Three years ago, when I was trying to make sense of it all, I picked up Andrew Solomon’s book The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression after having discovered his TED Talk, and, till date, the opening lines of his book still haunt me:
Depression is the flaw in love. To be creatures who love, we must be creatures who can despair at what we lose, and depression is the mechanism of that despair. When it comes, it degrades one’s self and ultimately eclipses the capacity to give or receive affection. It is the aloneness within us made manifest, and it destroys not only connection to others but also the ability to be peacefully alone with oneself. Love, though it is no prophylactic against depression, is what cushions the mind and protects it from itself. Medications and psychotherapy can renew that protection, making it easier to love and be loved, and that is why they work. In good spirits, some love themselves and some love others and some love work and some love God: any of these passions can furnish that vital sense of purpose that is the opposite of depression. Love forsakes us from time to time, and we forsake love. In depression, the meaninglessness of every enterprise and every emotion, the meaninglessness of life itself, becomes self-evident. The only feeling left in this loveless state is insignificance.
And somehow, somewhere, just when I think I’m alone and all by myself, these words find their way into my brain and they whisper themselves unto me, silently, and without quivering even the slightest bit. And three years later, I still find them to be the truest words I know to describe what this pandemic feels like and how it operates.
Here’s the thing no one comes clean and tells you about depression:
IT’S REALLY F*CKING HARD!
And no one really understands it, unless they’ve gone through it themselves.
And it’s not something I would want to wish upon anyone; (Not that I would but) I would rather wish them death.
Depression is sitting and staring at your work for hours on end because you just can’t do it. Depression is making excuses when you can’t make it to plans that you agreed to. Depression is lying to the people you work with, telling them you have some physical ailment because you know they understand fever and stomach bugs better than your mental condition.
Depression is beating yourself up for existing and consuming space and wasting every bit of it. Depression is beating yourself up because you’re ungrateful for all the good things you have in life that you just can’t appreciate.
Depression is not being able to look at yourself in the mirror or even think of looking at yourself in the mirror because it’s just too difficult to see your face and not be absolutely enraged by it.
Depression is feeling continuously disappointed in yourself. Depression is feeling let down, by everyone around you, and by everything inside of you. Depression is knowing what you are worth and yet not being able to see it. Depression is knowing your potential and not being able to reach it.
Depression is having a faint sense of who you used to be before these demons took control of you and took over you but, over a long enough time-period, losing sight of that and forgetting what that felt like, and forgetting how it used to be. Depression is not having the energy to fight off the demons. Depression is spending the little energy you have in trying to fight off the demons and then having nothing left to get through the day.
Depression is fake laughing throughout the day because you don’t want their pity and because you don’t want to be the person who brings everyone else down. Depression is hating yourself for ruining every single good thing and every single moment and every single relationship that comes your way.
Depression is becoming apathetic and not being able to empathize or be considerate.
Depression is not being able to enjoy any meal (if you can even eat anything anymore) or enjoy any conversation or enjoy any meet-up.
Depression is being able to sleep for countless hours, but never waking up fresh and not being able to even drag yourself out of bed.
Depression is this constant weight on your chest, pushing at you from above and pulling you down from below.
Depression is this thick, viscous smog that surrounds you at all times, like a dark stormy cloud with mass, but silent, and poisonous, as it envelops your thoughts, your brain, your heart, your soul and your physical being.
Depression is not being able to love anymore — to not love your significant other, to not love your family, to not love your friends, to not love your work, to not love nature, to not love your favourite food, to not love your favourite art, and to not love yourself.
Depression is being acutely aware of your mortality and being scared of it.
Depression is this consistent, blunt, ever-present pain in your soul that just doesn’t go away.
And you want it to go away.
And you will do anything for it to go away.