What depression looks like

I went to a new psychiatric nurse practitioner yesterday to talk about trying a new medicine. She did a thorough intake before talking to me about possible medications I could try. Much to my relief, she told me I hadn’t actually tried that many drugs, and there were several more I could take for a spin.

One question she asked was, “What does depression look like for you?”

I’m not sure a therapist or doctor has ever asked me that before.

To me, depression looks like sleeping for 12 hours a night and still needing a nap at 2pm.

It looks like being too tired, mentally, to go for a run, even though I know it’ll make me feel better. 

It looks like the laundry piled up because I can’t muster up the wherewithal to put it away, even though washing it and drying it wasn’t so hard.

It looks like being unable to pick an outfit, and hating every piece of clothing I own, and feeling too ashamed to walk out the door. It looks like not knowing what to wear to ride my bike, or what to pack in my bike bag, so not going anywhere after all and just staying home.

It looks like having a minor panic attack anytime a text message or email comes in. It looks like not responding for a long time because my mental capacity shuts down at the thought of interacting.

It looks like leaving places early, even if I’m enjoying myself, because I am overwhelmed by talking to people or simply being in the same place as them.

It looks like forgetting plans I’ve made or things I’ve said or things I have to do.

It looks like struggling to get stuff done at work, but still getting it done, just maybe at half staff rather than full tilt.

It looks like forgetting words when I need them or taking a longer time to conjure them up.

It looks like angry outbursts when I’m frustrated.

It looks like watching a lot of TV because I can’t seem to focus on reading a book or even a magazine.

It looks like waking up at weird times of the night and just scrolling through social media.

It looks like doubting friendships or familial ties. It looks like thinking my dog would be happier somewhere else. 

It looks like not showering for a few days. 

It looks like cooking is too much work and sometimes even microwaving stuff in straight out of a package is too hard to figure out. It looks like nothing sounds good to eat, anyway. It looks like eating out a lot but making my fiance choose so I don’t have to think about it.

It looks like gaining weight. 

It looks like not brushing my teeth before bed. 

It looks like starting letters to friends but not finishing them. 

It looks like this tiny voice in the back of my head that whispers, “Everyone would be better off without you,” whenever I sit still.

It looks like just needing to sleep, please, just let me sleep.

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