What Does Depression Feel Like –

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 … Kira75 

 

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28 Comments

  • Before I developed a serious physical illness last year, I’d never experiened even one day of depression in my life. I thought depression was just sadness overstated. How wrong I was. I could no longer work, my marriage collapsed, I lost my home, my health spiralled down and down, and all the hope that I’d had for the future vanished. I went from being a busy, happy, chatty, optimistic person to someone who struggles to wash and make something to eat. At this moment in time, each each day seems like torture. But Im still here and thats thanks in no small part to the amazingly kind, supportive, and understanding folk on SF.
    I know that I have a brain disorder (which Im awaiting a third MRI for) that will make life harder and harder. But I also think that we are much more resilient than we give ourselves credit for being. I still have stuff I want to do in life, even if I have to do it through a constant cascade of intrusive neurological symptoms. Ive had to go on a special (i.e. boring) vegan diet that can help slow the progression of the illness. Like I say on my tag line in SF, “never give up. Even if you have to eat vegan cheese”.
    I know Im not a strong person, but I know that with help we can all get through the toughest of times. So please dont ever give up. Get help, speak to friends, be kind to yourself, and maybe pop into SF and say hello. keep fighting because things will nearly always start to feel easier and who knows maybe even happiness will weadle its way back into your life.
    best wishes
    Bob

    • Depression to me is many things:
      * being in a room with friends and exciting things going on….and while I used to be social you have a fake smile on and just want to crawl in bed and put a cover on…even if your not tired.

      * seeing people outside from your window and hating yourself because you just can’t make yourself go outside to do anything.

      * It is avoiding phone calls and texts because you are already so mentally exhausted and don’t want to fake happy.

      • Exactly how I feel. I don’t wish this darkness on anyone.
        I had two attempts. Last one was in Iraq. I forgot the round was not loaded into chamber because I forgot I discharged it after I returned from across the wire. This constant sadness also affects my short-term memory. Called my wife after the attempt and just made it worse for her. I realized relatives feel a lot of pain too.

    • Bob…I just want to tell you that YOU ARE A STRONG PERSON!!! People who suffer with this illness are the strongest people I know!!!💟💟💟

    • Hear you and sympathise our lives are a darkness that involve searching for that light daily most days our minds tell us not to be selfish and stupidly we agree.

  • Depression to me is like drowning in a sea of darkness, emptiness. You lose hope, nothing to hold on to, no one to speak to, it’s like screaming out your lungs but no one can hear you. You feel lost and you just let everything go. Nothing makes sense, everything seems to hold you down. This heavy pressure of self pity and self hate weighing down on your chest, dragging you down. Everyone seems to be better than you and better off without you. It’s suffocating and so painful. It’s like you’re lost permanently in the darkness, slowly fading away. You know you want it to stop but you suddenly feel weak and powerless in front of this giant monster od self criticism and hate. Nothing seems to go your way and you can’t help but hate yourself wishing you could disappear. You feel pathetic and worthless. It’s painful and it feels permanent. No one seems to hear your cries as you break down. You think you don’t deserve it and you’re simply not worth it. Endless pain, you lose your confidence, self esteem , everything.

    • I am this ‘You’. I don’t know how to get help, I don’t know how to tell people that i need help. I made this one mistake, years ago, that made me spiralling to the bottom, I don’t know if it’s the rock bottom or if it’s just going to get worse.

  • I have no idea where to start…
    I am a severely depressed person , who is great at pretending. I go about my days, i dress well, I do things but I am sad , lonely and each one of my daily tasks are a chore.
    I wonder how people are happy, why am I not. I read articles that says you are responsible for your happiness but I barely can do anything when i get home.

    I lost my boyfriend over my depression! he was suppose to help then he left…

    I don’t blame him , I understand but all I know support and love would make a difference .

    It certainly would have or could have made a difference in my life.

    I calm my nerves by thinking about suicide, I would be in control finally. how great that would be …

    ….

