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So, what does depression feel like?

March 3rd, 2020 | no comments

Last year I shared about the shift in my physical health. What I didn’t touch on too much was that this big change in my physical health wasn’t isolated – my mental health has been impacted, too. This should be no surprise – we can’t compartmentalise parts of our experience as humans. What impacts the physical, impacts the mental (and emotional, even spiritual parts of us). I’ve never had the words to really explain what my low mental health days/episodes feel like, until I saw this photo:

 

This is what depression feels like, to me:

An echidna is burrowing out of the ground. It is covered in dirt and bark. Only part of its head and its nose are visible through the dirt in the centre of the image.

An echidna pushes through a pile of dirt. – photo by Camhanaich Photography

Like the ground is burying me. There’s crap everywhere. Weighing down from the top, pushing in from the sides. There’s barely a glimmer of light. Oh, and occasionally, everyone is standing around, staring, and not really getting it. If you’re lucky, there’s hope coming through from somewhere. Most days, it’s enough to keep you trying, but not enough to leave you feeling motivated, resilient or capable of doing much.

 

My medical conditions are genetic, and are with me through my whole life. These conditions impact my ability to sleep, my pain levels and my bodily functions, which means my mental health has been pulled along for the ride. I’ve had episodes of depression while living with, learning about, managing, and being overwhelmed by my physical health. I anticipate doing so for the rest of my life. This isn’t a weakness. I now realise (and have been told by my health care team) – depression and depressive symptoms are a reasonable reaction to my situation. Just like my pain, bruising, bleeding and hyper-mobile joints, mental health symptoms such as depression & anxiety come and go through my life.

This wonderful echidna gives you an idea of what depression can feel like for me. It is suffocating at its depths. I find a way through. Just like Randall.

 

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