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May20
2019

Depression Steals More Than Just Joy

By Cheney Meaghan

This piece was originally posted here on Medium.

I’m going on week three of being in a total depressive funk, which seems like a cosmic joke as it was only at the end of February that I was asking myself if depression remission is a thing that happens, because, at the time, I felt totally fine.

It’s serious business for me to feel totally fine, and I thought it was serious back then when I thought I had gone into some sort of depression remission.

It’s not usual or regular for me to feel totally fine, and so something felt…off… like I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop me back to where I was before, and lo, that shoe has dropped.

Yesterday was the first day that I had trouble getting out of bed.

The alarm went off and I snoozed and snoozed the thing, getting up over an hour later than I usually do, only to lay down on the couch in our living room and spend most of the day listlessly trying to watch TV, but I couldn’t even do that because I would either completely space out or just fall asleep.

Today, it was even harder to get out of bed, and I’ve spent the morning reading, not even wanting to bother turning on the TV because I feel like there’s no point, that I won’t absorb anything anyway, so why not read a book I’ve read a million times before, just to pass the time.

That’s what I feel like when I’m in the depths of depression — that everything I do is meaningless — that all I am doing is passing time, waiting for it all to be over.

You know, waiting for life to be over.

Because depression is more than just the thief of joy — it can take your very life.

Depression lies to me, making me believe my life is worthless.

That’s the hardest thing about depression that I struggle with, that I think all of us depressives struggle with the most — that it’s a liar, and it tells us terrible things about ourselves to ourselves, making us believe them.

Things like:

I’m worthless.

I have nothing to offer.

I’m a burden on my friends and family.

It would be better if I were just not here anymore.

Depressive lies start to spiral into suicidal thoughts, which then lead me to panic.

I imagine it’s what drowning feels like, only mentally.

You start to sink under the waves of darkness and then suddenly realize that you want to fight for your life, so you start surging for the surface, choking and flailing your way along until you find yourself back from the edge of danger.

Thankfully, I’ve always been able to find my way back from the edge, but I wonder in times like these whether I will always be so lucky.

Depression steals joy, but it also steals time.

Depression steals time in my life that I would otherwise use creatively, to write, to read, to grow.

It’s nearly impossible for me to be sitting here getting these words out of my fingers onto the screen — I’ve nodded off at least twice, I keep deleting things and re-writing them, not knowing what to say because I feel like it’s the same old story, told for the billionth time by the millionth person.

Days go by and all feel the same because they are the same.

When nothing new is created, a day is wasted.

It’s something I’ve felt for years, and it’s something I feel even more acutely when I am not creating because I am stuck in a dark hole of depression, feeling like I’m without a good word to say.

Depression steals my words from me.

When I am this way, it’s hard to know what to say.

Hey, I’m depressed again.

Who cares, right?

It’s a tale as old as time, and who am I to tell it?

Who am I to tell any stories, she who never edits anything to completion, she who calls herself a writer and then goes days without picking up a pen or putting fingers to the keyboard to nurture herself?

Who do you think you are? Depression asks.

I’m just this girl trying to hold on.

I’m just this girl who fancies herself a writer who doesn’t write regularly, who is bursting with words and ideas but feels blocked up and too zoned out to make anything worth reading.

So I stay away from the page, and then I feel worse.

It gets darker when I don’t tell my stories, even if they’re the same old stories that everyone is sick of reading.

But I’m sick of this darkness, so I come here anyway, looking for some light.

I tell myself if I keep writing anyway, even if depression is the only thing I can write about right now, at least I can still write.

At least I can still do the thing I am supposed to be doing.

The only thing that makes me feel like I’m actively clawing my way out of the darkness.

Because if I can’t do at least this, I don’t know who I am anymore.

Depression is the thief of me.

But I can’t let it take this.

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Comments (18)

  1. Terry McGarvey

    This is PRECISELY what depression does. It robs you of your sense of balance, your perspective, your understanding of your own right to exist. And the pain, the horrible tearing pain that steals your breath, makes you start to almost welcome the terrible thoughts. But I have learned that no matter how painful it is I must keep going. Step by painful step. It will pass. Even when I don’t believe it will.

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  2. Christine

    Perfectly said. I feel some days i’ve beat it. Then just when my guard is down it sneaks up behind me and I do it all over again ! It’s a constant battle.

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  3. Jana

    Every word of this … spoke to my soul.
    Thank you for finding the words.

    Reply  |  
  4. Joy

    Thanks, Cheaney. (((hugs))) We have to keep writing. I you didn’t, I wouldn’t have had a chance to read this today. Much love, ~Joy

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  5. Sharon

    Kevin ask Jesus to lift you out of this and lead you to his peace and joy . He loves you and wants you to draw close to him and show you his purpose for your life. We love you and have since you were a little boy! From all I’ve seen on Facebook you are a terrific actor. Would love to come and see you act! Please seek Jesus and find true true joy! Love, sharon borg

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  6. Jane

    Hey.

    I see you over there.

    Can’t get up, but I typed these words. So there’s that. Air-fist-bump to you.

    Reply  |  
  7. Katze

    Thank you for writing this! Even if it is the millionth time that someone has written these words, I needed to read them today. I know those lies all too well; they’re a large part of me yet. But your words remind me that not all the voices in my head tell the truth. Thank you for writing this!

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  8. Yasmeen

    So relatable.. I am sorry you are going through this as well..

    Reply  |  
  9. Kristin

    I soooo identify with this! You’ve put into words how I feel and that I couldn’t do. Thank you

    Reply  |  
  10. Geraldine

    Beautifully written! Thank you so much for writing it.

    Reply  |  
  11. Claire

    Wow. I am in shock right now. You have perfectly encapsulated what depression feels like for me. It really sucks when the activities that bring you the most joy become the most difficult tasks to complete. Thank you for sharing your story. I needed reminded today.

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  12. Erin

    Thank you for this. I am so with you.

    Reply  |  
  13. Molly

    Thank you so much for writing this. I too recently slipped back into a depression after believing I was in “depression remission.” And I too have been denying myself the creative outlets that help keep me from thinking my depressive thoughts. While I’d like to say your words have fixed everything, we all know that’s not possible. However, your words have made me feel a little less alone at least for a moment and I suppose that is all we can ask for. Thank you.

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  14. Sdb

    Thank you for writing down what keeps running over and over thru my mind. I just want to go to sleep and not wake up. I stay because I dont want to hurt my son. But I dont feel like I belong here. I’m tired of feeling. Just tired.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Hi friend,

      It’s OK that you feel this way. It’s OK that the reason you’re staying right now is for your son. You are strong and the light is still there. Hold on to the love of your son and those around you. Keeping going for the possibility of better days. We believe you’ll find them.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  15. Jemma

    Thank you. For writing this. For fighting to write. For fighting to be alive. Came across this after a really bad night. Its put words to an experience I couldnt explain.

    Reply  |  
  16. Jamie

    It’s true, it lies. This is helpful to read and hear and remember, depression lies. This inspired me to write my own version of how depression lies to me, because it also says that no one else will understand. Thank you.

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  17. Tya

    I can relate to every one of these things. Therefore, thank you for writing this, it makes me feel less alone. I hope both of us and everyone here will get better. Everything is temporary, even the sorrow you carry.

    Reply  |  
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