Note: Everybody experiences depression differently and your experience will likely vary. I'm writing all of this from my own, personal experience.
Depression isn't just feeling a little bit down every now and again from the odd blue day. In my experience, it's always with you. From the moment you wake up, to the moment you fall asleep. It's like a rain cloud over you, sometimes it'll drizzle but you'll get through the day pretty dry and okay, and other times it'll pour down on you and by the end of the day, you're soaked and miserable. I've been having a lot of miserable days and nobody to talk to about it anymore, which is partly why I'm writing about it because I just need to get it out somewhere cause it's weighing me down so much to keep everything inside. Maybe you're going through something similar too and can relate a bit.
To be depressed isn't always about feeling sadness. Sometimes it's anger, sometimes it's numbness. Feeling emotionally/mentally numb is by far the worst to me. Despite the others not being great, at least I can feel something. When I'm numb, I can't. Sadness, happiness, anger, excitement, nothing. It becomes a big fog, like I'm isolated from everybody, including myself. Everybody around me is living, but I'm stuck in a void, unable to live with them. It's emptiness, and not knowing when, if I'm going to feel something again just, sends me in a big downward spiral.
To be depressed isn't all about feeling bad mentally. It can be physical too. From aches to paints in your joints, to feeling fatigued and exhausted no matter how much you sleep, to feeling sick to your stomach, it's like a constant flu that you don't recover from in a week or so. There's the occasional good day, but it'll always return in the end.
To be depressed is having a constant inner voice that makes you loathe yourself. While everybody has an inner critic, this one tends to go above and beyond to make you feel horrible about yourself. Its goal is to wear down your self-esteem until you feel as if you're nothing, to feel as if you don't deserve to feel okay, as if you don't deserve to be here anymore.
To be depressed is becoming a good liar/actress. We're all growing up and everybody is busy. They have their own stress and worries, they don't need me to be an extra burden. If anybody notices I'm a bit down, it's become second-nature to just say I stayed up too late playing video games and am tired. If somebody notices I'm not replying and been a bit isolated, play it off as being spacy and forgetting to reply. If somebody asks how I am, I'm fine. I'm always fine. Others have it worse and they manage, to not be fine when my life isn't horrible would be selfish. I have to be fine.
To be depressed is having spontaneous mood changes. When you hear 'spontaneous mood changes' you might think of something like Bipolar disorder, but it can be part of depression too. It's going from feeling okay to hiding in the bathroom, sobbing on the floor because you suddenly feel miserably hopeless. It's lying in bed at night, about to fall asleep when you're overtaken by numbness and end up staring at the ceiling for hours, feeling like an empty shell that'll never be full of life again.
To be depressed is to lose yourself. I look back at old pictures of times before I was like this, and I wonder how I went from being a happy, care-free person to this. I wish so much I could return to being that person, but I don't think I can anymore. She's gone, and this is who replaced her, and if I'm being honest, I hate her replacement more than anything. I want her gone.
I really just want to be myself again.