What it's Like to Have Depression

When you’re struggling with depression, it’s hard to imagine other people understanding exactly how you feel.  Much less experiencing it for themselves.  While mental health issues can easily come in different forms, you probably have more in common with others than you think.  At The Family Center, we don’t just treat issues like depression—we work to understand them, and you!  So, we know what it’s like to have these thoughts.

“I’m drowning!”

Most days you feel like you’re struggling just to keep your head above water, even while everyone around you seems to be paddling along just fine.  Between the stress of school, work, family, and friends, you’re drowning in responsibilities.  All of these different fears and anxieties are weighing you down, making it harder and hard to stay afloat.  When all you want to do is just swim to shore with everyone else.  The worst part is, no one seems to notice!  They don’t see you struggling or slowly slipping away.  Eventually, it starts to affect every part of you. Your physical wellbeing, your friendships, your schoolwork, and your family relationships.  While you thought you could handle it on your own, by the time you realize you can’t, you’re almost incapable of asking for help. That’s what it’s like to have depression.

“I have no control.”

It’s really hard to explain what those intrusive thoughts that accompany depression are truly like. To someone who hasn’t experienced them, they’re just unpleasant interjections that you can easily swat away with logic.  That’s how it works for a person who isn’t depressed.  Once this mental illness takes hold, though, you feel completely out of control.  The thoughts keep coming so strongly and frequently that you start to believe they’re true.  “I’m stupid; I’ll never pass this class.  Then, I’ll never get into a good college!”  “I can’t believe he really likes me.  Why would he?  No one else does.  Maybe he’s just pretending and it’s all a big joke…”

It’s natural for us to believe that what our brain is telling us is true.  We trust it to help us process information and alert us when something’s wrong.  But when you have a disorder that affects the way your brain works, it’s easy to feel powerless.  You lose the ability to differentiate between what’s real and what’s not.  You feel out of control of your own mind.  That’s what it’s like to have depression.

“I’m just numb.”

Depression isn’t always sadness.  It’s not lying in bed all day crying and using box after box of tissues.  Think of it as a feeling that extends beyond sadness. You don’t enjoy the same activities you used to.  Therefore, you have zero motivation to go out anymore.  When people ask you “What’s wrong?” you honestly don’t know how to answer them.  You don’t feel depressed.  In fact, you don’t feel much of anything.  Just a lingering numbness that causes days and months to pass by in a blur.  The only thing that breaks up the blankness is sleep.  So you wake up in the morning and pass through the day without emotion until it’s time for you to go to bed again.  That’s what it’s like to have depression.

If you’re experiencing any of the above, you’re truly not alone.  And you don’t have to feel this way.   At The Family Center, we understand a lot more than you think.  Let us work with you through this experience.  We can help you find an end to these feelings and give you control over your life again.  If you reach out, we’ll be here.

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