When I say “depression”, what kind of picture do you conjure up in your mind? Is it a picture of a man pensively gazing out a window in a dark room? Or a woman crying inconsolably? You wouldn’t be wrong to think that. A lot of people living with depression may do those things. Depression is cruel and unkind, but picking depression out of a crowd may be harder than you think. For me, and others too, depression does the majority of its work behind the scenes. There is much that you don’t see. I think seeing depression only as the stereotypical picture of it is dangerous. While in private I do become tearful and overwhelmed by depression, in public I use every effort I can muster to feign normalcy. The rest of this blog is a juxtaposition of what you see and what you don’t see with someone living with depression. The examples used vary between the depressive episode I experienced as a teen as well as later on as an adult.
What you see: A 15-year-old kid that shows up for class joking with friends
What you don’t see: A 15-year-old kid with depression saying to her, “Why do you have to laugh like that? That’s way too loud. Can’t you see you’re annoying everyone? You’re so stupid. They only let you sit with them because they feel bad for you.”
What you see: A girl who calls in sick saying, “It must be that bug that’s going around.”
What you don’t see: A girl that just cannot be willed to leave her bed. Depression saying, “God, you’re such a failure. Everyone else makes it to work, you have no excuse to be this way. Just another reason why you’re completely worthless.”
What you see: A girl responding, “Yeah I’m fine. Just really tired today.”
What you don’t see: Leaving the confines of my room took all the strength I could find within myself today. Despite the effort I still hate myself and am melting in my own self-loathing.
What you see: A girl watching TV at home.
What you don’t see: A girl that just doesn’t enjoy seeing friends. Or doing anything beyond lying down – because it just isn’t fun. What’s the point anyway?
Depression takes many forms and can remain beneath the surface for a long time before friends or family can notice. A lot of the struggles I have experienced are not always easily visible. I think it’s important for people to remember that you don’t see everything about someone’s experience. It can be hard to find the right words to describe the feeling of all the thoughts that run through my head. The picture below is the best cartoon that describes depression, at least for me. Depression Land is a not-so-fun place that I didn’t want to go to, and is difficult to leave.
About Cassie S
25 year old psychiatric nursing student. I live with depression off and on and have since I was 12. Learning to ride the waves as they come. I'm an introvert who enjoys reading, art, and spending time with friends and family. I also really enjoy being active: running, biking, hot yoga, dodge ball and slo-pitch are a few favourites.