I was surprised as I turned on my computer this morning. I muddled through some emails, and then opened the Tiny Buddha page where one of my posts was published recently. 25 comments! I had not expected that. Reading through others’ stories, I suddenly realized, I’m not so alone! I had always thought I was “weird” with having the words “major depression” struck against my diagnosis. However, it really seems much more widespread than I imagined it to be. It’s not just me on this sinking ship.
Yet, it seems that not everyone can empathize. Some still laugh and think I should “snap out of it.”
Actually, some readers have written and asked me, “How does it actually feel when one is depressed?” A simple search on the internet gives you a list of symptoms as loss of motivation, loss of appetite, lethargy, suicide ideations etc… But these as a matter of fact theories do not do sufferers of depression any justice as to the hell they go through.
Other sufferers probably describe it differently. Some say the “dark dog”, some say the “bottomless pit of hell.” For me, it was “snow”…
In the worst days, I felt trapped under 50 feet of snow after an avalanche. I couldn’t breathe, I was squished, I couldn’t move, I didn’t know what was going on, and I couldn’t push out or up however hard I tried.
I could however, see people watching me trapped, telling me not to panic, that help is on the way. They tried to distract me from focusing on my immediate situation. They tried to tell me that I would get out soon. They tried to tell me there were others in more destitute circumstances than me.
I was trapped. I felt I was trapped. I felt there was no way out as the once beautiful snowflakes on my eyelashes solidified into boulders around me, against me. It became all dark, blindingly dark with the luminosity of the snow reflecting the sun. It stung my eyes.
Whatever anyone told me, my reality to myself was that I was trapped, and that there was no way out.
I was freezing, and it was excruciating. I was drenched in somber darkness, or is it brightness, and it just kept getting darker and deeper and darker and deeper and suddenly brighter and even more confusing. I couldn’t understand why I was stuck and why I couldn’t get out. I see the avalanche snowballing but there is no energy in my bones to run away. I couldn’t lift a finger.
I hated myself for tumbling down and getting stuck.
So the most appropriate thing to do then, in that trapped logic, was to die instead of going through the torture of confinement.
This is how it felt for me. Perhaps this is the reason why I developed some claustrophobic tendencies and do not enjoy small places, or large venues with crowds and little personal space. Crushed under, nowhere to go.
One can’t simply snap out from under 50 feet of snow.
It’s no joke.
In a destitute form like this, only we can lift ourselves up, and out.
Today yes, today I still feel like this sometimes, mulling over why I even bother to write. What’s the point of it all. But at least, I now know it’s possible to get out of this snow box bit by bit, and manage the pain and ache I have inside.
It can be done.