    • I agree with you sahar I too am so depressed , lonely yet surrounded by a loving family that has know idea of the silent pain I feel every day. I have been married for almost 35 years to a man that adores me. You would think that is enough and I tell myself that it should be but even he cannot see my daily pain I hide it so well . I feel so unormal, I feel like I don’t belong, I have no friends, I am so lonely. Dead would be light a giant sigh of relief.

  • I mean,honestly I am a very depressed person.I have had some crazy crap in the past that I won’t explain.I honestly just fake a smile everywhere i go.I have thoughts about suicide every once in awhile.Even though I am depressed,my parents don’t even know I am.I just fake like I’m not broken and tired on the inside everyday.It is actually getting hard to pretend to be happy when I can’t feel it.I have tried suicide many times but I almost got caught or I just couldn’t do it.I dont know why.But every day I just contemplate on how life would be without me while listening to sad music.I feel like I’m the person who is still left out all the time at school.I feel like I can’t tell my mom or parents that I’m depressed because I think that they will try to get me soooo much help that I won’t be comfortable with.I wouldn’t listen anyway.I feel like I’m drowning into the darkness.I know I need help but I don’t want it.I’m just broken like that.

    • Isabella,

      Don’t give up. Let your parents know you’re having trouble with depression and see any Dr they want you to see, depression can be somewhat controlled. I’ve suffered from depression now for over 20 years. For several of those years it’s been pretty well under control with medications, but recently had a set back and it’s worse this time than ever in the past. I’m maxed out on 2 anti depressants and my family Dr. won’t put me on anything else except Wellbutrin. I can’t take Wellbutrin because it makes me sick at my stomach to the point I can’t even sit up. My family Dr. has been trying to get me in to see a psychiatrist now for going on 4 weeks without any luck. He feels more comfortable letting a psychiatrist change my medications than doing it himself. Either they won’t accept my insurance because it’s managed medicare or they think I’m using this as a tactic to try to get drugs for recreational use. I know it feels like Hell but you just have to be stronger than it is. Recently I was so down I felt like I could no longer smile or laugh and stayed that way for weeks and I was lucky if I could get a couple hours sleep per night. Finally one night I got the idea to look up funny stories on the internet and believe it or not a few of them actually made me laugh and since I’ve been feeling a little bit better although depression’s still got a good hold on me. I’m not trying to be critical, but let me suggest to you that you stop listening to sad music and find something that’s more upbeat and is the way you want to feel and not the way you’re feeling now. Hey, even try my method search the net for funny stories or jokes it can’t hurt and will hopefully do you some good like it did me. This is about all I can tell you and hopefully it will help. Don’t be ashamed to tell your parents, I’m sure they love you and want what’s best for you. Never feel like you’re alone in this battle there are millions of people like you and myself that suffers from this monster of a disease. I hope something I’ve said has been able to help you in some way. Take any and all help that’s available, you’re not broken it’s just the depression telling you that. Kick that green eyed monster in the nuts!!
      Reply

      static

  • I used tho love art and writing novels. I wrote poetry at times but reading them over is an out of body experience. I think, did I write this? I forget things I write often and when I read it after finding it weeks later, even months.. I cry at the words. People tell me to talk to a therapist and friends. Firstly, I have social anxiety Thu extremes. I see the life draining in my boyfriend’s eyes. He’s tired of me, I’m sure. I have not one friend. I never cared tho make any knowing my tie on earth will be short. The air in the world feels hopeless and shallow. I can’t breathe. I basically quit my job, the best job in thus weird. Online working, selling art professionally. Only years ago, I was a teen living with parents who were high and drunk non stop.and my dad, who molested me as a child. He never hurt us, my sister and I. But I saw my mom being drowned among other things I hate bringing up. I had my first sex abuse flashback at age 20 (23 now) and my mom and sister refused tho believe me. My duster raised me so it hurt more than mom not believing me. I miss my holidays this year and last year because I felt too weird around my dad. Which no one cared. My hearts broken. I see college kids outside so happy and I won’t nothing tho Rio with that ever. I’ve accepted a short life. I met a man pure and amazing. He can’t get me to leave this house…. His eyes are tired. I want to free them and myself of this

