This Is What My Worst Depressive Episode Felt Like
“People think depression is sadness. People think depression is crying. People think depression is dressing in black. But people are wrong. Depression is the constant feeling of being numb. Being numb to emotions, being numb to life. You wake up in the morning just to go to bed again.”-Anonymous
I can remember it like it was yesterday.
A few years ago, I went through a major depressive episode that lingered for almost three years. While I’ve personally experienced depression on and off since I was 14, this was the worst and longest depressive episode I encountered yet.
I shudder at the thought of living through that experience – I felt so alone, so worthless. It was one of the worst periods of my life and just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes.
This particular episode was a time of complete darkness and an absolute lack of hope. Life as I knew it had become pointless and meaningless in every way.
Below is a picture of me at one of my lowest points. It’s not a picture that I necessarily want to share, but it perfectly portrays how I felt inside.
I’m lying in bed (as I have all day) after having a complete meltdown. I’ve been crying for hours, which is evident from my puffy eyes, red nose, and chapped lips. Struggling and feeling completely alone in my pain, I snapped a pic to show my closest friends, in hopes to feel some kind of connection.
Looking at the picture now, my heart hurts for her.
She was lonely, scared, and simply exhausted. By this point, depression has completely taken over me and every aspect of my life. I no longer had control of it, but rather it had control over me.
I also wasn’t eating much, if at all, and had lost 20 pounds. I remember telling some of my friends this was the skinnest I’d been as if it was something to be happy about. But it wasn’t.
This was no longer just depression. Instead, it had turned into major depression.
This diagnosis was officially confirmed for me when I found myself sitting in a counseling office talking with a psychologist. Mind you, it took over two years of dealing with this depression before I found myself seeking help. It was definitely long overdue.
It took threatening to hurt myself and my husband stepping in for me to realize something had to be done.
Isaac had to find the psychologist, make the appointment, take me there, and even speak for me. I was completely lost and incapable of functioning properly. I sat there in a complete daze as the person I loved the most, and some complete stranger, discussed the state of my mental health and what we can do to feel some sort of normalcy.
That normalcy didn’t kick in overnight – even though I so desperately wanted it to. I left that office thinking nothing would change. And to be honest, it didn’t for quite some time.
The psychologist adjusted the medication I was already taking for anxiety and depression and added another to the mix. I thought my life had become one of popping pills to find some kind of happiness.
Thankfully – that wasn’t true. But it sure did feel like that way for a while.
I slowly but surely began to see the light, making its way through the cracks of the depression void I was trapped in. Looking back, I will never, ever forget what it felt like to go through that depressive episode. It’s a painful reminder of what I never want to feel again.
While going through the experience myself, I found it somewhat comforting to relate to others who had gone through something similar. So, I wanted to share what my worst depressive episode felt like for anyone who may be experiencing the same.
I Felt Numb, Every Day, All Day
What do I mean by feeling numb? It can be extremely hard to explain it if you haven’t felt it before.
But for me – feeling numb meant I felt completely disconnected from reality. I was emotionless, constantly running on empty, and felt as though I was a walking zombie day in and day out.
This numbness also caused a tirade of other symptoms.
Being able to focus became exceedingly difficult for me, whether I was at work or at home. Whenever I was driving, I often found myself arriving at my destination and not remembering how I got there. I would sit there completely stunned wondering how I even made it safely.
I also felt detached from everyone and everything.
It was as though I was in a different world and everyone else was just a simulation. I felt like no one could hear or see me, or that they simply didn’t care that I was in immense pain. In my mind, Amber did not matter and isn’t really needed in this world.
I Did Not Care About Anything
Please believe me when I say this, but I truly did not care about anything.
I can remember going through this phase and Isaac telling me, “But you do care…” He may have thought that, but in that moment and in retrospect, I can honestly say without a doubt that I truly did not care.
I didn’t care about myself, my family, my past or future.
In my mind, the idea of any sort of future became completely abandoned. All I did was simply exist. I woke up, threw on some clothes, went to work, came home, put on my pj’s, and laid in bed the rest of the day. Then, I would repeat the same thing the next day.
And even though I love food, I found myself eating the absolute bare minimum. My appetite was completely shot, and I no longer cared about nourishing my body or indulging in my favorite foods.
It’s unsettling when I think about it.
I was feeling a level of anger and dissociation that I have never felt before and haven’t since. It’s scary to wonder how things could’ve ended up if I didn’t get any help. But thankfully Isaac stepped in and took charge.
Sleep Was the Highlight of My Day
From the moment I would wake up, I longed for sleep. Because then, at least I could escape the pain.
The pain had become too great for me to handle every single day and I no longer wanted any part of it. Sleep was the only means of getting away from the pain. So, I found myself literally sleeping my days away (unless I was at work).
Even if I wasn’t tired, I would force myself to go to sleep. And believe it or not, it wasn’t that difficult to do.
My reality was no longer a pleasant one and at least I could find some sort of bliss in my dreams. That is if they were kind to me.
My Career Suffered & Job Hopping Became the Norm
From the moment my major depression set in, my career began to suffer.
I didn’t necessarily work at a place that valued mental health. And I definitely didn’t feel comfortable bringing it up to anyone. So, I began calling in a lot as I was simply too drained to pull myself together to face the world. My bedroom became my safe zone.
I eventually looked for a different job hoping that would fix the problem. But it didn’t.
At first, my new job seemed promising. However, I quickly realized the grass wasn’t greener on the other side. If anything, it made my depression worse.
Eventually, my job performance began to suffer, and I begged for the chance to work from home. It seemed like it might actually happen. But my boss thought he knew best and told me he thought it would be too isolating for me.
It was utterly embarrassing to walk into work day in and day out with everyone realizing I had been up all night crying. It was completely evident from my appearance. Even worse, I would have uncontrollable meltdowns in an open-office environment.
I felt like I was being forced to display my pain for everyone to see. It was truly horrifying.
I eventually summoned up the courage to leave that job after being there less than a year. And it was the best thing I could’ve ever done for my mental health. I took a couple of months off to rest, heal, and to find myself.
While those two short months didn’t reveal everything I was looking for, they were without a doubt a true life saver.
Looking back on my worst depressive episode, I’m surprised that I even survived it.
I wasn’t myself for so long. It was a version of me that I hated and couldn’t stand to see in the mirror. It caused me to view the world as an ugly place that had no love to offer. Thank goodness I was wrong and began to listen to the rational voice inside my head. The voice that told me I was worthy, strong, and simply enough.
Even though it took years, I came out stronger on the other side.
There are still days where I struggle, but through it all, I was able to develop the necessary skills to self-soothe and regulate my depression.
If you are struggling with a depressive episode, please do not give up. Life is beautiful and is truly worth living. It may not seem like it now, but I promise you will get past the storm. If you told me the same a few years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you for one second. But boy, did life prove me wrong.
Stay strong and hopeful – it will get better.