You say depression to someone and their mind will immediately think of someone who is sad, low, unhappy or upset. Depression to me isn’t uncontrollable crying and feelings of sadness but of course some of the time this is exactly right for many people. However, for me there is another ‘feeling’ that I experience that is very difficult to understand, it’s hard to understand because it’s so hard to explain.
How depression feels to me is an all consuming numbness. You can’t think, you can’t feel, it’s a struggle to do almost everything.
Feeling numb is a scary place to be. It’s a place I have been to so many times and it is truly frightening – not at the time – but when I have managed to get through it all and look it’s a pretty awful place to be.
Numbness really is difficult to explain. When loved ones have asked me in those time, how I am feeling I simply have to answer that “I don’t know!” Because I really don’t. I am not happy, not sad, not even mad it’s nothing! I know this comes across as strange answer, maybe even a bit annoying to some that’s why majority of the time I revert to the fail safe – “I’m fine thanks” It’s just easier. Trying to explain this numbness is exhausting. I’m scanning my brain desperately trying to grasp at something to explain this numbness but there’s nothing there to grasp. Just numbness. Coldness. Darkness. How do I even begin to explain that!
Being in this awful numb state really does effect me so much. I often isolate myself, I will make excuses, cancel all plans and avoid answering calls, texts and my front door! I feel awful for doing this and it definitely makes the depression worse but at the time I’m so consumed by it I can’t even think about it.
I am someone that always remembers things, birthdays, friends appointments, school dates for my son, yes I have the odd moment I forget but generally I am very good at keeping organised and on top of things. However, when I have reached that feeling of numbness I will forget everything. Not only birthdays and appointments but I will forget what someone might have just told me the second they finish their sentence.
I also forget things that I am saying halfway through a sentence and will answer a question forgetting instantly what the question was and even what I have answered! It feels like my mind is filled with a dense black fog preventing me from accessing anything I need too.
Another way the numbness effects me, in a really scary way is that I stop caring. I am someone that is always early – ALWAYS! But this completely changes for me and I am late a lot of the time but what’s worse is I couldn’t care less about it.
The intense numbness prevents me from caring about most things including what happens to me. I simply don’t care! I do risky things, self harm, starve myself. I just couldn’t care less. It’s such a big part of depression to me that ‘zoning out’ feeling.
I have described it to my best friend and husband as being in an invisible bubble. I am still physically there with everyone, doing the same things, in the same places but mentally and emotionally this bubble muffles it all. I am void of feeling. I hear the noise and know things are happening and going on all around me but I can’t pinpoint exactly what they are saying. My mind is somewhere else entirely. Where? I have no idea.
It’s funny as well, how people fail to notice this. I guess for me I do notice when someone is not quite present and I will ask questions, gently of course, but with me no one ever notices. Do they not care? Do they not look hard enough? Or is it simply that I am so good at hiding it all after 20 odd years that it’s almost impossible to see? I don’t know. I have worn a mask for so long know even I forget when it is on at times.
How depression feels to me is a dark, empty, lonely hole. A nothing.
I wish it was understood a bit more as I know many other people who experience this numbness, but I guess that’s why I (and many others) continue to write and talk about it. To lessen to judgement and stigma and to let other know the signs and learn how to help.
Remember to always be kind, you never know what battles people might be facing.
Love Amy xx