The numbness I’m feeling is difficult to explain but it’s important so I’m going to try. During depression people often experience a lack of enjoyment in things that are normally enjoyable. This is my reality right now. My excitement has been stolen and replaced with foggy numbness.
A time for excitement
Each year before the Tony Awards my husband takes me to New York City to watch Broadway shows. It is my absolute favorite time of year. It always fills me with joy and excitement. The joy starts flooding in weeks before the trip and my excitement grows stronger with each passing day. All the stress of daily life fades away and is replaced by excitement. It’s a sincerely fun time of year.
Our trip is happening tomorrow but my excitement is nowhere to be found. My mind is a fog cloud of numbness. In less than 12 hours I will be on a flight bound for New York City but I feel nothing.
I know how I should feel
I remember how this trip normally makes me feel. I remember feeling it in the past. I remember my joy and excitement. I remember singing while I packed. I remember smiling and planning. But I can’t feel any of that now.
I know how I should feel right now. I know I should feel excited. I know I should feel adrenaline. But I’m just numb. Absolutely numb.
Remembering how I should feel makes my current numbness worse. I hate myself because the joy I remember isn’t here.
I deserve pre-trip excitement. I deserve the joy that comes with travel. But the excitement and joy is completely absent… and it makes me hate myself.
Can you imagine it?
It’s like the color and sound has been sucked out of my life and I’m just sitting in a dull and numb fog.
Think of it this way – Imagine looking at a colorful picture that you know well and love dearly. Except today that picture is in black and white. You know the colors should be there, but they just aren’t. Imagine a picture of Wonder Woman; you know her hair is brown, her top is red with gold trim, her skirt is blue… but all you see are shades of gray. No matter how hard you try, you just see gray. Now, imagine hating yourself because you can’t see the colors that you remember.
Or think of it this way – Imagine eating your favorite food. You can remember what it tastes like. You can remember how wonderful it is. Except when you finally take a bite you taste nothing. The taste that you remember is absolutely nonexistent. Now, imagine hating yourself because you can’t experience the taste you remember.
What depression can do
This is what depression can do. It can be debilitating. Depression can make us numb to goodness. Depression can leave us with nothing but numbness and self-hatred.
Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities that one normally finds enjoyable. Someone who is depressed might quit doing things they enjoy.
Depression is real. This numbness is real. It is all valid. I know this all too well, especially right now. Depression can make the numbness seem unmovable and debilitating.
What we can do
The numbness caused by depression is temporary. We need to remember that the numbness will pass eventually and good will come. The fog will eventually lift and there will be sun.
When the fog lifts we need to remember that we deserve kindness. I understand the shame spiral that follows depression. We don’t deserve that spiral. Once the fog clears we deserve to pick ourselves up and move on. As I will do on my vacation.
You may be wondering: “why would she share this ugliness?” I share because someone like me might read this, and I want them to know that they are not alone.
If you are like me, and you are reading this — For today, promise me that you will not give up. So much can change in a day. So much can change overnight. Depression and goodness ebbs and flows. If today is tough, hold on: there is amazing potential that tomorrow might be better. You are not alone.
Sincerely, Elizabeth – Uncustomary Housewife