I don’t know what depression is.
I don’t know what depression feels like.
I don’t know if I’ve ever been depressed.
I’m almost sure it’s not watching the DARK COMEDY category on Short of the Week for an hour, as if just the category of DARK COMEDY is supposed to somehow instill feelings in me that I’ve never really felt before.
I’m almost sure.
Most days are just a mess of the Inside Out characters, fighting to see who will be the most loved that day. My personifications are not as colorful. They’re also not glowing.
Fear usually wins. Joy is a close second, with Sadness not that far behind. Anger and Disgust both just argue with each other until they’ve morphed into Apathy.
But I don’t think I know what depression really is.
Growing up, “being depressed” was mutually exclusive with “being sad.” Or I just didn’t really know how to feel about anything.
I got a B. I studied. I should have gotten an A. I don’t know how to feel about that.
I didn’t get the job. I don’t know how to feel about that.
I ate an entire box of Pop-Tarts today. I don’t know how to feel about that.
I don’t know what I want to do with my life. I don’t know how to feel about that.
I know what I want to do, but I don’t know how to get there. I don’t know how to feel about that.
I don't really know how to feel about anything.
After (poorly researched) reads of various (dumb, clickbait) articles, I would associate depression with being lazy or having suicidal thoughts.
I’m lazy everyday. I don’t think I’ve ever had a genuine suicidal thought.
Google, search for: SIGNS OF DEPRESSION
The first search result is on WebMD. This is no help and has made no clear distinction but add a layer of hypochondria to my anxiety.
Difficulty concentrating and remembering details, making decisions
My mom has this thing of asking if I’ve eaten lunch or dinner (depending on the time she calls). Nine times out of ten, the answer is “…I think so. I really don’t remember.” Sometimes I can’t remember what I did yesterday. Since I quit my job, every day blends into one muted week.
Fatigue, decreased energy
I am out of breath when I walk up the stairs to my apartment.
Guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
Isn’t this what your 20s is? Wait, which side of Tumblr am I on? When do these symptoms get thrown away as “growing up?"
Once I heard a friend say “This one is an optimist who is inherently negative and that one is a pessimist who is inherently positive,” and I’m trying to find out which one I am ever since.
Insomnia, excessive sleeping
Yes. Yes to both. This is what I’m most known for aside from “comedy stuff” or “photo stuff." (All I’m saying is that working from 6pm-3am and sleeping from 4am-12pm has been a totally normal thing for me.)
Okay, but what about the restlessness that surround the stupid thoughts in my head about a guy, or if I should hang out with that guy, or if that guy would ever like me. Or should invite him to this screening of Ferris Bueller? Yes? Maybe? Should he invite me to the screening of Ferris Bueller? But oh thank god, it’s sold out. I don’t have to actually do it now. But now how can I carry on a conversation with him about stupid things, then great things, then wonderful, insightful things. Or if we do hang out then if that instance of hanging out. Or figuring out if that hanging out was a date (it’s not).
Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
I’ve been skipping out on shows I usually go to because I just don’t “feel like it,” and I feel like shit when I don’t find a real reason. And what if my interests and hobbies end up being endless trips to Target, convincing myself that buying things like candles and kitchen supplies and drawer organizers make me an adult? Because a part of me thinks that’s a valid point.
Overeating, loss of appetite
Interesting. It can be either of the extremes on this spectrum. Some days I survive on the unintentional (see: restrictions in money, proximity, timing) meal of water, Skittles, and overpriced coffee.* Other days (yesterday) I think I ate a bowl of pasta every hour.
*NOTE ABOUT THE COFFEE: I justify this to myself because I used the coffeeshop’s facilities and internet and spend a chunk of my free time staring at their mugs or tile floors or bookshelves or chalkboards.
Persistent aches, pains
SEE: exhaustion when walking up stairs
Sad, anxious, empty feelings
Ages 12-23. I’m 23.
Thoughts of suicide
I have never had a genuine thought of suicide. I’ve had constant thoughts of "I don’t want to be here right now,” here being: this party, with these people, in this car, in this room.
I do have anxiety.
Sometimes my head spins and every day tasks start at five times a normal speed. It’s like the classic I’m clearly smarter than you/I’m a con-artist ready to fuck you over character trope, with the flying-numbers-across-the-screen montage. Like in Hackers. Sometimes I just pretend I’m in The Social Network and it goes away, like my anxiety is powered by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross.
My brain feels like it comes out focus. I fall into being Cameron, staring at the painting in the museum. Sometimes things blur. It’s mostly just the whole shock of why is my brain at five times the speed of my normal thought process. I’ve never really been able to articulate how it feels. Sometimes I forget this happens, and I start to panic. The breathing doesn’t work, the lying down doesn’t work, the crying helps a little. I wish the breathing was enough.
Anxiety is a normal thing for me - it’s second nature, it’s inherent.
When it’s relatively under control, it’s okay. It’s minor shakes, I might use the wrong words. I sweat and blush, and I am completely aware of both.
When it’s bad, it hurts. You can hear the shakes in my voice; it's nausea, it's obnoxious word vomit. No real vomit. Just word vomit. Is this a defense mechanism?
I’m trying to figure it out.
I’m trying to figure it out because it’s been a month since moving out of my parent’s house and into my own place in this stupid stupid town. I’m not a dumb Orange County baby anymore, I’m an idiotic LA baby. I’m trying to figure it out because I quit my job and moved out. And all of this just seems like it could go to hell really quick, but it’s not.
I’m actually fine.
I think I’m actually fine.
There’s also a huge sense of relief with not having to worry about real responsibilities. I don’t remember what that felt like for the past three or four years. I’m finally having the moment of panic college graduates are entitled to (and insistent on).
I need to stop tricking myself that making playlists called "m&m pizza feelings” (with just the last three Rooney albums is supposed to evoke some kind of emotion heavily connected to how I’m feeling) or that eating a full pizza and sleeping with a box of Cheez-Its next to my bed isn’t depression, because that so clearly and offensively belittles those that have depression.
So I don’t know what depression is, and I wish someone would make me believe this is just growing up. Or if this is depression, for someone to tell me it is. Either way, I’m an idiot.
In the meantime, I’ll just spend my time trying to defend my glasses. Because no, I do need these to see, I’m not making a fashion statement. Also I’m wearing my hair like this because it decreases the use of bobby pins. This is also not a fashion statement.
But I will continue to be surrounded by people that seemingly know what they are talking about.
And I’ll keep driving through Silverlake to fake believe my belonging.