Over the last few years, I have seen many people, particularly on social media, sharing information on what they think depression looks like. To them, depression is feeling a bit sad and lying down in a dark room. I guess there are times where it can look like that, but there are so many other sides to depression that many people still refuse to believe exist because they are not what depression stereotypically looks like. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you will have a better idea of what depression actually looks like.
For me, my depression can present itself in a variety of ways, as it does with everyone else who also has depression. Depression can look like me curled up in a ball on my bed in silence and darkness - very much like the stereotypical idea people have of depression. But depression can also look like me painting my nails. It can look like me dancing around in my room with my music playing. It can look like me spending time and laughing with my family and friends. It looks like me forcing myself to get out of bed every day and to carry out whatever I have to do that day. Just because this is what depression looks like for me, doesn't mean it looks the same in every person with depression. As depression is a mental illness, you can't see it.
There have been a number of times, particularly over the past year, where my depression has been so bad that I haven't even been able to stand up. It's almost like my head suddenly becomes too heavy for my body and I have to fall down to the floor and stay there until my head becomes light enough for me to be able to stand up again. It's almost as if I go about my day as normal, but all of a sudden, some weights come down on my head, causing me to fall to the floor. Eventually, someone comes along and starts removing those weights, maybe not all at once, but one-by-one to the point where even if you still have some weights on your head, you can stand up and still try to go about your day, albeit at a bit more of a slower pace and everything is more of a struggle.
Another way of trying to make sense of depression if you are not someone who has it is by describing it in the context of the weather. Imagine you wake up and it is sunny outside, however, gradually over the course of the day it starts to get a bit foggy. This fog creeps down quite slowly, getting thicker as the day goes on, to the point where you can't see anything. Alternatively, this fog creeps down quite quickly; or, it may also already be there as soon as you wake up. This fog may soon lift on the same day, it may still be there when you go to bed but has gone by the time you wake up, or it may even still be there for another few days, weeks, possibly even months. Sometimes it starts to lift slightly, but it soon creeps down again, thicker than ever.
At the end of the day, there is no universal way that depression looks like. Anyone in your life could have it, whether they have told you about it or not. No one owes you an explanation of their depression or any other mental illness for that matter. You can't even explain why you have it, because it's not like you choose to have depression. Depression and mental illnesses don't discriminate. They are something that is always going to be there. There may be times where things are slightly better, but you are never of a mentally sound mind and everything in your life is in some way affected by it.
If you do not have depression, check-in on those around you. Don't ask them if they have depression, as they may not want to open up about that or admit to you that they do. Just let them know that you are there for them and remember to be patient.
If you do have depression, I hope you're okay. If things are difficult for you right now, you will get through them. You've gotten through everything so far and you can easily get through this. I know it's difficult and I can't promise you everything will work out okay in the end, but I can promise you that I and many others are always free for a chat, should you need it.
I hope this has cleared it up a bit as to what depression actually looks like. If you have any further questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below, DM me on Twitter or Instagram, or send me an email.
How are you?
Love Beth xx