Comfort in the dark place

Fighting depression and fighting through the day with depression have become two very different experiences in my mind, and the distinction is very important.

When I first realized I had depression, I didn’t really know what it was because it was just normal to me. I had been walking around with undiagnosed depression and anxiety disorders for years, subconsciously learning to get through the day and do “normal people” things from a young age. Perhaps I was fighting it, maybe I was just living with it – it is hard to know when none of it was on purpose.

But since I’ve learned more about my issues, I’ve discovered how hard it is to really fight depression; to dig to discover its roots and work to reshape them into positive feelings, building on those to help keep depressing thoughts from coming back.

Most of the time, I just fight through the day with depression, and hope that the day will distract me enough that I will shake off that ugly feeling I wake up with every morning – but that distraction doesn’t always come. Sometimes, the days keep coming and going and the depression stays right with me.

I can fight the urge to not get out of bed in the morning, but I certainly wouldn’t mind getting back in there. I’ll go watch your favorite sports or TV shows, but all I can do is focus on the annoying commentary or lazy humor. I can eat my favorite foods, but can’t get over how unhealthy they are. I could talk to my friends about the feeling, but eventually I feel like I’m just burdening them.

Then it starts to get comfortable.

It’s dark and it’s lonely, but when I get used to being in the dark all by myself, it feels like the smallest bit of glow is the brightest a light can be. Buying groceries, doing laundry, or finally replacing that busted light bulb become enough to feel accomplished. And sometimes those are accomplishments when you’ve got depression breathing down your neck, but they don’t make it go away.

The next time I hear someone say “I booked a vacation” or “I’ve lost 10 pounds” or “my partner and I are planning to (insert literally anything)”, I can’t help but think “and all you did today was throw some dirty clothes into a machine”, and the depression starts all over. So I start to avoid those situations where I even talk to anyone or learn about their lives. I get comfortable going back to my darkness.

It sucks but it’s easier sometimes to just be sad; to feel sorry for yourself rather than do something about it. That’s the trap I’ve fallen into from time to time.

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