I’ve written a lot about depression and anxiety over the years. But it’s impossible to capture what it feels like once it passes and it’s impossible to write about it properly while it’s in control. But yesterday, I felt it in full force. And as you might be able to tell by my limited posting Tuesday and the frankly lackluster quality of what I could produce (trust me—if you notice it, I notice it double), writing is really fucking hard when depression is in the driver’s seat. So I attempted to explain it in the one way that’s never let me down: the liveblog.
Here’s what depression feels like when it’s happening:
- Like my brain is too heavy. Like it’s hard to read and focus on what I’m reading because my brain is dragging behind my eyes and not able to catch up.
- Tired. My whole body is tired. Just typing is hard. My fingers are as heavy as my brain.
- Everything is just slower.
- I’ve had Disney Channel on since this morning. I just haven’t had the energy to turn it off or change the channel.
- You know how some mouse pointer arrows can get slowed down and they drag across the screen leaving a trail? That’s what my eyes are doing. My whole head really. Like when I turn my head, there’s a lingering feeling of everything attempting to turn, some slower than others.
- I’ll start to talk or tell a story and realize mid-sentence I don’t know where it’s going or I’ve forgotten what I’m trying to say entirely.
- My heart feels like it’s pounding but when I feel my heartbeat or my pulse, it isn’t. There’s a phantom heartbeat and it’s racing but it isn’t real. I feel my hands shaking but when I look they’re still. It isn’t real. None of it’s real.
- I’m sad. But I’m not sad. I’m nothing.
- When I try to find something to write about, I can’t. Meaningless drivel and huge important news all feels the same. I feel the same about both. I feel nothing about both. When I see something scary, like the Sessions hearing, I feel my breath catch and my heart gets heavy like my body knows it’s awful but my brain doesn’t know what to do. My mind is steps or blocks behind. I’m so tired.
- I’m staring, I’m watching, I’m reading, but I’m not processing. It’s like my brain and all my nerves and senses are full and can’t absorb anything more. The door is just closed.
And here’s what it feels like when it goes away:
You’re fine. Like…fine. Back to normal. Like nothing happened, like nothing was wrong. It’s just gone. It passed, like a headache or an itch. I’m fine now. I won’t be again at some point, but for now I am.
And that’s what it’s like.