By Sarah Wong
You know those days when you wake up in the morning and you just immediately feel like shit? Like you have no particular reason to but you just do? Then you try to rationalize it by attributing your mood to things like not getting a good night’s sleep, a problem that bothered you the night before, a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, etc. and you go through all these plausible causes but you can’t really find the reason, so you proceed through the regular tasks of your day with this lingering melancholy that you drag along with you like a ball and chain, debilitating your capability to function? And part of you is saying, “Hey man you have things to do, goals to achieve, and fears to conquer. This is one of those defining moments to prove to yourself that you are better than your disorder and you can fight it!” while another, more existential part of you argues, “But being sad and sleepy and calm is so much easier…why do I have to do all this stuff today? Why do I do any of it at all on any day? What am I even doing with my life?” and you keep trying to do everything you’re supposed to do that day with these conflicting thoughts until at 6 pm, the latter voice wins and you take to your bed in defeat?
No? Well, that’s how most of my days went when I was really far deep in this shithole called Depression. I would barely talk to anyone, or deliberately avoid instances in which I would have to. Even today at 2 pm on a Sunday, both my parents are home and yet I haven’t spoken a single word to them. And that has nothing to do with them or anyone else I encounter on a daily basis; instead, it’s because I’m too preoccupied being forced to converse with that nagging voice in my head that’s convincing me that I like the comfort and familiarity of desolation. That it requires too much work and energy that I don’t possess to function like a normal person. That it’s sooo much easier to just lie in bed and listen to podcasts all day and not have to do anything that’s intellectually challenging. That if I free myself of the things that cause me mental strain like studying and socializing, I’ll “feel happier”.
It is this constant, internal dialogue that keeps me from being able to concentrate, let alone study, and talks me out of social situations, whether they’re networking events or just hanging out with friends. So then I’m left alone with no motivation, no energy, nothing. Just the thoughts in my head. The very thoughts that made me feel lonely in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle, and one that’s really hard to break.
One of the really tough parts is not only having the constantly competing voices in my head, but knowing that the enemy that’s nagging me and pulling me down is myself.
It’s a product of my own chemistry, my own perceptions, and my own consciousness. And sometimes, there’s a fine line between the Depression and, well, me. No one ever wants to be their disorder, whether it be cancer or mental illness. But when the disorder is quite literally all in my head, then what the hell do I do?
Herro! I’m a student going into my second year at the University of Toronto studying Psychology and Neuroscience, with a little bit of History and Philosophy of Science thrown in the mix. I’m an executive member of the clubs Active Minds UofT and AFTER UofT, and I contribute to other mental health advocacy efforts on campus. I’m also a bubble tea barista, an avid podcast listener, and I kinda wanna get back into graphology again. I have depression, generalized anxiety, and a slight lactose sensitivity 🙂