A few months ago, I quit my (very first) job because I was diagnosed with depression. I was very hesitant to do it because I’d only started working for a few months and now I was going to quit. However, due to the support of my friends and family, I was able to make that decision.
Let me tell you what it’s like to have depression. It is not a pretty sight. Everyone always talks about the signs and symptoms or just completely ignore it at all costs. So here’s my experience. I kept a diary during these times, so I’ll insert excerpts from them too.
What it feels like
I was always tired. Always. Even after nine hours of sleep, ten, eleven, or whatever the fuck how many hours more, I’m always still tired. No matter how much or how little I sleep, I feel tired. I dreaded sleeping at night because it never meant I was going to rest, it always mean I would have to live another day being tired and miserable.
I’m tired of feeling this way. Tired of feeling just this. Moments of happiness are just fleeting right now. In a date, in a successful game in my PS4, in distractions of me time during lunch. In watching videos and doing things that stop me from thinking. I grasp them, for a few hours, a few minutes, and they don’t even linger to say goodbye.
Either I’m distracted or I’m exhausted. I’m restless. I’m tired.
And I feel like sometimes what I feel isn’t real. Because at times I can be happy. At times I don’t think about how shitty I feel. At times I do feel like I’m right where I’m supposed to be. But sometimes, especially at night when I’m alone, it feels like everything just comes crashing down. I panic, I don’t panic. I cry, I feel nothing.
Last Friday at work I fucked up so many times. Last Thursday at work I fucked up as well. I hate it. I want to be reliable but everything I do just ends up being a fuck up. I cry so much. Sometimes it feels like the only way I’ll ever be able to sleep is if I cry. If I’m not asleep I stress out.
-Excerpt #1 from a journal I kept during the height of my depression.
And even with how tired I was, it was so difficult to go to sleep.
My appetite went away slowly. I didn’t even notice it. Missing a meal or two became not eating at all. My coworkers would invite me to lunch but I would reject the invitation and stay in my workspace to sleep. My body felt like lead. I always wanted to sleep. I lost a shit ton of weight. All my clothes felt so loose on me. This all happened within a month.
I was irritated by the smallest things.
I felt numb. Nothing could make me feel anything. I would stand under a scalding hot shower to feel something. I tried doing things that I enjoyed doing. I tried playing video games, reading books, crocheting, or even eating my favorite meals. Nothing worked.
I cried. A lot. So much. At night, I cried for hours. Over little things. Over the world. Over my problems. Over how much of a fuck up I am.
I feel nauseous and I want to vomit and I never feel like eating and I am so so so tired and I have insomnia so I can’t sleep properly.
I feel like I just ended up muting the world and I feel like I’m in a bell jar.
If you’re curious as to how depression feels like, I’ll paint you a picture.
In a video game, there is always a boss battle. And by that point, you should have had enough experience points or weapons or group of friends helping you level up and defeat this horrid monster or boss or whatever.
Imagine, that for every single day, you face the boss battle. But no one can see it. No one can hear it. For you it’s repetitive and it happens everyday and no matter how hard you scream or cry or even attempt to explain it to other people, and even if you did explain it to other people, you just feel like you’re repeating yourself and you’re going nowhere.
I don’t even have the energy to smile at social interaction anymore. I am so tired. I know I can’t quit my job even though all I want to do is curl up into a ball and just cry all day and not care about anything for a while. I can’t quit my job when it’s currently crunch time and I can’t quit my job because I actually like being independent from my parents.
I can’t quit my job because I feel like I’d be such a fucking loser for quitting and reasoning out that I need time for myself that I need to get better that I need to learn to enjoy myself even though depression doesn’t want me to.
I want to laugh and scream and cry and smile and mean it. I want to be able to sleep at night not because I’m tired and cried my eyes out but because I want to sleep and the whole reason being I’m just really sleepy.
I want to hug my friends without crying I want to stop crying and stop feeling and not feeling and holding back tears in the middle of the office because I can’t I can’t I can’t do this at all and no I don’t want someone to hold my hand
I want me to hold my hand and get through this by myself. I don’t want to depend my happiness on seeing someone else or getting distracted by other people. I want my own company and that alone.
I have officially run out of words to say.
Dear Diary, dear God, dear whoever sees this,
I hope I’ve found a reason to be alive, I hope things get better soon.
I hope that when you read this I’m not dead.
And here’s the best part.
I wanted to die. I dreamt of it. I imagined taking my car up the highway and just crashing it with me. I imagined grabbing a kitchen knife and just slicing my wrists open. I imagined jumping from the rooftop of the condominium. I drank as much as I could. I smoked. I would harm myself in various ways.
But you know what sucked the most?
I wasn’t sure if I had depression.
Because there were times when I enjoyed myself too. I enjoyed talking to people, I enjoyed movies, hanging out, laughing. I enjoyed going out. I laughed at my coworkers jokes. I smiled at my seatmate. There were so many times that I actually thoroughly felt happy but once I was all alone, all of it went away.
The only reason I even decided that I needed help was because I wasn’t performing well at work anymore. I took a sick day from work because the night before, I had been crying from 9pm until 3am. I couldn’t stop crying. I really couldn’t.
How people reacted
My friends and family were supportive. Thankfully. Of course, my mom hadn’t been expecting a call at 3am from her crying daughter so there’s that whole reason why she took it seriously.
My coworkers understood. The older generation couldn’t understand much as to how or why I have depression but I’m happy to say that the company I worked for understood completely.
People messaged me to ask how I’m doing. Friends asked if there was anything they could do to help. I’m so lucky to have these people in my life.
It’s still kind of hard to be open about it but I’m trying my best so that people understand what it is. Sometimes people don’t know how to react to it. What exactly do you say to someone who says they have depression?
-Most people when I tell them I have depression, 20XX
But it’s fine, really. I don’t even know what to say when other people tell me they have depression.
“Same, fam, same.”
-Me when someone tells me they have depression, 2017
Getting help for it
I went to a psychiatrist. I’m taking medicine and they’re working. A few months later, I’m finally better. I’m finally not crying every night. I gained some weight back. I’m finally happier.
I’m broke. I don’t have a job yet. I just let go of a really good job. People would see me as a broke, lazy, recently graduated millennial.
But honestly? I’m just happy that I’m not self harming anymore. I don’t care what people think of me anymore. I’m going to go at my own pace.
So if you think you have depression or if you know someone who does, please seek help. It will save a life. I know people who’ve committed suicided or attempted. I know their family too. I cried so much for them. It’s not a pretty sight. This is a dark subject but it is one that needs to be talked about.
If you want to talk about it, message me. Talk to someone. It’s okay to ask for help. It really is.
Take care of yourself.