What depression feels like

Symptoms of depression are something that has been discussed widely and is very easily available. Hence I will just describe how it feels, in ways that is easy to comprehend. This is based on how my clients have described it feels and how even we as individuals feel when we experience negative emotions.
Sometimes, instead of looking at your fears and insecurities as a separate entity, we look at it as being a part of us. Then you begin to believe that these insecurities are INDEED you. Now you begin to pay attention to yourself i.e. your thoughts and your emotions. When you get in touch with that, there is a terrible pain that we feel. The kind of pain that makes us feel hopeless and helpless. This feeling is like adding fuel to fire. The only thing we can think of, at this point is to do away with this atrocious feeling and pain! So our inner voice begins to speak – “Get out! Get out!”, “Why isn’t this feeling going?”, “Why am I so useless that I am not able to do away with this feeling?” “Something is drastically wrong with me! I know!”. We listen to our inner voice and believe it without any doubt and we begin to walk with this feeling. The best way I can think of, to explain this experience is that of being sucked into quicksand.

So then our friend – sad mood, puts on its sunglasses and is crying to us that the world is a dark place and that everything around us is just painful! Trust me, my friends when we reach this point, it is TERRIBLE! We want to change, but we do not want to put that effort to change. We keep giving in to our sense of emptiness or sad mood or whatever label you choose to give it. The reaction to any negative emotion, is more or less same. We begin to get comfortable with the drowning, but yet it is extremely uncomfortable! This is where we all get stuck!

So now our best friend pops out to wave its hand – loneliness. We begin to feel that we are the only ones who are struggling or fighting with troubles and that everyone else has it all. But that is just our best friend there, trying to guide us in every wrong way possible. Loneliness is a bigger pain than sad mood. It is just a catalyst which accelerates the process of drowning due to sad mood. Probably this is where people begin to feel suicidal, because they begin to feel like everyone else is happy and that everyone else has their things sorted. Comparison then begins which further dips our mood and they begin to feel that there is no other option left for them, because when everyone could sort their issues; “I AM NOT ABLE TO”. But what if I tell you, that all these are just biased thinking painted by our friends – sad mood and loneliness and that if we ONLY made that small effort of disproving ourselves in this case, we wouldn’t have had to go through so much pain? But again, that also isn’t breezy.

This is the time we need to reach out to our friends and family or ideally a mental health professional. This helps us understand that our internal reality is not necessarily what our external reality is. Furthermore, it also does away with the sense of loneliness and helps us feel like we aren’t alone.

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Sahana Tantry

Psychologist & Outreach Associate,
Mpower – The Centre Bangalore