I wish I had a better understanding of how depression works. I don't mean an understanding in the scientific way, because I have basic knowledge of the chemical imbalances and neurotransmitters and all that, but what I want to know is why I can go to bed feeling okay on a Sunday, and when I wake up on Monday something clicks off and I spend the next few days or weeks or months struggling to operate. And then one day I'll wake up again, and my brain will have righted itself for a few days or weeks or months. It just goes on and off, on and off, like driving in the dark and suddenly a sharp turn appears that forces you to change direction.
I tried to explain what it's like to someone recently, because I've found that a lot of people don't quite understand the difference between feeling depressed and having depression. Feeling depressed is a natural response to something that's happened. There's usually a relatively clear line to be drawn from The Thing That Happened to The General Feeling of Sadness and Malaise. The greater The Thing That Happened, the longer or more intense The General Feeling of Sadness and Malaise. Eventually The General Feeling of Sadness and Malaise lifts. It gets better with time. Feeling depressed (over anything) is absolutely valid. It's real. It's painful. It's universal.
Having depression, though, does not lift over time. It's always there, as the base layer. It's as regular as your heartbeat, and like your heartbeat, you don't always notice it. Sometimes its possible to not notice it for months, until one day you wake up and its beating so loud inside of you that it takes all of your focus and energy to listen to the rest of the world. And you can't explain why it suddenly became so loud or why you can't turn the volume down. There isn't a reason, it just is. It almost feels like it's throwing a fit just to remind you that you can't ever forget it, and that ultimately its the driving force. It's showing up just to tell you, You're not cured yet. But nice try with that whole therapy thing.
It's physical, too. You can still move, and you can still do the things you need to do (usually), but when the depression gets loud you feel like a million rubber bands are stuck to you and every time you try to move you have to work against the tension. And then time feels like it's moving slower, so you're more aware of the fact that you're shackled by invisible rubber bands, and it all compounds on itself until you just forget it and stay home until your brain clicks back on.
Meanwhile, it's odd to be writing about this because it feels entirely unoriginal and not at all entertaining. Unfortunately I've been stuck in a longer period of loudness for a bit now, and today it's loud enough that it's pretty much the only thing I can focus on. Seeing as I made a commitment to myself to write and publish five days a week until the end of the year (or maybe indefinitely, who knows), this is what I have to work with today. So it goes.