I've had depression since I was in middle school (maybe earlier); I used to draw black blobs in the margins of my notebook to signify it, though at the time I could never have guessed why. Of course, like most mental illnesses, this has followed me into my adult life and refuses to relent.
I've read somewhere a perfect sentence to capture this feeling - depression is living in a body that fights to survive with a mind that tries to die. I wake up and force myself out of bed every morning despite the ridiculous thought my brain has that I could just not get up ever again. Just curl up and sleep, it whispers. The world won't miss you. My body constantly feels heavy (not due to weight); like I am dragging around several sets of fifty pound weights. Despite having some really hard days, I make myself keep going; I am proud of myself when this happens. I want to live each day to the fullest, no matter my emotional state during that day. On my good days, I want to find happiness, and I know that I can't accomplish that by never leaving my bed.
I'll catch myself having "morbid thoughts," thoughts like "I wonder if people would miss me if I just disappeared" or "I just want to die" or "what would happen if I just drove my car off of this bridge" or of hurting myself. It is scary. I've been through enough therapy and know enough about my mental illness to know what exactly is happening and to get myself through it, be it by breathing or listening to music or doing something other than what I was doing previously in order to force my mind to shift gears. I am not going to lie and say that I never feel like I could lose a battle against these thoughts, but in those moments I usually get someone else involved, and they distract me enough so that I can get through it.
I have altered perceptions of what is going on, constantly. Things in my head are more often than not worse than what they actually are. During fights with anyone in my life, I always worry that they will leave, because I have somehow proven to them that I am as worthless as I feel.
A lot of the time, I feel like I am not good enough, undeserving of forgiveness or love. I feel like things would be better if I were just on my own, so that I wouldn't be a burden to other people. I often catch myself isolating myself from my friends because I feel like they would be better off without me. I feel like a lot of people just don't care, so I will find myself not talking about anything, let alone my feelings and the inner turmoil within.
I used to be on depression medication, but I took myself off of it a year ago. I had entirely too much weight gain, and I found that I felt like a robot. I had very little emotional responses to anything, and felt apathy a great deal of the time. After taking myself off of it, I found that I am STILL not happy. I often feel discouraged at this fact; what do I do with a mind that isn't happy on or off medication?
I cry at everything. I am not exaggerating. Everything. Too much beauty? Cry. Is something happy? Cry. Am I sad? Cry. Upset, frustrated, angry? Cry, cry, cry. I'm learning to kind of take it in stride. I tell people all of the time that "no, no, I'm fine, this is okay, it is normal for me to cry like this." I prefer to have too much emotion than not enough.
I've noticed that it gets worse when I drink alcohol, or when my anxiety gets too high, or when I haven't had nearly enough rest, but these are not causes of my depression. My mom asked me recently what I thought caused my depression and made me seek therapy. I told her that I honestly don't know. It could have been events in my childhood, which seems likely, but honestly as far back as I remember there are undertones of sadness or worthlessness. There is no exact moment. I have a feeling that my gene pool had a lot to do with it, since depression and alcoholism run rampantly on both sides. My therapist recommended recently that I get back onto some type of medication to help, because I may always feel this way. I may always feel depressed and sad.
I rarely let Depression win. Yes, it is a constant monster in my mind, waiting for my weak moments to drag me down even further. Some days I indulge it and stay in bed all day in my pajamas, only getting up for food and going to the bathroom. Most days I push through, ignoring the heavyness of my body and trudge forward, glad that I have the opportunity to prove to myself that I can do this. I can be content, if not happy. I can enjoy a day. I can laugh, and love. I can, and will, live, until there are no more sights to see, sounds to hear, or breaths to take.