It’s a depressing word, isn’t it? It’s also one that is used by people when referring to everyday life, which is why the clinical meaning is so little understood by the general populace.
I hear people saying things like: “Everybody gets depressed at times: it’s no big deal.” They are referring to things that happen in their lives that they can cope with. That is why it is no great concern. They then transfer these feelings onto someone who is clinically depressed and think that they should be the same: well, they’re not.
Yesterday, I could barely force myself to collect my daughter from school. Why was that? I had plunged into one of my deep lows. At times like that, I have no interest in anything, even being alive. I struggle to concentrate on what people are saying and want no contact with anybody, not out of anything antisocial in the usual sense, but because I am incapable of interacting with others. I know that I will appear standoffish, surly and resentful. So I deliberately set off so as to arrive slightly late: that way I avoided the need to engage in conversation.
This may seem strange but there are times when I can’t even read a bedtime story for my daughter. I can see the words and I know how to pronounce them but the link between brain and vocal cords is severed. If I try to speak, at best I stammer, and mumble: at worst, nothing comes out of my mouth except unintelligible grunts. I become paranoid and pessimistic in the extreme. I can’t speak to friends at these times and so I cut myself off from the only source of help that I have. I even know that I am doing this, which exacerbates my frustration.
Yesterday, I was like this: today I am not. Yesterday I could not edit my next novel, or even add a post to this blog: today I can do both.
Why am I writing this? There are a couple of reasons. Firstly, I’m writing it because I can. Mainly, I’m writing it to convey something of what it’s like to be depressed, in the hope that my words spread greater understanding.