Some people may never comprehend how a person can numb their emotions. Some people may never get what that feels like. Some people will never understand self-harm or why people do it. Truth is, depression is not an easy thing to grasp for those who don’t experience it. It can come out of nowhere and cripple us. It can make us think things and do things that seem unreasonable to others. It’s like if depression alone isn’t bad enough, others have to make it harder. I’m here to tell you you’re not alone, and I won’t make it harder. I’m writing to help explain how you might be feeling or thinking, or what you might be going through. I’m writing to tell you what I’m feeling, thinking, and going through. Through my personal experiences and education in psychology, I might be able to give you some answers. I might be someone you can relate to. Maybe I’ll help you understand what you’re feeling because “numb” or “hollow” doesn’t cut it. Maybe my metaphors will hit home for you. If this paragraph still hasn’t convinced you to keep reading, maybe this will: depression is the shadow casted by the act we put on to hide our pain, rejection, insecurities, and darkness. I am here to tell you that everyone has darkness in them, but not everyone shows it. Because of that, darkness has become a stigma. So why don’t we make not talking about our darkness the stigma instead?
I battle depression, however not many people know this. I hide my depression quite well because no one would understand why I am depressed. After all, I have a family, a big house, I go to the FAU Honors College, I have many friends and one best friend, I am involved in campus, I know what career I want to pursue. My life does not suck, but I am depressed, and people will not understand that. So instead I act happy and make jokes and make sure people around me have a good time because who wants to deal with the depressed me? But depression is a pretty vague term. So, what do I mean when I say I am depressed? What does that feel like for me?
I think I am always mildly depressed, like I always feel a heaviness. But when I experience a depressive episode, it’s quite extreme. I get suicidal ideation, I self-harm, I detach from my emotions and numb, all I want to do is sleep, I don’t eat, and I feel sad all the time. Emotions and feelings have been hard for me for a few years now. For example, it’s hard for me to feel love, happiness, and sometimes even sadness. I want to love someone, but I can’t feel that emotion. I want to be sad when my friend is going through a hard time, but I can’t feel sad. Often times this throws me into a depressive episode. If I hurt someone, like a friend or a guy who has feelings for me, that may make me spiral into a depressive episode. Other times it’s random and there is no cause for my depressive episode. Whatever the reason may be for my episode, there are two things I do to try and deal with it.
Journaling has become my favorite thing to do to help me with my depression. It is my own safe space where I can write about my darkness. I can write down all my thoughts, feelings, struggles, behaviors and emotions, all totally uncensored. Sometimes if I can’t explain or describe how I’m feeling or what I’m thinking, I’ll come up with a metaphor and draw that in my journal. For example, one time when I was having a hard time knowing what I was thinking, I closed my eyes and saw a room with words written all over the wall. The room was my mind, and the words were things I thought about myself, such as “broken”, certain things I did, like “self-harm”, and things I thought defined me, like “sexual assault”. I drew this room with all the words written on the walls in my journal and I felt better afterwards.
Another thing that helps is talking about my darkness. I talk to my therapist and my best friend about it, but I would feel so free and so much better if I could tell my family, other friends, and everyone else about my darkness. I’m tired of hiding it and it makes me feel alone when I do. But I am changing that. I am going to be myself from now on because there is nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing wrong with my darkness, and there is nothing wrong with me. I am here to tell you that the same goes for you. Everyone has some darkness in them, and if we would all talk about it, we might see we are not as different as we may think. I hope you will join me in talking about darkness, and maybe we will encourage others to do the same.
Image credit: Nika Akin