An Analogy For Depression
As one of the most common mental disorders all across the world, Depression is pretty much everywhere. But the worst part about it is that it is widely misunderstood. I mean, unless you’ve fully suffered from chronic depression, you will probably never truly appreciate how hard it is and you won’t understand it. Even those who do suffer from chronic depression don’t understand it – which makes it even more difficult to tackle.
So I thought I would attempt to explain it in a different way, hopefully in a way that more people would understand.
Having depression is like being stranded in the middle of the ocean. There are no islands, boats or birds around you. You are completely alone, and you are struggling to keep your head above water. Each day it gets harder and harder, and you get more and more tired. The easy way out would just be to give up and drown – but you can’t do that. You are just trying to float in the hope that one day a boat will come and save you, and take you away to a new life. Some days it’s easier, maybe a bit of wood drifts past for you to hold onto, or you get a sudden burst of energy. However it’s not long before you lose grip and that piece of wood drifts off into the distance again.
Depression is a huge battle in your brain. It’s demobilising, it’s humiliating, and it’s extremely difficult to just get out of. It takes an unbelievable amount of work – and it involves fighting every day for the rest of your life.
And then there’s anxiety. Depression and anxiety are a cruel tag team – they feed off each other, and back each other up. When Depression is having a day off, anxiety is there ready to take over, and vice versa.
Remember that time you realised you left your phone in the taxi or the supermarket? Or when you tripped over in front of a room full of people? That kind of powerful anxiety eats up people like me. And it is there every day, every hour, every second. During this last year of Uni I suffered from this kind of anxiety so badly that I couldn’t even leave the house to go to my lectures – it caused panic attacks, nausea and headaches. So it’s not even just a mental problem.
People get anxious, and self conscious, and just plain worried on a daily basis. It’s actually a part of life. I don’t think anyone can safely say they have never experienced the feeling of anxiety, but when it starts to take over your whole life it is a serious problem. It stops you from doing things that ‘normal’ people wouldn’t think twice about – I lost touch with all of my closest friends this last year because I was too anxious to even leave my bedroom. And when you work up the courage to actually do these things it is a massive struggle, often leaving you feeling pretty empty afterwards.
So I hope that has made things a little bit clearer. It’s such a complicated issue, but it’s something that I hold very close to my heart. There aren’t many treatments for depression, there is no sole cause, and there is certainly no cure. But if you do want to do your little bit to help – stop using the word ‘depressed’ to describe feelings of sadness, it really hurts…
Written by: Philippa Berry