Trigger Warning: This post contains self harm and suicidal discussion.
When I’m severely depressed, I would never even dream of opening up about how bad it gets because I feel like I would be burdening others (that was the depression talking). However, seeing as I’m a month into recovery, I feel like I can shed a little light on how bad it gets. Obviously, this is all my own personal experience and the worst differs from person to person.
Sadness – What most people associate with many mental illnesses, the sadness. This isn’t the sadness that you feel as a mentally well person, it’s a heart-wrenching, all-consuming feeling. The tears pouring out for no reason at all and at any given moment. The extended periods of dejection that you fear will never end. Quite simply: sorrow.
Numbness – The worst thing you could ever feel or experience – the inability to feel anything at all. You can’t cry, you can’t laugh, you can’t love or hate. Indifference to everything. An inability to care about the things you hold dearest, even yourself. An empty shell unable to interact with the human experience in any way. I’d take every single other symptom over numbness because at least I was feeling something – to be numb takes away everything.
Depersonalisation – Related to numbness, it’s older sibling. You are doing everything you would normally do but on complete autopilot. Conversations with people, listening to music, work, watching Netflix – all these things happen and you know they are happening but it’s as if you are in a trance/having an out of body experience because it doesn’t feel like they are happening to you.
Self Harm – Everyone who’s ever even contemplated self harmed has completely different reasons. Personally, it helped me to feel something, anything, particularly when going through a particularly rough patch of numbness and/or depersonalisation. It helped me to actually reattach body and mind. But, as any self harmer knows, one cut is never enough, you need to go deeper, feel more, even bleed more.
Catatonia – Blinking, moving, organising thoughts, everything seems impossible. Your mind is blank, you physically can’t move even if you wanted to. It’s like your trapped inside your own body with no way out. You don’t even know how much time has passed, how long you’ve been blankly staring with a glaze across your eyes. Everything seems to be frozen. Even if you are able to move, your bones feel as though they are made of lead, so it’s easier just to stay still.
Exhaustion – Your mind is in overdrive. You’re either sleeping far too much or far too little. Personal hygiene, eating, moving all become Herculean tasks that no one quite seems to understand. Even if you are sleeping, no amount seems to change how exhausted you constantly are and the next opportunity to rest never seems to come quick enough.
Suicidal Ideation – This has such a broad range. It can be a fleeting thought, such as ‘things would be much easier if I didn’t exist,’ to full on planning on committing, buying the resources, making plans on what would happen after you were gone. These thoughts can be all-consuming, haunting every minute of your waking hours.
Suicide Attempt – The most extreme and often painful decision that any person can ever make – the decision to take their own life.
**If you or your loved one’s condition is critical, suicidal, or just very worrying, please call 999. You can also contact the Samaritans on 116 123 – 24 hours a day or Mind‘s infoline on 0300 123 3393 (Mon-Fri 9am-6pm)**