What Depression Feels Like: A Typical Day
This is an original article by Kelley Jhung
This is what I often felt like before I started Ketamine Infusion Therapy.
You wake up and the hollowness in your chest aches like someone stuck a knife in you and twisted it slowly.
You grasp for something, anything, to fill that chasm: exercise, going outside, texting people. But you keep plummeting. You force yourself to do a H.I.I.T. workout. It leaves you breathless, sticky, overtaxed. It took you out of the void, but when you’re breathing normally again you fall back into the abyss.
You’re desperate. Maybe changing your environment is the answer. You tote your laptop to the library, put on noise-cancelling headsets, and write about how empty you feel. It’s a purge. But it doesn’t relieve you of the pervasive sludge. As you walk out of the library, even though you’ve changed your surroundings for awhile, you still feel the the void pulling you back.
It’s the type of emptiness where googling something like “overcoming depression” won’t help you.
Reading self-help articles like “How Gratitude Can Change Your Outlook” or “I Tried 30 Different Things to Boost my Confidence & Here’s What Worked” makes the vortex wider, gives it more power.
Sometimes, when you aren’t imagining the commuter train obliterating you and how repentant that’d feel, such articles give you hope.
Not today, though. You can’t even look at those platitudinous titles. They may as well be written in Cyrillic. You’ve read shit like that all your life. You’re still wretched.
You can’t tolerate the utter despair, the pain, so you take a Xanax left over from when you had a panic attack in 2002. It puts you to sleep. It’s the middle of a fucking weekday, everyone else is productive, working, doing things, but you have to escape somehow, if even for a couple hours.
You wake up two hours later. In that somnolent state, you realize nothing has changed and it’s still pulling you deeper. You can’t stop it.
As you rouse, fear grips you again as you hear the train barrel by.
You look on line and find back to back yoga and meditation classes at a studio 10 miles away. You impulsively sign up, put on your $100 Lululemons, as if anyone gives a fuck that your ass looks like a smooth, perfect melon.
You lay on the studio’s polished hardwood floor as the instructor plays crystal bowls, wind chimes, gongs. You want to be filled with spiritual awakening, or at least emptied of the poison in your mind. You lay there for 75 minutes. Your neck hurts. Your brain will not let in the sounds.
You’re a plastic mannequin; you are nothing.
You do the sun salutations and chaturangas during the following yoga class. You drive home, feeling lighter but still the spiral still pulls at you.
You try to send some emails, arrange a productive schedule for tomorrow so you have some structure.
You’re tired, despite the nap you took. You can’t wait to hide under the mess of flannel sheets in your bed. Maybe you’ll feel better tomorrow. Maybe this was just a strange day.
It wasn’t though. You should know better by now. Your despondency wraps itself around you, enters you, the moment you open your eyes the next morning. Fuck. You do not want to be here. You do not want to be alive. It’s too painful, too persistent. You’ve done years of therapy, been on a slew of medications, done EMDR, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, hypnotherapy, supplements; you’ve immersed yourself in work so you could escape yourself. You are out of options.