it through a semester taking 18 credits, working 2 jobs, taking road trips, mentoring, and planning girls retreats. That was just a few months ago. I honestly don’t know how I did that.
Now I’m working one job taking 18 credit hours and I’m exhausted every single day. I can’t find the motivation to do my homework some days. Most days, even getting out of bed seems like the hardest task in the world. I don’t want to be lazy. I want to be motivated and I want to work hard and I want to make my family proud of me. I used to say the effort it took for me to get up, be presentable, go somewhere and just fake a smile long enough to be considered acceptable was exhausting. Now, I can’t even get up and get ready without feeling exhausted some days. Trust me, it’s not because I’m physically that out of shape. That would be a problem I could actually fix.
No matter how hard I fight the depression, I can’t fix it. It is gaining on me every single day. I don’t know how much longer I can keep fighting it before I just give in. I’m already basically just a shell of a person. Giving in would only finalize that.
You see, everything you see is just a mask. Whenever you ask me how I am, I don’t know what you want me to tell you besides life is perfect, and I am happy. Because on the outside, it is and I am. You see that I have traveled the world, am a social butterfly, and have even gotten a dream summer job. But that isn’t me. That isn’t even close.
I’m more than the shell you see on the outside. I’m more than the acne that covers my body and the extra weight I have. I am more than my dark hair and fall-esque outfits. I am more than the forced smile and fake face I put on every morning to convince myself that I am okay.
I’m not okay anymore. Inside, I am burning. Inside, I am broken. Inside, I am numb.
Until next time,