My experience with depression

by - September 26, 2021

Outline of a woman with her hands in her face. Baby blue background with line decoration in the top left hand side corner and bottom right hand side corner. Text reading what it feels like to be depressed.

If you are reading this, then it means I found the courage to upload this post to my blog instead of it sitting in my drafts or in a word document. When I first started supporting people I care about with their mental health, I never imagined I might one day find myself in this situation. To be honest, I am terrified of ever sharing this, but I don’t know who might need to read this.

Finding the words to describe exactly what it feels like to be depressed is hard. I think that is one of the reasons why I avoid talking about it a lot and I am sure others are the same. It is so difficult to convey to others just how bad you feel. That is made more complicated by the fact that when you might open up a little about it, I find it often comes with a whole lot of other questions that most of the time I do not know the answer to. Questions asking for a specific reason as to why I feel depressed now. Or a misunderstanding as to what you’re really going through.

Finding a reason for why you feel depressed

My therapist and my GP think I have a reactive depression. That makes sense to me based on my personal experiences over the last two years. However, whilst my ongoing difficult circumstances give me an explanation of why I am here, I cannot pinpoint a singular reason or place where it all went wrong. I can’t remember exactly when I started not feeling like myself. It all creeped up on me and by the time I realised, I was already in it. Therefore, giving a reason is hard. I know multiple things that have happened in my life that did not help. However, I could not pinpoint the cause or even causes especially because the different events that have affected me have been ongoing for a while. There was a point where I was not depressed despite them being there. So even in my head there is a why now? What is the reason for all of this?

Normalising not feeling yourself

When I was supporting people I care about with depressive episodes and watching them in pain, I always thought I’d notice if I ever felt depressed immediately. That I’d feel so awful it would be obvious to me that it was depression. Plus I figured I had seen it on the outside plenty, surely I would notice when the same sort of thing started happening to me. The reality, however, was different. I didn’t notice what it might be until I was in the thick of it because I’d normalised not feeling myself. I can’t even fully pinpoint when it started. I distinctly remember I was completely oblivious to depression until one morning when I woke up and it dawned on me it was the first time I felt happy in months. That was when I noticed something wasn’t right. That the other days not feeling great had become my normal - so much so I’d almost forgotten how I used to feel when I felt okay. I’d forgotten the life and energy I always carried with me. The excitement I had about living and life had now been replaced with a feeling of not wanting to die, but also not feeling alive.

A confusing range of emotions

I have found that feeling depressed can throw up a confusing range of emotions, which can make it really hard to navigate at points. There have been points where I have cried A LOT, sometimes for more than 2 hours straight, and felt very broken for seemingly no reason in that moment. Other times, I have felt completely out of energy and drained emotionally, sometimes like my brain was very foggy and clouded and at other times numb.  I have also found depression can leave me feeling empty. Like there is a void that nothing can fill. I have lost count the number of times I have just sat either flicking mindlessly through social media or something else just because I wanted something to fill the emptiness I felt but did not feel like I could do something more substantial. 

You stop doing things you’d always done

I have never ever been a student to miss lectures or slack on work. Sure, I have always had lazy days and less productive days like the rest of us, but generally I would say I am fairly self-motivated. In hindsight, me slacking more on some of my work and missing some of my lectures, which I always would have gone to should have rung alarm bells sooner than it did. But again something about being all consumed in your own battle clouds your vision. I remember thinking to myself I just have lost my ability to concentrate and the energy I used to have to do things. My explanations did not really go any further. Since it also coincided more with the pandemic and the shift to more online learning, which everyone had been finding more exhausting, I attributed my lack of energy and concentration to not getting on with online learning and the shift. The reality? Yes, online learning did not help and is more exhausting than in person as you are constantly at a screen. However, even so, the complete lack of energy I often felt and lack of concentration where many times I had to force myself to work where I usually would not, really was not normal for me. Before I knew it I was also doing a lot less of what I love, such as playing music, writing, journaling and drawing. I found I just did not want to engage with anything, which is really not like me. Previously before covid, I have always been go go go, maybe sometimes too much so. But, I would always be looking to get involved with things and keep myself busy.

Isolating yourself

The difficulty in conveying the depth of emotions and fear of being misunderstood has meant I’ve often isolated myself. It’s something that leaves me feeling confused and guilty because I do generally enjoy people's company. However, I found myself withdrawing because it was a place where I didn’t have to put on a mask on how I really felt. That plus feeling the pressure to be and feel like yourself and not the one that brings everyone down is physically exhausting.

Struggling to find the motivation to get out of bed/ being too physically exhausted to get out of bed

I remember my therapist asking me during my assessment whether I was having trouble with sleep. I remember saying no that I generally didn’t have issues falling asleep. Then she mentioned that this also included oversleeping. I did not initially notice that when I was suddenly sleeping more and also sometimes finding it hard to sleep that it could be depression. I just assumed that I was exhausted and tired in the mornings (which was the case in part - I was so exhausted and tired I felt like I couldn’t get out of bed). That and plainly demotivated. But, I did not think much of it. I have never really been a morning person, and generally dislike getting up early. However, I had never been someone to sleep until 12 o’clock midday or 1PM, sometimes even 1:30-2PM. I’d usually always be up by 10am or 11, 11:30 max. Not being able to wake up before 1PM suddenly felt strange and frustrating because I was not doing anything any differently. But, I suppose a part of me had normalised it. I kept putting it down to just being tired or going through a phase where I simply needed more sleep. The other part of me whilst feeling something was wrong just did not really have an explanation for it and kept looking externally. For something else that may be causing it. Now I have learnt to see oversleeping as one of my key signs that I am not doing so well mentally and maybe even a sign that I don’t really want to deal with my emotions.

Feeling invisible

Feeling depressed can make you feel invisible. No one can truly see exactly how you feel and at plain sight, it can seem like nothing is wrong. A lot of my friends had no idea about my struggles or how I was even feeling, especially at the start. In my university studies and society commitments, no one would have guessed everything I am trying to juggle. I found I would often and still do, adopt an automatic happier mask so that I feel I am able to function and get things done. The reality is anyone at any given point can struggle with depression - people who are depressed aren’t necessarily people wearing black all of the time or the “emo” image the media often presents. They are people just like you and I. Your quirky and cheerful best friend, your sister, your co-worker. Moreover, because feeling depressed can sometimes jump on you before you notice, it can even be invisible even to you, to begin with.

I think a lot of the time with things like depression, people forget how although it affects you massively mentally, it also has very real physical symptoms, such as feeling burnt out, out of energy, and struggling to get out of bed in the morning. I know previously when I thought of mental illness, I would think a lot more of the mental health effects and not so much of how it might affect your body physically. However, mental health and physical health are linked so more than we realise and the truth is struggling mentally can be just as exhausting and taxing on your body as a physical illness sometimes. Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. 

Other people may resonate with this, but at the end of the day we all have different experiences and depression is a scale. This is the best way I could find to describe what it was like for me, but this is by no means the only story.

I hope that this can get you thinking about how you really are, check in mentally and if you resonate with a lot of this, take steps in seeking help and therapy (if it is something available to you).

Keep me going 🙂:

You May Also Like


Thank you so much for checking my blog out! 🙂

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.