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Depression:  voices of experience

Bullet

"A constant dialogue plays inside my head--the script I'm to follow for my public act of functionality."

"Smile. Now chuckle knowingly. Say something to give the impression that you're listening, like 'mm-hmm' or 'wow' or 'really?' Ok. Now say something insightful or sympathetic, yet general enough to cover all the information you didn't hear. Go ahead, ask to use the bathroom or excuse yourself to get something to drink. Now you're alone..."

Mask

"Alone, the fake smile drops immediately, as if gravity slammed down on me. The weight and blackness engulf me. How much longer can I keep up the act? What excuse can I find to leave? Then, I hear my name called. The smile springs to my lips, plastered in place by an act that's almost second nature. I shut my mind to the omnipresent pain, turn, and, with a sense of humor so much in opposition to my true self, keep everyone laughing. Eventually I leave, silently questioning how much longer I can continue, wondering at the dichotomy I live--wanting someone to notice the pain, yet trying so desperately to conceal its existence with mask after mask." --Anonymous

Bullet

"I experience depression as a heavy, oppressive ball of dark black pain centered just beneath my rib cage, casting a leaden blanket over my entire existence and making every act an effort requiring more energy than I have within my being." --Anonymous

Bullet

"I gaze at my surroundings, feeling disconnected from all that goes on around me--an outside, silent observer, not living in the world I see. The bright colors and sunshine scream at me, so discordant with the black pain inside. The brilliance mocks me." --Anonymous

Bullet

"Depression is a disorder of mood, so mysteriously painful and elusive...as to verge close to being beyond description. It thus remains nearly incomprehensible to those who have not experienced it in its extreme mode..." From Darkness Visible by William Styron, p. 7 [see Depression Resources].
 

Note

 

Do you have a story or description that you feel adequately conveys the pain depression sufferers endure? If so, please share it with me. While I can't include everyone's responses, I'll try to rotate the entries on this page with new ones I receive which describe representative personal experiences. I would like others to understand what depression feels like, so please help me out!

Comments, questions, or suggestions?  Please, email me.


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Jonathan P. Levine, CSW
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Updated on 06/09/2002
2002, Jonathan P. Levine, CSW