  • My depression is hard to explain. It’s hard to understand. Even for me. I don’t know how it feels because there is nothing to feel. Just a dull aching pain inside of me. I don’t know where this pain is coming from and I don’t know why it hurts but it feels like there’s this thing just clawing at my insides. Clawing at the shell of the person I used to be. And the only way to calm this monster is to mark and scar the shell and make it even shallower. I fear that one day the shell will break and this thing will crawl out of me wreaking all sorts of havoc and just being more of a burden to everyone else than I already am. And I feel guilty about feeling this way because I know that I am in a pretty good place in life and there are people who are worse off than me but I can’t help feeling this way. And I just know that I’m alone. Just going through every day is torture in and of itself… and it’s hard to make it from one day to the next… but I can’t turn to anyone about this because they’ll either worry about me or send me back to therapy to try to “explain” my feelings when even I don’t know what’s causing it. They keep looking for a cure that isn’t there and when I try to tell them this they just don’t listen. That’s why I just pretend like nothing’s wrong. Every day I go through with everything with a smile on my face and a laugh on my lips so no one can see how painful it is to force that smile and how exhausting it is to keep laughing.

    • Exactly how I feel. The sad part of this all is, I sometimes think i can help someone going through depression more than anyone can help me or I can help myself and it makes me feel even more alone in my depression. I wish i could just be content with myself, my life and live so happily like my parents and sibling do. I come from a loud, big and outgoing family and Im great at pretending to be just like every one of them but on the inside I feel completely empty, just full of shit, fake and worthless. I truly can never see myself without depression, I don’t think i’ll ever be happy like when I was an innocent kid. I feel stuck in this dark hole and I’m not sure how much of It I can take anymore. My first attempt wasnt successful, it just landed me 4 panful days in the ER and I never want to do that again so my next attempt, whenever it is, will be a sucess because i hate this pain. I hate living with my guilt and feeling alone and having to explain something i dont even understand to people who dont even understand. It’s all too much and Im just so tired of everything. Sorry this is so depressing 🙁

  • Laughter pours from under doors in this house I don’t understand that sound no more it seems artificial like a TV set. I have lost everything, but I still have somthing, anything, the smallest of things…the simplest of things, the reason my breath comes and goes although I don’t want it too…my heart beat and breath know not of my troubled mind, they just continue on dutifly, like a factory line worker. Complacent completing their task, No questions asked. Untill the are forced to retire. By god , damit. Someday I will be no longer, just rest. Life is such a odd job, but I don’t have the nerve to quit. I win the lottery with every breath. Was it is so hard to appreciate it when everything is soooooooo fucking dark. Probability of you being born:

    one in 10*2,685,000

    As a comparison, the approximate number of atoms in the known universe is 10*80.

    So what’s the probability of your being born? It’s the probability of 2.5 million people getting together — about the population of San Diego — each to play a game of dice with trillion-sided dice. They each roll the dice — and they all come up the exact same number — say, 550,343,279,001.

    A miracle is an event so unlikely as to be almost impossible. By that definition, I’ve just proven that you are a miracle.

    So I am a miricle, you are a miricle spinning on a huge rock imperfectly spherical. Why is it sooo fu@cking easy to be. Sinical. I’m in the deepest of low’s well fair weather facebook friends dance on their perfect pinicles. If we all saw what went on behind the closed doors. I compare my behind the scenes footage with all their highlight reel. Hold on, pain ends in time even the worst scars heel.

