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David Brider [userpic]

The paradox of depression

March 4th, 2013 (08:12 pm)

Depression sucks.

At its best, it's just there, chugging away in the background, keeping me company even though I've asked it repeatedly not to. I'm probably never going to be the life and soul of the party, but I can pass for reasonably contented-ish. I don't know whether it's a side-effect of my depression or part of my natural demeanour (or some combination of both), but I'm not the most smiley person in the world. I suspect I'm the sort of person that people want to say, "cheer up, it might never happen," to, even on the rare occasions when I'm feeling reasonably chipper.

But depression at its worst? How to describe that? Over the weekend, someone (by the name of @sourcitruslady) tweeted her experience of it - "Imagine trying to sew a button on while wearing mittens. Now multiply that feeling across all your senses. That's depression." I can sort of relate to that, but it's not quite how I'd describe it. My description goes something like this: it's like being stuck in a small room - no bigger than a shower cubicle, no doors, no windows, and you're hammering on the walls and screaming to get out and nobody can hear you, or if they can they're not paying you a blind bit of attention.

It's bleak. It's unremitting. It relentless. It's unforgiving.

It's broadly speaking what I've been going through since about Thursday evening, in its latest bout.

But...here's the paradox - and I know I have several friends out there who also struggle with depression, so I throw this out there partly to see if this chimes with anyone else's experiences - during the lowest of lows, I can also experience times of happiness. Reading a book, watching a DVD, listening to (or indeed recording) some music, bunging some comedy on the television - I can enjoy those. Which is a good job too, as they're my escape routes, both when I'm depressed and just in general (tidying up, or an episode of Warehouse 13..? Hmm, let me see...)

The effect may be only temporary, but, say, letting Europe's The Final Countdown blast through the car a few minutes ago when I was driving home from Tesco was a positively delirious experience. And yet, back home, out of the car, music off, and we're back to the bleak unpleasantness of depression.

Anybody else know that feeling of extreme contrasts, so soon after each other? Just for the record, I don't think I'm manic depressive - I mean, I saw the Stephen Fry documentary, and whilst I recognise the lows, the highs he and the people he spoke to described seem to be more extreme and more enduring than what I'm used to.

Anyway, I'm off to watch University Challenge. And oddly not get depressed at all the questions I can't answer...

Comments

Posted by: Tlanti (tlanti)
Posted at: March 4th, 2013 09:51 pm (UTC)

Contrasts like that are familiar territory to me. I had a moment like that on the tube home this evening - I went from feeling rather cheerful, if a bit sore and tired, to feeling like I wanted to curl up and cry.

I think the most extreme one I have had lately was in November where I felt depressed as hell for weeks and then one of my friends got Tom Hiddleston to record me a get well message and I ended up dancing around my flat (shame I can't get Tom on prescription!).

Essentially, the depression thing is why I keep myself busy as I am not handing being at home on my own for long periods at all well and being busy helps loads, even if I have to drag myself into gear when feeling crap. But I have to say I would love a happy medium where I wasn't up and down so much as that would be great!

Posted by: David Brider (davidbrider)
Posted at: March 5th, 2013 11:59 am (UTC)

I had a moment like that on the tube home this evening - I went from feeling rather cheerful, if a bit sore and tired, to feeling like I wanted to curl up and cry.

Yeah, I sometimes have really appalling (and odd, if I'm honest) moment when I'm out shopping and I just want to burst into tears.

...shame I can't get Tom on prescription!

Have you asked the NHS? They might be amenable..!

Essentially, the depression thing is why I keep myself busy...

Yeah, it probably doesn't help that at the moment I'm taking time off work with it 'cos I'm feeling so low, but as a result of that, I'm not really doing much. I think I might have a shower, get dressed, and just go for a walk - the weather's really lovely, and actually getting out there might cheer me up.

Posted by: Stacey (geekslave)
Posted at: March 4th, 2013 10:50 pm (UTC)
arthur watches merlin

Your description of depression fits my experience more than that other person's.

I definitely experience the mood swings. For awhile, I did worry about being manic depressive or something, but like you I don't really experience the highs to an extreme degree. But it's definitely weird to be feeling so funky and horrible and you watch an episode of your favorite TV show or read something you like and it does take you out of it for a moment. For me, the biggest thing that would make me giddy would be listening to upbeat music.

Stacey

Posted by: kharma2815 (kharma2815)
Posted at: March 4th, 2013 11:46 pm (UTC)

My depression tends to manifest itself as a need to shut myself away from the world and a complete and utter disbelief that anybody could ever like me let alone love me while, at the same time, knowing that it's complete and utter crap.

At it's worst I have to force myself to get out of the bed in the morning and to get dressed. Those are the days when I spend a lot of time curled up with my knitting and my precious fur-babies. Somehow, when you've got a Labrador looking at you like you're the most important person in the world, nothing seems so bad.

But then you'll be sitting there feeling like the world's about to come to an end and your favourite song comes on the radio and, just for a minute, you smile and it's those moments that remind me that, no matter how crap I feel right at that moment, I have the capacity to feel happy and I just have to wait the depressive episode out.


Edited at 2013-03-04 11:50 pm (UTC)

Posted by: David Brider (davidbrider)
Posted at: March 5th, 2013 11:54 am (UTC)

My depression tends to manifest itself as a need to shut myself away from the world...

Same here. Well, people in person, I need to distance myself from. I can cope with my online life. Which is a good job too - it's my lifeline!

...and a complete and utter disbelief that anybody could ever like me let alone love me while, at the same time, knowing that it's complete and utter crap.

I think I must be really lucky - I have a lot off issues with low self-esteem, but they're not (as far as I can tell, at least) heavily linked with the depression. If I had both hit me at the same time, it'd be appalling.

Somehow, when you've got a Labrador looking at you like you're the most important person in the world, nothing seems so bad.

*g* Whenever Sarah's not around, I have a couple of cuddly toys that I hug. :-)

Posted by: CCA (ciciaye)
Posted at: March 6th, 2013 04:51 pm (UTC)

Somehow, when you've got a Labrador looking at you like you're the most important person in the world, nothing seems so bad.

I feel like that with my cat, especially when she asks for a cuddle :-)

Posted by: CCA (ciciaye)
Posted at: March 6th, 2013 04:50 pm (UTC)

Depression is rotten. I hope this bout goes away for you soon.

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