The Careless Truth About Depression.
It hits you sporadically, out of the blue, catching you off guard.
Sometimes it’s when you’re on the bus gazing out the window and you notice a droplet of wet on your cheek. Sometimes it’s when you’re surrounded by friends and you don’t hear a word they say because all you want to do is be home.
These moments build up and you try to push them away. But then you’re sitting in bed cross-legged, staring at the wall in front of you, not blinking, with your mouth open, and every few seconds you mutter out through a whisper, “I’m not happy.”
Again. “I’m not happy.”
Repeat. “I’m not happy.”
The words are clear. You hear them. You feel them. It’s the first time you’ve felt anything in a while other than tired.
You’ve lost track of when it all began, when you disconnected, shut off, broke down, zoned out. It started with the chronic pain, or perhaps it started long before then, but you were too busy to notice that you weren’t there. Not completely anyway. The silence and paralysis just made it known.
It got shoved in your face real fast, didn’t it?
The funny thing about depression is that it doesn’t just pick a part of your life and shed light on its flaws. That’s what most people think depression is. If only it were that kind.
But no, depression doesn’t make you feel depressed at all. It makes you feel nothing.
And if you can’t feel anything, then you’re sure as hell not going to care about anything. That carelessness can soon become dangerous.
It begins innocently enough, making you not care if you do the dishes today, or tomorrow, or the day after that. Then it can make you not care if your rent is two weeks late. It can make you get lost inside your empty head while you’re walking home and almost lead you right into the front of the bus driving past you.
It can make you not care about the words that exit your mouth. It can make you not give a damn about that high blood pressure. It can make you not care about the wounds that found their way to your body or how they got there. It can make you look at things you once condemned and think they don’t look so bad now. And maybe you even engage in them.
It can make you into a real asshole.
You start to loathe the people you once loved. You start to hide from them, dodging their calls, ignoring their problems. Everything they do becomes irritating. You want to scream at them at the top of your lungs, but doing that would bring you more physical pain. So you internalize it all.
At first, your jaw hurt from smiling so much to fool everyone including yourself. Now your head hurts because the void is too heavy. The void is too loud. The shadows bouncing off its walls have grown angry and they’re begging to be let out.
But where would they go? How would you release them? Do you even care enough to try?
So you remain sitting on your bed, eyes wide open and heart closed shut, recognizing your unhappiness but carelessly crippled.
Chelsey Engel works full-time in communications with the United Steelworkers union, and is a soul and blues singer in Pittsburgh, PA. You can find her online at Chelsey Nicole & The Northside Vamps.