Depression has been a part of me since I was 15. Mental health issues are always difficult to articulate to those who've never experienced them. This is my meagre attempt to explain what it's like for me.
I feel like this makes me sound crazy, but there is a voice in my head. And I call it “the bully”. The scariest part of that bully, though, is it isn’t some separate person, the bully IS me. The bully has my voice. And it is always there in my mind, trying to bring me down. Sometimes it is so loud and takes up so much space in my brain, I am surprised other people can’t hear it.
Imagine the worst insults you have ever heard, the meanest things that have ever been said to you, words that cut you like daggers and make you feel worthless. This is what the bully says to me. All of the time. Every day, all day. It’s like having someone whispering negative things in your ear 24/7/365. They are usually the first things I hear in the morning, telling me that it is not even worth getting out of bed, I have nothing to contribute, and even if I tried, I would fail, that anyone who says they care about me is lying because they pity me. At night, the bully tells me that it would be great if I just fell asleep and never woke up because the world would be better off without me.
It never stops. The bully is relentless. Sometimes I can fight it, and sometimes I can tune it out, sometimes I can outswim that powerful current of insults. But sometimes, my arms get tired. Every time I start to believe what it says, it feels like defeat, which makes it just so easy to start believing it even more. It’s a whirlpool, and once you get deep enough, it’s almost impossible to get out. It wasn’t so long ago that I was drowning, I was sucked into a slimy dark cavern I didn’t think I would ever escape.
Although I’m better, this fight isn’t over. And I don’t think it ever will be. I am just learning to be better than the bully. I’ll still make mistakes, and there will be some days, like today, when I am exhausted, and just being out of bed is a massive effort in itself.
Just because I haven’t gotten out of bed doesn’t mean I’m not fighting for my life.