People often think that, when you become depressed, you begin to feel sad all the time, but that’s not so. When I fall into a “funk” (I call it a funk to make it less scary than calling it by its real name), I simply begin to feel nothing.
I’d almost rather feel sad. At least then I’d know I was responding normally to the ups and downs of being a human living with other humans on this crazy planet we call home. That absence of feeling – that void in the middle of your chest where your feelings should go, if only you had them – would be utterly terrifying if you could feel anything at all. Instead, it seems almost normal. You almost forget what it’s like to feel.
It doesn’t happen all at once, but the signs are always the same. About a month ago, I stopped going to yoga. I just couldn’t be bothered. I stopped wanting to read. I stopped cooking and cleaning. All I wanted to do was lie in bed watching Veronica Mars and escape into fictional problems that could be solved in under an hour.
At the time, I blamed it on work – my day job, my freelancing projects, and my volunteer commitments. I just didn’t have time for luxuries like yoga or reading or, some days, showering. I just wanted to relax. And as my deadlines loomed, I was feeling pretty relaxed, about everything. Truly, I thought I was just getting better at handling stress. The work would get done, or it wouldn’t. Zero fucks given.
But now that I’m flitting between the emotionless void and the soul-crushing despair that usually turns up in a bout of depression, I can see pretty clearly that I’m not handling anything. Some days are good, and some days are bad, but the depression is always there, always waiting, always plucking at the fraying ends of my life.
And I’m always there too, fighting the good fight against seemingly insurmountable odds. My voice may be small as it shouts into the darkness, but it won’t be silenced, and I won’t give up.
I’m beginning to feel again – sadness and worry and fear – but in that capacity to feel all the bad in a person comes the capacity to feel something else too: