The Recovery Part 5: This is what my depression looks like.

What my depression looks like changes on a daily basis. Some days I’m a happy go lucky, music man with a spring in his step and a joke to tell. Some days I’m the calm, quiet, doodler. Some days I’m a tech mad, comic book nerd with his face deep in some sort of gadget.

Some days I’m a happy go lucky, music man with a spring in his step and a joke to tell. Some days I’m the calm, quiet, doodler. Some days I’m a tech mad, comic book nerd with his face deep in some sort of gadget. 

However, some days it’s also a raging beast of emotion which pours out of my eyes and my mouth as tears and words I’ll later regret. Other days it’s a complete numbness where I feel no emotion at all, no happiness or sadness. Some days I’m incapable of movement, speech or thought. Sometimes I break down over the most ridiculous things that most people would either be completely unphased by, or at most, are mildly irritated by (an example, today I had a breakdown after I realised I forgot to order my usual mushroom rice with my curry and I accidentally ordered a sweet sultana naan bread).  Often, I’m a combination of two or more of these and that’s pretty scary.

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Sometimes I break down over the most ridiculous things that most people would either be completely unphased by, or at most, aremildly irritated by.

For the people who don’t know me very well, they may well only see the happy-go-lucky guy. Or the doodler. Or the super nerd. And that’s the aim. Even me, who’s quite open about my mental health, find it hard to behave as I want to for fear of upsetting others. I don’t get to be emotional at work. I don’t allow myself to become overwhelmed and break down in front of other people. Often my mood swings on a normal day every hour or so. Some parts of the day you’ll get a genuine happy, super fun time Alex and other parts of the day you’ll get the fraud. Some parts of the day I’ll retreat away from other people by going for a walk or sitting in a meeting room so that I can stop the act for just a few minutes.

Every social interaction I have with other humans is a tiring and complicated experience inside my brain. Every single word I speak, my body language, whether or not I hug or shake hands or have any physical contact at all is thought over hundreds of times before every action. I go through every possible scenario that I can think of and plan for the best and worst possible outcomes. (Example: I accidentally added someone on Facebook recently and felt so bad and went through so many scenarios that I apologised to that person when I saw them before realising that I was probably going to end up adding them anyway at some point. The person did not care in the slightest that I added them on Facebook.)

Every single word I speak, my body language, whether or not I hug or shake hands or have any physical contact at all is thought over hundreds of times before every action.

Even if I feel well that day, my brain still thinks about these interactions constantly and if things go right, I feel pretty decent. If they don’t go as I’d hoped it could be the one thing that breaks my resolve and causes a dramatic mood swing. Days like today, where my mind and body are exhausted the thought of speaking to other people seems like the worst possible scenario. This is what my depression looks like summarised in it’s most simple possible form though there is a huge amount that I’m unable to verbalise or get down on to virtual paper.

If you’re comfortable sharing how your depression looks, please feel free to do so in the comments or get in touch with me privately via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email if you would like to talk. I may not post often but I’m still keen to help to facilitate people to discuss their own personal black clouds.

One thing it’s not is “just a fancy word for feeling bummed out”. Don’t be like Dwight.

A

P.S. Thank you to all of my friends, family and colleagues for understanding that when I ignore your calls, don’t turn up to things, take forever to reply to messages or lock myself away, that it’s not personal. You guys are my rocks.

4 thoughts on “The Recovery Part 5: This is what my depression looks like.

  1. I get this 100%. For me, it’s small interactions that don’t go as I planned and I feel this crushing sense of embarrassment and shame which I’ll relive over and over, imagining myself through the other person’s eyes as this pathetic, ugly, awkward person… when in reality, I’m sure, they didn’t even think twice about that conversation we had. It’s draining.

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    • I get that too. I’m sorry to hear that you go through all of this too. But stay strong. You’re not alone and we’ll all get through it together. I’m sure you’re a wonderful, beautiful person too. Keep fighting and keep winning.

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  2. Your radical honesty and openness continues to inspire me Alex. Thank you for speaking out, and remember that you’re fighting really well xx

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