How Depression Feels

Happy  Thanksgiving everyone!!

I have been struggling a lot with low energy recently, which I am attributing to depression.  Well, and also anemia I guess – when I met with my dietitian on Wednesday she said my hemoglobin was “extremely low, like anemia of chronic disease low” so I am trying to accept that maybe this low hemoglobin thing is really not a small thing.

But back to the depression…the frustration thing is that I don’t have anything in particular that I am depressed about, nor any particular reason for being tired (ie lack of sleep), and this lack of concreate identifiers is really frustrating me! A friend sent me a link to the following blog, and it exactly describes how I feel regarding my depression (minus the end when she starts to feel better – unfortunately I haven’t hit that point yet). It also fits well with how I feel regarding my general tiredness.  I pasted the relevant text from the post below, although if you do have time I highly recommend looking at the actual post for the illustrations – they are pretty great. The the link is:

Anyway, here goes:

“Some people have a legitimate reason to feel depressed, but not me. I just woke up one day feeling sad and helpless for absolutely no reason. It’s disappointing to feel sad for no reason. Sadness can be almost pleasantly indulgent when you have a way to justify it – you can listen to sad music and imagine yourself as the protagonist in a dramatic movie….But my sadness didn’t have a purpose. Listening to sad music and imagining that my life was a movie just made me feel kind of weird because I couldn’t really get behind the idea of a movie where the character is sad for no reason. I tried to force myself to not be sad. But trying to use willpower to overcome the apathetic sort of sadness that accompanies depression is like a person with no arms trying to punch themselves until their hands grow back. A fundamental component of the plan is missing and it isn’t going to work. When I couldn’t will myself to not be sad, I became frustrated and angry. In a final, desperate attempt to regain power over myself, I turned to shame as a sort of motivational tool. But, since I was depressed, this tactic was less inspirational and more just a way to oppress myself with hatred. Which made me more sad. Which then made me more frustrated and abusive….The self-loathing and shame had ceased to be even slightly productive, but it was too late to go back at that point, so I just kept going. I followed myself around like a bully, narrating my thoughts and actions with a constant stream of abuse….Slowly, my feelings started to shrivel up…[and] I couldn’t even muster up the enthusiasm to hate myself anymore.”

She then goes on to her recovery:
“If my life was a movie, the turning point of my depression would have been inspirational and meaningful. It would have involved wisdom-filled epiphanies about discovering my true self and I would conquer my demons and go on to live out the rest of my life in happiness. Instead, my turning point mostly hinged upon the fact that I had rented some movies and then I didn’t return them for too long….And that’s how my depression got so horrible that it actually broke through to the other side and became a sort of fear-proof exoskeleton.”

I guess I am sort of waiting for that last part to happen – I am not expecting a miracle or some “light bulb moment” (although I think my mom is). But I am trying to hold out hope that it will get better. But the longer it goes on, the harder it is to hold out that hope, and recently I have been feeling more and more like it’s never going to happen, which is just feeding into the exhaustion and frustration.


2 thoughts on “How Depression Feels

  1. Hi Beth-Louise,

    I’m really sorry that you are depressed these days.

    But thank you for sharing how you feel. (and pointing me to that hyperboleandahalf blog!) I can quite relate, though I think that depression usually has a cause (or multiple recurring causes), even if the causes may seem insignificant. And if nothing else, probably the anemia is quite a significant factor in your fatigue and, at least for me, fatigue is the most common depression trigger (and consequence as well).

    Hope you are doing better.

    take care 🙂

  2. Thanks so much for reading and for your comment. I agree that depression usually has multiple causes, but I think the frustrating thing for me right now is that there are no major things happening, or sudden changes, to explain this “funk.” I am a very problem/fix kind of person, so the absence of a clear problem and a nice way to solve it is more fuel for the depression fire, so to speak.

    Take care yourself!! 🙂

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