A Few Metaphors to Better Understand Depression
Depression is a difficult illness to understand. It’s hard to understand for the people suffering from it, but it’s downright impossible to know everything that a person who deals with depression on a daily basis goes through if you have never experienced it personally. For this reason, I have come up with a few real-life examples to help those who may not fully understand what depression is or how it functions. Of course, this will be the simplistic version. Depression is an extremely complex disease. As a person with depression myself, I have learned that it is very difficult to understand even for those who have the best intentions and the most empathy, love and support. If a person has not had personal experience, it is almost impossible to know what depression feels like.
I am writing these examples with the knowledge that some of these may strike a chord with people. They are meant to. Depression is a devastating disease, just like many of these very real examples can be devastating to many people around the world. I want to be as honest as I can, but it is also never my goal to offend anyone.
The Head Cold
You feel a cold coming on. It’s a sort of scratchiness in your throat and a foggy feeling in your head. This lasts for a few days and progresses to some more severe symptoms. Your throat is sore now and you have a high fever. There are body chills and the sweats and nausea and you just want it all to go away. It feels like this cold might never end. Finally it does. About two to three weeks later, the cold returns with a vengeance. The cycle repeats itself exactly like this for the rest of your life.
You are doing well with your chosen career path. You are steadily moving up the ranks and your boss always speaks highly of you. You get along with your coworkers, not to mention you actually like what you do. Then there are cutbacks at work and you are one of them. All that you have worked so hard for seems to be lost in that moment and you wonder why it was you.
It takes you several months just to find another lower paying job to support your family and this causes you to change insurance, re-evaluate your budget and you’re not nearly as satisfied with your job. Many people have had to do it, but you didn’t think you’d be in this position until now. This causes a huge blow to your self esteem and tension in your relationship.
Note: This relates to the turmoil a person can go through when they are trying to find the ‘right’ antidepressant. With mental illness as opposed to most physical illnesses, it is pretty much strictly trial and error, and it can be frustrating to say the very least. You can try for months just to be disappointed in the outcome. You can also be satisfied with something you are taking for a while and eventually it may stop working.
You are in a committed relationship with a partner and things are going quite well. You are happy, he/she is happy, and life is good. You are in love.
One day, you are living life as usual and your partner doesn’t come home as planned. A friend tells you that they saw your partner out with someone else. When your partner finally comes home you confront them about what your friend saw and they break down and confess everything. They have been cheating on you for weeks. They are begging you to forgive them, but you are so blindsided you can’t believe it.