Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open?

A while ago I was on http://www.moomie.co.za and the discussion was about depression – someone felt they were feeling a bit low, and wondered if it was depression.

A conversation ensued, and at some point someone asked “well, what is depression…”

Some days I feel I have an epiphany where I can explain something and it even makes sense to me.

This I felt was one of those cases and I wanted to “steal/copy” the post I made on the forum and keep it here on this blog as it is a good description of how I feel when I am experiencing my depression:-

The way I describe depression – and I am sure someone else may experience it differently is …

…you know that feeling when someone close to you has died …you have that sadness that permuates every pore … you are so sad, that you want to cry over everything … anything … all the time… so you are mourning a death that never occurred, and the profound sadnesss never goes away ….

You cannot face anyone or anything … trying to socialise even with people you love is painful and exhausting, and all you want to do is go home and sleep… and escape.

You feel this weight … this pressure on your soul … all the time.

When you smile, you smile with your mouth, but there is just nothing past that… inside you are screaming

You feel like you are sliding into this deep dark hole … and the sand is starting to fill over your face …. you can’t claw your way out though you are desperate to try … you have no hope of getting out of the hole … you can’t see any options except that the hole is getting deeper and blacker … all you know is you are sliding further back and further into the darkness, no one can hear you scream and no one can help you….

Nothing feels good … nothing tastes good … your senses are dull ….

The only respite from this agony of the blackness and the nothingness is to close your eyes and go to sleep …. then you do not feel… you count the hours when you are awake so you can go to sleep again and the hell and pain can stop … when you close your eyes, you count the hours until this torture starts again… and take a breath of divine relief as you get a inch of peace as you drop off to sleep ….

The moment you have woken  … even before your eyes open … you feel the darkness envelope you like a cloak … it is heavy, it is suffocating and you cannot get out from under it… getting out of bed is exhausting and takes every ounce of your stamina.

The darkness and desolation is painful… and the worst is you are so alone … you are going mad, because no one understands … and no one can hear you screaming … but you are … you are literally screaming in your head in pain and anguish … you are in a room full of people and you are alone …

Depression for me is very real.  It is like a dark creature that lurks on the outside of my being every single day … I can smell his fetid stink and feel his oil on my skin.

I am always aware of him lurking, knocking at the cracks waiting to get in.

If I am out having a good time, and go to the bathroom, I will catch a glimpse of him in the mirror whilst I wash my hands, just to remind me that he is there … waiting, just waiting …  because he knows the time will come sooner or later … and so do I.

No matter where I am or what I am doing, or how happy/good my mood is, I am always aware of my dark companion.

<Winston Churchill was so accustomed to visits by depression that he had a nickname for it—his ‘Black Dog’.  I like that term and might steal it for my own use.>

Leave a comment


  1. Anne

     /  August 23, 2011

    they say if you find yourself in hell the only way to get out is to keep walking….the problem with depression is not only not being able to find the way out but coming to believe that there isn’t one….that this is the reality and not the exception….it’s a tricky bastard.

  2. Cheryl

     /  July 4, 2010

    It is good 2 know that I – well Wenchy & I r not alone. THANK U reluctant mom 4 this post. I think winter is the hardest when its cold & dark more.
    A couple of weeks ago i thought i’d go mad with the screaming in my head. I was so scared that i’d open my mouth & start 2 scream & never stop. Although i’m quite heavily medicated & have accepted after 14 years that i have 2 and need 2 stay on my meds 4 the rest of my life, i still get really bad weeks. Sometimes i’m lucky and its only a bad day. My diggest sadness is that i’m mis-understood. I dont have the support.
    Sleeping is an issue either i cant or i sleep a whole weekend away. I’m a single mom & i thank God that my eldest looks after the youngest. But its not fair 4 a 14yr old 2 have 2 b mother 2 her sister, nor mothering me. On weekends the girls know its nap time. When i sleep the days away.
    You r so lucky 2 have Kennith who knows u & supports u.
    Thank you 4 this post

    • reluctantmom

       /  July 4, 2010

      It’s a pleasure – the post was more for my own sanity than anyone elses.

      But I also get (I really do) that to have someone say out loud what you have been thinking/feeling/going through and struggling to put in to words is a huge relief.

      The madness I felt when my depression really got into full swing, and I just could not understand what was going on – I was convinced that my slide into insanity had not taken on epic proportions.

