By: Lauren Rodriguez, IATG Contributor March 29, 2016
Living with depression is like living with a roommate who eats all your snacks.
I posted that as my Facebook status a while back, and it got a lot of likes, most of them from my friends who know what it’s like to live with depression. Even though everyone experiences it differently, I think that many people relate to this metaphor.
For me, it’s the one of the most relevant ways for me to explain the disease and not just because I love snacks (it’s Girl Scout cookie season, y’all), but because I wake most mornings instantly thinking about how much time is left before I can come back to bed.
Because usually upon waking, I already know how I’ll feel that day. I know that I’ll spend the rest of my day looking for something that’s missing that I just can’t find, like that box of Samoas I could swear I just bought from the cute little Girl Scouts in front of Ralph’s.
I know I’ll sleepwalk my way through an unfulfilling workday, or I’ll curl up in the fetal position in my sweats and Netflix until my mind can’t absorb anymore. I’ll spend time desperately trying to find whatever it is that I’m missing in other people’s art, because I’m unable to focus on my own, the noise of the sadness is too loud, so I spend all day and all of my energy trying to drown it out.
But I don’t find it, that missing piece of myself. I may find inspiration and entertainment. I’ll be moved, and I may learn. I’ll get through my day, and maybe I’ll even laugh and smile a little. Chances are I’ll make you laugh too. I may seem like one of the happiest gals you know, so it’ll really confuse you when I tell you:
You’ll want to know why, but I can’t tell you. Because like I said – I can’t put my finger on it.
I’m missing something, or maybe something’s missing in me. I can’t say for sure. I just know that my mind feels one way in the moment, and then it feels this whole other way the next.
I’ll tell you there’s this giant black hole inside of me, and I can’t fill it, try as I might. There’s a hunger I have that can’t be satiated, a sadness that I can’t wipe away.
It’s easy to retreat into oneself when dealing with this disease, and it’s something I’ve become incredibly great at. I shut down, shut people out, slap on a fake smile, and move through life as if I don’t feel like I could just blow away at any second.
I may never find that missing piece, and I have to learn to accept that for me. That’s a part of my experience disorder. The struggle is a real one, but I’m capable of having days where I come out on top of it, even if it’s not easy, even if I have 5 bad days for every 1 great day.
If you’re feeling like you’re depressed, or if you’re like me and you’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression, please don’t do what I spent years doing and hide it away. You are going to have really terrible days- that’s the nature of the disease- but that doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of having truly great ones.
What can we do to erase the stigma of depression? When you have a bad day, how do you move past it? Make a list of things that brighten your mood and help you overcome the crummy days! Post it in your room and check it out when you’re feeling blue. And remember to visit the IATG resource page for more support.
Lauren loves soaking up new people and new experiences. She’s found her way through sexual assault and and eating disorder and she’s learning every day how to live better with depression. She values family, friendships, helping others, laughter, and the ocean. She’s just a roaming soul learning to live a desire-based life.
Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.