  • It’s like you can’t relate to people all of a sudden. You look at happy people and just don’t want to fake happy and choose to just not socialize because I don’t even wish this darkness on my worst enemy.
    I’m not depressed because I’m bad looking. I’m actually good-looking and in excellent health and have athletic body. I did the college thing and finished ROTC, got married to a beautiful wife. Because i love people and wish them happiness, I try not to talk to them because this sadness that already led me to two suicide attempts is something I don’t want to share. But it is true what they say, life actually does flash before your eyes…literally during the attempt. There are memories in our subconscious that I never saw until I held the gun to my trmole and pulled the trigger. The pin strike was in slow motion even though it was just a second. My clip was loaded but I forgot I cleared the chamber earlier after returning to base in Iraq. Another thing depression affects is memory.
    I called my wife and just made it worse. I wish I just pulled the trigger again second because I made worry, deprived her of sleep, and my emptiness and emotional pain is still there.
    I hate myself but wish only happiness to others. I usually make people smile or laugh but after the spells of loneliness, I just can’t anymore. Such a heavy heart and it’s a struggle that’s there forever. I think all the jokes people make are phony and not even funny. Either people are not genuine and doing a public act or I am really depressed. I hate alcohol and drugs but alcohol is the only thing that can make me feel normal momentarily. I hope I can relate to others with this story because this shit is real.

  • Depression is like being coated in glue, or treacle. I know it sounds weird, but stay with me on this one.
    – Its thick and heavy. Its so difficult to carry around. Every movement is slow and it aches.
    – It feels like I stick out. If you were covered in glue or treacle people would stare at you, judge you. It feels that way with depression.
    – Its disgusting.
    – It covers your view. You cant see whats really in front of you.
    – It controls everything you do. There’s no way of getting away from it. You can’t go out, can’t talk to people, concentrate because its always there.
    – You can’t breathe properly. Every breath is heavy, sticky. It feels like you’re suffocating.

  • As a child it was having a best friend who meant no less than the world to me, knit to my heart like a brother…and moving across town and then having to grow apart from him, a hole in my heart where my brother had been. It was watching my single mother marry a man who didn’t think much of me, who on one occasion put his hands on me and threatened to kill me, but nonetheless watching my mom who used to be there for me downplay the incident and later blame me for not being forgiving. It’s bearing the burden of keeping the peace, and not triggering such a reaction from him again, even as he continued beating down my will in more subtle ways.

    It’s dealing with obsessive thoughts that can cause me great spiritual anxiety. As a Christian it’s being gay…sexually attracted to other guys, and maybe having to choose between eternal hell, or growing old alone. It’s going back and forth that maybe God is okay with me trying to find someone…maybe not, even as I have no judgment in my heart towards others in same sex relationships.

    At the same time, growing up it was doing extremely well in school, getting near perfect grades and not causing trouble. It was being the kid that outwardly showed no signs of needing help, and inwardly needing it desperately, but desperately anxious as to how others would respond to my problems.

    And as an adult, it’s even more anxiety and shame that I’m not over some of this. It’s worrying even now about posting this what people will think of me, even though all this is anonymous. It’s still living at home despite knowing it’s not the ideal situation, but having no clue where else I should go. It’s knowing I don’t belong at my current place of employment, but also knowing I worked for several years to even attain a full time job and not wanting to mess up the opportunity. It’s knowing that moving away weds me closer to this job, yet backing off and finding part time work elsewhere wouldn’t be sustainable.

    It’s having all these stressors in my head and not being able to sort them out and take action to make any of it better.

  • If depression was a person, he/she would follow me around everywhere and always whisper to me, things that make me sad. Sometimes I can’t hear him/her, but I’d know he/she is there

