The Lonely Road

I think it's impossible to explain in words to anyone who hasn’t experienced it. Fortunately most haven’t, because it isn’t just having a bad day, or feeling upset about something that’s happened or perhaps just being sad.

Depression is a mind overflowing with thoughts and yet also being completely empty of them. It doesn’t have a sign to tell people, though some will recognize symptoms of it, but most won’t. They won’t because depression is intrinsic to your personality or character.

Depression finds one feeling terribly alone and, at the same time, desperately wanting the company of others - or even just one - who will say the right words, point out a direction, recognize your need, acknowledge that you have a real issue, and accept you without judgment.

The Lonely Road

If and when that person comes along, you're more likely to remain quiet than to unburden yourself. The last thing i want to do is to lay my toxicity on others. Yes, i recognize that i can do anything to change what i feel and i want to take responsibility for that, but it isn’t easy. But, i think for most it’s probably impossible because our world doesn’t allow it. “How are you depressed when you have a comfortable home and people that love and care about you. You have almost everything you could ever wish for - and there's people out living on the streets, people being tortured, living in poverty etc.”

Yes, i know i have no right to be depressed. I know that there are further steps downwards to take. But that isn’t the problem. The problem is that i don’t see any upward step to take. The problem is that i haven’t decided to feel this way and that although i can understand some of the reasons why i do, much of what i understand i can’t accept and much of what i accept i can’t understand.

I often think about depression and the factors; resentments, disappointments, disagreements, losses, and whatever that i believe has contributed to it. And i don’t think about it, because as i analyze all these factors it all becomes too hard. My mind closes down and wants to sleep. And often not realizing until i wake, sometimes fresh, energized and with all the darkness gone and other times with an even greater darkness encompassing me.

Depression is like a mugger in the park at night. You’re walking home and all is well. Suddenly, out of the darkness you're confronted by two strangers who demand what they think you have, but you don’t, so you can’t give it. Perhaps they turn away and leave you, or perhaps you get beaten. Either way, you blame yourself for having walked home by that route, at that time, and even, perhaps, having done something to anger these mugger and encourage them to attack you etc.

The Lonely Road

There is no real constant about depression other than that it is always there, waiting to strike. One moment i can be the life and soul of the party or the best thought of student - the next I'm running, hiding, avoiding everyone and everything. Not only that but, at those times, I'm convinced that i haven't deserved whatever credit has been given and that I'm fake.

Although it strikes without warning and, apparently, from nowhere, it's very hard to find the equanimity to deal with it. Indeed, my tendency is *not* to attempt to deal with it but rather to accept that this is what I've brought upon myself - it’s what i had coming - there’s no one to blame but myself.

Most others see none of this because I've become a master of disguises and because, often, i will retreat from options that would cause myself to meet others. However, when you have family and must go to work or college, and there are people there. you adapt. You train yourself to put on a “normal” face, to laugh at jokes, to fit in. You disguise your inner monologue well and only the most astute and attentive or observant other will recognize that you are putting on a face.

The Lonely Road

Of course, this pretense is not easy but becomes more so with time. However, far from assisting to alleviate the depression, it increases it, because you feel guilty for not being honest and reprimand yourself even more for being fake.

Depression is impossible to explain to one who hasn’t been depressed. Even to one who has been, I suspect that there are substantial differences in how it manifests.

What I do know is that “move on”, or “look what you have to live for” or “snap out of it” are some of the worst words of advice you can offer, no matter how positive your motive. Those who are depressed don’t expect you to understand. Most of them have tried to explain to others, even to professionals, and they know that there will never be enough interest, patience, or active listening, for anyone to understand, let alone be able to help.

It's a sad, lonely, overwhelming feeling that affects you both physically and mentally and that hits you when you are least prepared.

The Lonely Road
The Lonely Road
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