I describe depression in combination with darkness a lot and often liken this to living on the edge of death. It’s not because I always sit without the lights on or want to die. It’s because that’s how an episode of depression leaves me feeling inside.
It’s common for people to use the darkness metaphor when describing depression because it is a realistic way to represent the loss of feeling that depression causes. The loss of ability to feel the usual range of human emotions instantly sucks the zest for life out of my heart. These emotions such as joy, happiness, humour, sadness, frustration, or anger are replaced with a numb, nothingness. It is this sudden lack of feeling that lets me know an episode of depression is teetering on the brink. There are self-help techniques I use to try and ward off the looming episode, but all too often, these don’t work.
Before long, it’s like my insides are being hollowed out and replaced with a sticky, churning darkness and my vision has been inverted. This darkness is all that I can see; it’s just churning over and over, sucking the energy out of me. Life as I know it has gone for the duration of the episode. Feelings and emotions have packed their bags and gone to visit Great Auntie Anne, leaving the ugly sisters of darkness and death behind in their place.
I sometimes obsess with death when I am in this type of episode. Not about taking my life, but about mourning the loss of my zest for life and my bubbling emotions that accompany it. It feels like I am sitting on the edge of death, no matter which direction I look. It is just a numb, dark, empty void that is already death, just without being dead.
Sometimes I feel I have to die to restore my life back to how it was before the depression took hold. Sometimes I just want to curl up and die to bring an end to the numbness. These are dangerous aspects of depression, and I need supervision to get me through these times. Thankfully, I have an excellent support system through NHS primary and secondary health care.
The depressive episode comes with fatigue; it’s like I am wearing a deep sea diver’s lead suit. The simplest of tasks are too difficult to do. Showering, washing dishes, doing laundry and at times eating a microwave meal is just beyond my capability. They say ‘take care of yourself’ but in reality, this is next to impossible. The shame of this does make me feel like I want to die. Thankfully, the lead suit prevents this, as to take my life would need more energy than I have to spare.
Moderate to deep depression is dangerous; it is a lonely place to be and at times more miserable than I can find words to describe. But the one thing about bipolar depression is that I will recover from it. I don’t know when or how, but I know will. Until the next episode …