The Dark Side of the Mind: My Scattered Thoughts

Nate Compton. Dark Side of the Mind
Photo by Nate Compton

Students journaled about what living with depression feels like.
By Morgan Carl, Elizabeth Jackson, Marieanne Kaminski, Sarah Lang, Peter Madrigal and  Heidi Mox

 

Depression is like being held underwater for too long. At first, it’s a struggle. You’re fighting to save yourself. You’re trying to get out – to bring yourself back to the surface. But after being held under for a while, it’s comfortable. You lose feeling to the things around you. You become numb. You become used to the feeling of nothingness. There was a black cloud hanging over my head. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. I even felt guilty if I smiled.  I felt like I could never live up to what my life should be and that I should end it now. That is such a scary thing to think about now.

In the fog of depression, memory and logic seem the most obscure in the very situations where they are the most critical to survival. I feel nothing. I walk around in an empty shell and pass people in the halls, on the street, in my own house, who know nothing about what I feel. You might be moving and breathing but you don’t have coherent thoughts and you don’t feel things. You’re just lifeless.You wind yourself up in the morning then at night you go to bed and then do it again the next day.

Depression? Really? I felt like that was the last thing that could’ve been wrong with me. I take a pill every morning to keep me from feeling as if I need to kill myself every time I mess up, get a bad grade or make a mistake. I take a pill to keep me alive. One small pill, the medicine covered in a plastic capsule, keeps me from doing the unthinkable. Swallow it down in the morning with a drink of water and I’m ready to face the day. I’m ready to face myself.

I didn’t ask for this. When I was younger, I never pictured myself dragging my nails across my wrist every time I felt an overwhelming sense of emotion. I never wanted to take a pill to keep me from wanting to die and I never wanted to look into the mirror and hate every single inch of myself. I never imagined that this is how I would spend my high school years: countless nights spent crying myself to sleep, thinking about death, thinking about how easy it would be to have all this be over with if I just swallowed a bottle of pills.

I have to distract myself from my own thoughts because I can’t help but think of how other people’s lives are better than mine. Sometimes I slip back into that dark cave that was caused by my depression, then I realize I have nothing to be sad about. I also remember how scary it was to think about doing something bad to my body or even taking my own life.

My depression has defined who I am. It’s been the main factor in every single aspect of my life: what I do, who I talk to, how I act…My depression has been the only constant thing in the last couple years of my life. A lot of great people put up with me when I was at my worst. I wish I could thank them all, but we’ve all gone our separate ways. The best and worst part of surviving and recovering for me is looking back at both the accomplishments and losses. In a weird way, depression is my best (and only) friend. It’s the only thing that has always been there for me.

If you’re depressed, you’re never alone. Since my depression I have felt a lot happier and more grateful for everything I have in my life. I can contently say that I have been on anti-depression medication and I am doing much better. It was hard to get out of and it took a while, but now I feel like I’ve climbed out of the hole of depression. I started going to church. I realized that I’m alive so I can live for God. I believe that I do have a purpose in life. I can thank God for that. He was there for me no matter what. Now, I can choose to be happy.

 

For more information on depression and its effects, check out “The Dark Side of the Mind” in Issue 8.