  • Depression sometimes makes me feel out of my mind, I feel like i have no control over everything but I just have to smile through for the sake of others. I could spend my day out pretending to be fine and come home and fall apart. I grab my hair and pull it really hard cos I feel is me telling myself I’m not good enough and i’m not worthy of existence. When I was first medically diagnosed about 6 or 7 months ago I had no suicidal thoughts or wanting to hurt myself. And then they came, I woke every day disappointed and in pain, and because no one could see it no one understood so I’d feel crazy by just skimming and only telling someone the lighter stuff and seeing their reaction. I’ve tried counselling, I tried medication, which I subsequently overdosed on. A month ago was the first time I thought about physically hurt myself to stop the pain, ironic. I imagined myself using a knife and digging it in to me cos i thought it would calm me down. I didn’t do it, I tried to work through it. Everytime I feel like I’ve taken a step forward I take 3 back. I’m hurting and I don’t know why. I imagine killing myself almost everyday, I dont but slowly things are gonna change, things get worse and I feel like I’m sinking and everyones watching, I’m losing control of myself and it just makes me erratic

  • I am a 52 year old single man. I have had depression in my life since I was 10 years old. I’ve never been able to shake it. I always know when a bout of depression is coming. For me it’s like I’m always under a grey sky with a big black cloud that is depression, hovering nearby. It gets closer a day or two before I’m hit full-on hard with it. I used to have more friends than I can count. Now I can count them on my fingers. My sister could not deal with me and she cut me out of her life years ago. The only other family I have is a brother in England who I am mostly honest with him about what’s happening in my life. I’ve been seeing doctors and counsellors for years and for a time they helped. Not anymore. My life holds no joy. I laughed at a joke a friend said the other day and he stopped shocked, telling me he couldn’t remember the last time he heard me laugh. My weight gain is obscene. I’m 6’5″ and 400# at last check. I’m on 16 assorted prescriptions. My favourite time of day is after 5pm so i can be alone in a room and not be disturbed. Have I considered suicide? More and more lately. About 30 years ago I bought a cemetery plot so I could be buried near my parents and grandparents. Now Im pricing out funeral costs so I can go quick and easy without needing anyones help. Every day hurts and they are becoming harder and harder to get through without breaking down into tears. i honestly see no point in going on. will I take my life? I’m not sure. I think i just want to be prepared in case I do. I feel so old, so tired, too tired to continue.

  • My heart feels like its shriveling up and turning black, its hard to breath, my chest is heavy.

    Tell someone they say, talk to someone…. then they just look at you with pity, they carnt actually help and they sit there wondering why. Meanwhile you just spiral down faster because they’re feeding the darkness.

    God I’m just so tired, keeping this smile while they are watching is so exhausting.

  • Depression for me is a prospective attitude that focuses on comparison and your context within that state
    it’s a permanence of anxiety and insecurity due to my status socially financially and relationships my behaviour is awkward as if I am out of tune sometimes it goes unnoticed other times it’s like being caught by an air of disapproval that makes you scurry off into corner

  • I don’t know the difference between depression and learned helplessness. In my case, what I feel is there is no way out. I’ve been racking my brain to explore different solutions and, in the end, I ran out of ideas. I have no more energy left. I even need to lean on something when I have to be standing. All that I had passion for has been or is being taken away from me. I don’t dare to crave anything for this very yearning for it seems to kill it.
    And yes, you have to pretend nothing ‘s wrong because otherwise people say you have a bad energy. But this “thing” lets itself see anyway – in my case, the entropy inside burst outside: my beloved house is a mess, dirty …
    There’s something else: guilt. People insist you’re not trying hard enough to overcome it. As there is no external sign, it means to them there’s no such illness but laziness. I used to get mad at them. That sense of fury gave me a sudden shot of energy and I felt alive again… at least, for a while. But now I see myself indifferent to almost everything. I would make mine Hamlet’s words: “How weary stale flat and unprofitable seem to me all the uses of this world. ‘Tis an unweeded garden that grows to seed; things rank and gross in nature possess it merely.”

  • For me it’s being locked up inside this huge empty crystal ball… all the time i get to see people passing by as if i didn’t exist, i just sit there and feel hopeless constantly giving up on life but sometimes i feel like screaming scratching kicking crying for help but no one ever notice. And then i give up again and again. It never stops is one endless loop of myself alone giving up after failing. It hurts so bad

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