A good friend of mine posted a link to a blog post about depression. It was interesting, mostly because I could see and understand the patterns in my friend. Here's the post.
His description of depression is, ultimately, not really what I have felt when I get depressed. Maybe this is just because my depression tends to be seasonal, striking during the height of summer or the depths of winter. Still, reading this description made me want to write my own. Maybe this is stupid, and I should save this for some future novel, but let's be honest: if you're reading this, you'd probably read my novel, too.
It starts suddenly, abrupt and without warning, like slipping on ice and landing flat on your back. Sometimes I manage to pick myself up, brush off the ice and pebbles, and move on. More often, though, this fall comes with the emotional equivalent of a broken hip, and attempting to get up brings excruciating pain. So I just stay there and wait until I feel better.
In the mean time, it starts to snow. At first the snow is cold and unpleasant, and I try to get up, to call for help, to throw myself into some activity I love, but everything I do just makes the snow come down even harder, faster, or with bigger flakes, until the light dusting becomes a full-fledged blizzard. After a while the snow dulls all my senses; the howling wind is muffled, everything is blanketed in white, and the pain that started it slowly goes numb. Occasionally my body wakes up a little, and the pain and cold makes me ache everywhere, but it quickly goes numb again.
The snow builds around me until it covers me, a cold blanket that somehow keeps me warm, like sleeping in a snow cave or an igloo. Everything is white, numb, dull, senseless. At some point, the storm stops, but it usually starts again, building onto the blanket with layer after layer. Eventually, though, spring comes. Like I said, for me, depression is usually seasonal, so it doesn't last. It feels infinite, because I'm really stuck, but from an academic perspective I know that it is going to end eventually.
The snow gradually melts. It isn't really noticeable at first, but eventually it comes back down and exposes me to the world, and that hurts too. The light, the colors, the awareness, the heat, all of it brings pain with it, and sometimes I try to build the snow up around me to prevent it from happening, to stay hidden and covered in my bland world. Hiding from pain is natural, but it kind of weirds your rescuers out, because they're like "Oh hey! A guy stuck in the snow!" And instead of celebrating, I crawl deeper, fortify myself, and throw snowballs at them.
Thankfully, my body starts readjusting to this world of color and sound and people and pain, until eventually I'm able to fight against my instincts and rejoin society as a relatively normal, functional adult.
I'm just grateful I haven't gotten stuck in a glacier.