Describing Depression: A Ship’s Analogy

6:00 am…

It’s Saturday, and the first thing that crossed my mind when I opened my eyes somewhere around 5:30am is disappointment. I wasn’t sleeping the sleep of forever.

*deeps breath*

Instead of regaling you with my depressive thoughts, I want to take a moment to explain depression while it’s striking me here and hard at this time. I’ve tried to do this a number of times, but the words wouldn’t come.

It’s always easiest to describe something while I’m in the middle of it.

Depression.

There are different levels of depression. It ranges from feeling “gray” regardless of the environment or events around a person to actively attempting suicide or, in my case, disappointed that when I closed my eyes the night before, I’ve come to open them again.

If your first notion as you read this post is to open up a message box to me to remind me of how you’re there and love me, that you’re all there for me, keep reading. There’s no need for that level of desperation. I already know all you can say, and possibly even more. ❤

If I have to describe my depression right now, I’ll have to give you a scenario of what a good day looks like to me. First and foremost, I have to apologize to a lot of seafarers and people who live by the sea, use the sea, and basically live with the sea.

Let’s pretend that I’m a ship/boat/large vessel on the vast ocean that is following a coastline from destination A to B.

Good days are when the skies are blue, cotton like clouds in the sky, and I can basically see as far as the curve of the globe makes the horizon dip against the ocean line. In the distance is the shore, and on top of that shore is a lighthouse.

That lighthouse is where all the people who mean a lot to me are. The candles they hold to illuminate the darkness lights up that lighthouse. That’s the place I look to when the seas are stormy and the sky isn’t bright and blue.

Depression would be the type of storms that can meander through. Some days, there aren’t any storms. Other days, it could be a light drizzle, or a persistent one. Other days, a tropical dip may come in. Hurricanes. Typhoons. Monsoons. Tsunamis. The list goes on.

Which means the visibility of that lighthouse is dependent upon how light or heavy the storm is. Right now, the storm is heavy enough to limit visibility to no more than 10 feet. The oceans are tossing me up, down, left, right, and like every Captain of every sea vessel, one hopes that the anchor – signifying everything that me as a person would have in my arsenal to keep me afloat – would hold.

I can’t see the lighthouse.

I may or may not sound the horn of my distress.

And this, dear readers, is what it may look like from the lighthouse’s perspective.

Friends can see that storm as well as I can because they know me. They know those storms as depression, and the well-versed ones will usually be on the lookout – like a master interpreting the signs at the horizon to know what kind of storm is brewing.

They’re listening for the horn of distress when the storm has hit… and continues to hit. Because just as I can’t see them, they can’t see me. It is always more difficult seeing from the light into the darkness. It’s like having the sun in one’s face, if I can describe it as such. They don’t really know what condition that I might be in through the depression.

So when I hit that horn of distress, they try to answer.

They light every candle they can find. Some of them try to figure out what kind of giant bonfire could be executed to make that small flame more visible in the howling winds, the pouring rain, and the turbulent seas.

Friends and the people who mean a lot to us are the proverbial light in the darkness.

Only depression’s darkness isn’t still. It’s not like standing in a dark room without light. Depression is like the hell storms that take a coast, that make people bunker down and stock up or pack the family into a vehicle and travel to a safer location.

People like to say “You’re not alone.” They also like to say, “Remember those who love you.”

I understand I’m not alone. I also know there are those who love me and will be horrendously saddened by my departure – if my ship was to sink, if I was to sink beneath the ocean waves. I would be lost, and it would be incredibly selfish of me to think “It’s because nobody cared in the first place.” However, those thoughts will emerge 9 times out of 10.

That is the depression – the storm – talking. The storm wouldn’t care about me, and it’ll make me think that because of its veracity, no one can come help me. That’s what fuels the thought that people didn’t care. I was alone.

A part of that is obviously false. Another part of it is true. I also believe that it is from the understanding of this that I’ve managed to turn, time and time again, back to the people I know who cared about me. It stays the hand holding the blade. It stays the hand holding the bottle of pills. It stays the hand that is determined to cause self-harm and self-demise.

It is because I understood that at a certain point of my depression, I am very much alone… But…

I am not abandoned.

That’s the difference.

Those who love me are there, but I can’t see them except for a random flicker or an errant, more powerful ray of light before the storms veiled the lighthouse again.

This part of depression, the part that often determines whether one lives or one dies by one’s own hand, is the most terrifying part of all. Sometimes we have drugs – like the passing of a storm – for things to settle back down. At that point we are able to reassess where we are, see the damages, and repair if possible. We can see the rays of light from the lighthouse pushing through the rain and the darkness for us to reset a course and find our way back to the ones we love and care about us, to mend the other parts we couldn’t fix ourselves…

Like a ship going back to port for needed repairs after a storm.

Not everyone has access to medication. Whether it’s because there was never an official diagnosis – due to lack of affordability or time, or one simply couldn’t afford the drugs…

Some of us simply had bad experiences and never gathered enough strength to begin again with someone new.

As for me, I’m like that ship caught through 2 storms, back-to-back, and I’m fighting it in hopes that the storm will break soon. It may. It may not.

But I hope this has given some of you a little bit of extra insight to what depression may really feel like from the POV of the person going through it.

~*~

Until next time, Wynter.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s