Depression is a disease of loneliness I have suffered for ten years, the past three of those medicated. It’s difficult to explain. Especially when pressed with questions why, when outside life appears so “normal” to everyone around me. There are no fevers, no rashes, no blood tests to send people scurrying in concern. Just the slow erosion of the self, as insidious as any cancer. And like cancer, is it essentially a solitary experience. A room in hell with only my name on the door.
Some days I feel sad without knowing why. Somewhere along an incredible night out, the darkness overwhelms me and I find myself lost… in my own head. It feels like I’ve lost something very precious, but forgot what it was, like I miss someone I’ve never even met. There’s something missing and I can’t stop my mind from running a hundred miles a minute. I’m so tired but I can’t sleep, I can’t stop what I feel inside, and then begin the questions from those around me,“Jess, you’ve gone all quiet, what’s wrong?” And the questions begin to form in my own head amongst all the chaos, circling round and round, I think to myself “What the fuck is wrong with you, can’t you control your own thoughts?” I’m zoning out more and more as the questions and concerned faces appear before me every time I open my eyes. I’m trying to get rid of this, snap myself back into reality, but I’m so lost now, I don’t know what reality is.
It’s heartbreaking to give words to your pain only to find that pain unaffected by articulation. Maybe that’s why I write so much. I’m so well grounded, I protect myself from anyone wanting me to let them in; and the sad irony is that I’m not the one who ends up unaffected. It’s a betrayal – the betrayal inherent in arts and philosopher’s clear description of what they cannot improve. This disease state in my unconscious thoughts; I begin playing games with myself until I’m stuck in stale mate. I can’t move, I can’t think, I can’t rid this from me.
Psychoanalysis can look to early experiences and trauma; social theory can pin things on an emotional style, or on my unknown fears. Behaviorists can blame the way I process my experiences, or the stories I tell himself. Neurobiologists can comment on the rate at which serotonin is taken up in my brain. All you can say for sure is that the clues I give of being depressed look smaller to you than the depression they mark turn out to be.