Depression is an illness. A terrible, debilitating, life threatening illness. It sucks all joy from your life. It leaves you anxious, afraid and empty.
When you are depressed, your mind won’t shut down. It is on a constant cycle of worrying. You worry about everything. You cannot stop worrying, no matter how hard you try.
Alongside the worrying, you have a persistent voice inside your head. This voice tells you there is no point to anything anymore. It tells you you’d be better off dead. It urges you, constantly, to kill yourself.
You cannot shut your mind down. You cannot shut the voice up. You try, but they are stronger than you are.
Every living moment is horror. Time slows down. Every second is a minute, every minute an hour. The days are endless periods of extended hell.
You see your reflection in the mirror but it doesn’t feel like you. It doesn’t feel like you because there is no you. Right now, you are empty; this empty feeling inside you is worse than anything. It’s worse than the never-ending anxiety and fear. It’s worse than that persistent voice shouting at you all the time.
Your body is empty and there’s a dark shadow in the centre of your brain. You want to stick your hands inside your head and drag that shadow out. But you can’t do that. You can’t do anything because you are useless and everyone would be better off if you weren’t here.
You cannot bear living like this because it’s the furthest thing from living. You want to die because anything is better than this. All you can think about is ending it, but when you try to do this you fail. You are angry with yourself for not being able to go through with it. You are angry with anyone close to you who has intervened and tried to stop you.
Depression is an illness.
Yet too often when we hear someone is suffering from depression, our first reaction is ‘why?’. It’s a normal response. We want to understand what’s caused someone to suffer like this. If we can understand, maybe we can take precautions to make sure we protect ourselves and our loved ones from suffering in the same way.
When someone has cancer, or appendicitis, or tonsillitis, or arthritis, or osteoporosis or any other physical illness our first response is rarely to ask what caused the condition.
There are many reasons someone can suffer from depression – environmental factors, a genetic predisposition, a chemical imbalance in the brain, or sheer bad luck. Whatever the reasons, the simple fact remains: depression is an illness. People get sick all the time. There is no reason for this. Bad things happen.
Sometimes, there is no why.