Every day I wake up there are about three seconds of time where I am completely detached from everything. I don’t think. I don’t speak. I don’t hear. I don’t feel anything. I don’t worry. I don’t have anxiety. I don’t anything. I just am. It’s a pretty nice time.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t last. Once those few seconds are done and I start waking up and the day sort of creeps over me, I am already sore and exhausted before I even get out of bed.
For me, the pain of depression starts in my mind; weaving its way into everything, from getting out of bed and getting dressed to getting to work or going out with friends, from how and what I think to how and what I feel, to how I perceive everything including myself to what I will or will not do. It sucks the life out of absolutely everything. The days become greyer. The nights become darker. It feels like a fog has taken over my mind until the day I can’t get out of bed and I no longer want to.
My thoughts become a haze of words that sometimes make sense but most of the time don’t. And when the words are coherent, they are dark, mean, insulting and dangerous. The thoughts tell me I’m nothing and nobody. They tell me that I will never be anything and I should stop trying. They tell me that I am alone and I always will be. They tell me that this dark place is where I should stay and if I ever think of leaving then I should think of death because that will be the only way out.
I become either totally numb or a waterfall of tears at the drop of a hat. There is no in-between. I have no idea what makes me cry it just happens. I no longer have a say in what I think, what I feel, and what I do. It is just darkness, every day, all the time, without fail. Everything just becomes devoid of colour and interest.
As soon as my mind has been successfully hijacked by the depression my body soon follows. With slow, lethargic movements, calculated steps just to go to the bathroom, and total exhaustion with even the slightest of tasks.
And it hurts. It hurts my whole body. There is soreness and inflammation throughout my body that makes moving slow and painful. And there is a perpetual state of tension that radiates to every muscle and bone in my body.
Starting with my head. The tension goes up my neck and into my head causing me to have headaches, sinus pressure and dizziness. It is so tense that sometimes I can’t move my head because my neck is too tight. My jaw clenches so hard that it pulls the muscles of my face as well. This often causes my face to feel numb. Even my scalp often feels numb to touch.
The tightness and tension travel down into my shoulders, down my upper arms, my forearms and my wrists, tensing each and every muscle of my arm, and stretching right out to my fingers.
It radiates downwards into my back seizing the lower muscles into a big knot that is so hard it pulls my hip and pelvic muscles with it. Making movements like getting out of bed and walking difficult and painful. To do anything more than walking causes aching pain in my muscles and my joints.
The tension spreads to my stomach, tying it into another knot, causing me to have stomachaches, digestion issues, nausea, and some muscle cramping. There are many times where I am unable to eat anything because my stomach is too upset. I often will go days without eating because my stomach is upset and I’m too sore to move to get the food in the first place.
And then finally my legs, which have somehow mostly managed to evade the pain that the rest of my body deals with, except for some tension in my thighs. Which is usually connected to the tightness and tension from my hips and pelvis.
Most of my body feels numb a lot of the time. The tightness and tension are bad enough on their own but adding numbness to it makes everything in my body feel like it’s about to stop working any minute. This often scares me, particularly when the numbness is felt in my face and arms because I fear that these are signs of either a heart attack or a stroke. It scares me so much that it has often caused me to have a panic attack. And I am convinced that I am dying. I have to remind myself that the numbness did not come on suddenly and it is not unexplained since the nerves are probably being compressed by the muscles being so tense and tight all the time.
It takes a lot for me to gain awareness of what is really happening in these instances because they don’t come with warning nor do they happen in sync with other issues. So if I feel a twinge in my neck and then I notice my face is numb I am not always aware that my face has actually been numb for days before this and is not necessarily connected to the twinge I just felt in my neck. It is a vicious cycle that terrifies me and often paralyzes me from moving at all. It takes me hours and sometimes days to remind myself it is most likely not a heart attack or stroke. This time.
When it comes to my mind, it darkens my thoughts and cognitive ability to the point of not being able to think or function at all. Thinking can actually hurt causing me to have headaches. The pain takes away the want and the ability to stand or walk, to read or talk, to smile or laugh.
Because my mind is so foggy it makes my words fuzzy too. When I speak, I trip over my words, either stuttering or repeating myself. I forget some words and sometimes I forget what I’m trying to say altogether. I frequently lose track of what I’m saying and what words I need to use. I will sometimes slur my words, as if I have been drinking, which really scares me when it happens at the same time as the numbness in my face and arms. I am absolutely terrified and certain that this time I am either having a heart attack or a stroke.
I feel like a total write-off in every aspect of my life. In my body and not being able to move without pain. In my mind and not being able to think or speak without difficulty. In my heart and not being able to feel or process emotions, if I feel them at all. And lastly, in my spirit and not being able to find the goodness in life, the interest in things I used to enjoy, and slowly losing the want to live.
The pain permeates every cell of my being.
Depression doesn’t just darken my mood. It isn’t just a few bad days or a couple of weeks of feeling down. It is an all-encompassing entity that takes over everything; sucking the life from me, and it hurting every part of me, body, mind, heart and soul.
Depression just hurts. It hurts everything.