      How terrified you are for yourself and for those around you is almost indescribable – there really is a moment when a doctor person looks over at you and scribbles a diagnosis on a sheet of paper and your soul literally screams in relief.

      I am so fortunate to have a support like Kennith who can be my lifeline when things really just are tooooo much – however I really can only call on that “get out of jail” free card so many times with three children running amock!!

      I am glad you found this blog and maybe can take some relief that there are others like you, and some days do get better than others days.

  3. Kristin

     /  July 2, 2010

    I can so relate to catching a glimpse of ‘him’ in the mirror. Once again you have put something into words so eloquently. Something that I am never able to actually express myself. That bastard is always lurking somewhere in the shadows. One day maybe I’ll catch him and be rid of him forever.

    • reluctantmom

       /  July 2, 2010

      I find I can see him less clearly if I drink a great deal of wine … clearly not the best solution …. but blurred vision can also be a saviour some days …

  4. Wenchy also wrote a blog post on her depression on the 29th of June and there I’ve commented that I thank her for writing her post. Writing about her depression makes me understand what my sister is going through.
    So thank you for writing about your depression, explaining how it feels like when depressed. This make me understand how my sister is feeling.

  5. the friend that made you do it

     /  July 1, 2010

    for me it is just so completely terrifying that i can go from one moment to the next and my whole life can change. think there have been times where i have actually been mad, can’t ever take back those days but i have learnt, and Kennith is right, that even the darkest days will pass at some point.

  6. Holy shit – you could just have described me and the way I feel. I have never thought of myself as depressed I just don’t. But I go through phases where I feel exactly like that. Sometimes it takes a couple of days to get out and sometimes it can take weeks/months.

    Shew – I had goosebumps reading that. I’m a bit speechless now – have to go think a bit …

  7. Lynette

     /  June 30, 2010

    Wow, never before have I realised how depression can really affect people’s lives. And how a person suffering from depression really feels.

    Although I do not suffer from depression, I am not a “happy-chappy” person, but I manage to survive.

    Thank you for giving me a glips of what depression is like and what effects it has on oneself. I will most certainly keep an eye out for “the darkness” in myself and the people around me which I love and treasure.

  8. Mandy

     /  June 30, 2010

    Thanks. Upon reading this I have tears rolling down my face first thing in the morning at work. All these things are so so very true and exactly what I experience ever since having my daughter in 2008. For such a happy-go-lucky bouncy girl, this was a very difficult and confusing time for me, my family and friends. Why me??? This only happens to other people. It’s really such a weight off my shoulders that I’m not alone in this feelings that creep up on you when you least expect it, and only once you have been there can you relate and understand. But, thanks to strong medication (which had to be forced down my throat at first) I’ve come a long long way. How ironic for me to say that Drugs make my life better!! hehehehehee

    • reluctantmom

       /  June 30, 2010

      Sorry I could not start your day off with a giggle!

      I think the worst part of depression is the fact that you think you are going insane, one dark day at a time. It is so lonely and so overwhelming and you can’t describe it, let alone reach out for help. For me it was a long road to realise that I actually suffered from depression and an anxiety disorder. Diagnosis was one of the happiest days of my life – that moment you realise – excellent I am not going mad, I am actually certifiable!! Yay for me.

      Depression is a daily struggle – and when someone tells me to “just wake up happy” I seriously want to hurt them with a blunt spoon. I am glad you found help, glad that meds are working – they do work, and there are no martyr awards for not taking them.

      Right now I am off meds, and cope okay – for today. But I am always aware of the “dark the lurks beneath.” I have a brilliant support in Kennith who can see when I am starting to slip and helps me out of my hole so often I have stopped counting.

  9. Hilary

     /  June 30, 2010

    I must say that was depressing to read. Mainly because I have glimpses of that in my own life. Not at all to that extreme of course. I often feel sad and unhappy at times when it makes absolutely no sense for me to be feeling that way. Being in a room full of people and feeling alone sums it up nicely I think. Good advise Kennith.

  10. Kennith

     /  June 30, 2010

    just remember that when it comes, it will pass and things will get better…

  11. kutno

     /  June 30, 2010

    Hi webmaster It’s possible to use yours information from this post if I put link back to ur website?

  12. Wenchy

     /  June 29, 2010

    I can identify 100%…. except that I call it my faithful mistress.

    • reluctantmom

       /  June 29, 2010

      There is something to be said for recognising it and naming it – somehow it gives you a sense of power and control.

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