What Does Depression Feel Like?
Answers from those dealing with depression
A community project was created from a forum thread that really struck a tone as being the best real life explanation of what it was like to deal with depression. Volunteers from the SF community read and recorded the descriptions from real people, all over the world, on what it felt like having to live with depression. These recordings were put together to compile a video that will help people that do suffer from depression realize they are not alone and people that do not suffer from depression realize depression is a lot more than just feeling sad.
Answers from the community and from around the world
I’ve read about people that compared depression to a black dog that had them by the throat- for me its quicksand that pulls me in and holds me tight, fighting to keep my head above the dirt is exhausting… And it’s relentless.
It is like waves after wave after wave just hitting me, with no space in between. I feel so lost, so hopeless. I have nothing to grab ahold of or someone to offer me a hand.
It is just darkness. Deep and eternal darkness.
It is like I’m drowning. I can’t get enough air to help me breathe. There is no way I can get enough air in my lungs. I try but I can’t breathe I feel like I’m going to die before I draw breath.
A dusty room that smells awful and has mold growing everywhere. That you know you have to touch it to clean it up. But you look around and everywhere there is box after box of junk to sort out first. And you don’t know where to start. Because there’s so much.
Meanwhile the TV is on in the background, muted, and you see everyone else in real life on it, with clean floors going about their life outside. And you feel like you will die in this window covered room.
Like a giant accusing finger poking me in the chest and holding me down.
The monster is fucking real man, and I’m so glad I found a place where people understand me when I say I’m drowning in dirt and tired of the fight.
It’s me. I can’t help but see it this way. He is omnipresent, ostensibly omnipotent, and everything that is undesirable and contemptible–yet I am the disturbance in this “utopia.” With his ever-fixed, incapacitating glare, he is looking down on me. He longs to cut me down. However, he is reluctant–either that or he’s sadistically perpetuating my death. Perhaps either one of us could be speaking.
It is a thick fog, or haze, everything I see visually looks duller and less brilliant, when it gets too much and I have to do something, self-harm clears the haze away, it literally instantly lifts the fog for a minute or so and every color is bright again and I can actually see clearly again.
It’s like a close friend that is toxic to me… When it hugs me it makes me feel down. When it’s near me… It makes me feel insecure, afraid, and distance… When it talks to me it makes me think the way I shouldn’t… Even when it still does this to me… I still come and play with this “friend” of mine.
The monster of depression feels like it’s just a big chain around my heart that is pulling me down with gravity. Mentally but also physically, I don’t know if it’s just me but when the darkest feelings really hit, my heart actually physically aches. And there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s just a chain with a lock on it and nobody has the key and nobody ever will.
A dark, soul sucking, evil spirit that has followed me for as long as I remember. I can never get rid of it fully.
“My monster” is inside me, sometimes taking over everything inside and pushing the “real me” out and when things are more controlled “I” get more space to be in control. Rereading this, it sounds like I am both out of my mind and body.
Thick approaching darkness and moving shadows. Our spirit, our hope and life and light that is inside, is a little light that grows weaker like a flame.
Depression is a vampire. It sucks the life out of you and turns you into this thing that sucks the life out of others.
Depression is like a twin. As long as I can remember it was always here, next to me. We play, we fight, sometimes the one I win, sometimes the other I. Sometimes I get rid of the twin but I miss I whenever it stays away too long. The depression still is the more creative partner in our team.
It definitely is like waves. Like the tsunami planet in interstellar perhaps. The bit when it is calm and shallow contains confusion and anxiety, and then the tsunami is so powerful and deadly. When I am wiped out by depression and can do nothing except stay in bed (so I get through it without self-harming) it is a bit like being underwater being tossed about and not knowing when I will be able to think straight if ever. But not dying from it. That is the worst. Not dying. When it is that bad. But then the wave begins to subside and it returns to the in between time. Readjusting is hard. Trying to relax between waves. Then I get manic. Which is a horror for those around me. They give me that look of fearful apprehension waiting for the next dive into debilitating depression. It is all so tiring.
I am choking and there is a feeling of emptiness in my chest coming up in my throat and breathing feels difficult.
It’s like that old Batman episode where all the walls, ceiling and floor are closing in all around me as pressures increase…
An uninvited guest, but not one with bad intentions. Like one you accidentally invite in because you felt bad for it and then you regret. Like in the movie, Spirited Away when Chihiro let No-face into the bathhouse. Sometimes Depression becomes volatile and everything it touches turns gray including me. Other times I can make it so submissive it’s like it’s barely even there. But it will never leave me. It is my No-face.
It like quicksand. I’m always fighting it and if I’m calm and cool enough then I’m winning but if I start to lose my shit then it’ll quickly start to crumble and all fall apart pretty fast. Then I’ve got to make my way back out of it again, which is sooo soooo freaking hard. It’s easier to just try to stay on top as much as possible, to keep the calm, and float on the surface, rather than get sucked down. I’ve got to be really careful not to fall down the hole for too long or I’ll stay there and be stuck for who knows how long – weeks, months, and years.
It’s like a cold, dark empty space in the chest where something should be, like you were born with a missing part which belongs in there. The cold empty space is like a black hole that sucks any good or positivity straight away from you and leaves only the cold lonely darkness. It’s never ending and it’s stronger then you and won’t let you hang on to any happiness, if something good happens if you feel positive it will rip those good things away. It’s like it has a mind of its own, it is always watching you and it wants you to hate yourself as much as it hates you, it wants you to die.
There is always a fog, the red river use to help clear the fog, but now it has become just another part of the landscape.
Community Credits –
Ghostea – Sound Engineer
Cgh0991 – Video Sequences
Voices provided by – ghostea … cgh0991 … Brian777 … AlexiMarie7 … Greying … brightlight … Polly Anne … Witty_Sarcasm … Kiwi2016 … Kira
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