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Depression: A Personal Account

Updated on August 26, 2014

Depression- A Personal Story

As a lifelong sufferer of Bipolar Disorder with major depression, I can relate to each of the many categories of depression. Since the age of 11, I have struggled with feeling apart from, loneliness, isolation, freakishness, and an overwhelming awareness of unworthiness. Since the age of 11, I have attempted to kill myself twice. I’ve made false attempts, or cries for help, many times- I think six altogether. Only two of them were real efforts to die, though- still a shocking number for anyone not familiar with the feelings associated with depression.

I would like to say first that depression is not sadness. Those two words have entirely different meanings. If I look them up, though, I could seemingly disprove that statement, immediately. Luckily, I’m not tied to Webster as my reference. For all I know, Noah Webster never suffered a day of depression in his life, so how could I possibly use him as a credible source? My evidence is my own life, my own struggles, and the struggles of those closest to me.

The Differences Between Sadness and Depression

When I am sad, I cry. When I have an unexpected emotion that is deep, I cry. If a commercial with a sweet sentiment, or sad tidbit comes on, I cry. When I am depressed, I rarely cry-not because I don’t want to, but because I cannot.

When I am sad, a hug from my husband or child always helps me feel better. It might not rectify the situation, but the feeling of love is overwhelming, which is a soothing comfort for my sadness. When I am depressed, there is no reciprocation to a hug. I feel nothing different. I am incapable of feeling the love and electricity that human contact normally brings with it.

When I am sad, I can still laugh when someone tries to cheer me up through humor or memories. I have the capacity to hear what he or she is saying, and feel it, wholly. I might not want to smile, but I can. When I am depressed, a smile cannot be found, nor forced.

When sad, I can use a television show or movie to help me feel better. If I find a good comedy, it can help ease the heaviness on my heart. If I find a drama, it can help me get out of self and feel empathy or sympathy for the characters. When I am depressed, I cannot focus on the show long enough to form any kind of connection. (I have my television on 24/7 depressed or not, but when I am depressed, it is merely white noise).

When I am sad, I can have lunch or coffee with a friend. I can lighten the load by venting or sharing and I have the capacity to listen to the other person(s). When depressed, I cannot go out, I cannot give attention, and I cannot hear, much less listen or retain.

When sad, I can eat, cook, clean, and bathe, albeit through snot and tears. When depressed, each of these seems like a feat beyond my grasp. I might sometimes push through and do it, but it’s rare and certainly unexpected.

When I am sad, sometimes I feel like a burden. If I require a lot of attention from friends or family, I might feel as though I am asking too much. Those thoughts are most often cast aside once I am assured I am not. Those thoughts are normal. When I am depressed, I feel like a burden to everyone who has ever known me. I feel as though I am sucking the life from everyone in order to take just a breath. I feel worthless, helpless, and certainly, hopeless. Herein lies the opening path to suicidal ideation.

When I am sad, I look for bright spots to encourage faster healing. My body instinctively knows that smelling a flower or walking in the sunshine will help my feelings pass. It doesn’t always make sadness go away altogether, but many times, it helps. When depressed, I cannot will myself to put on clothes, much less step outside. When depressed, more often than not, the idea of smelling a flower does not come to mind. If someone offers ideas to help me “get out of depression,” I usually crawl deeper into my hole of despair.

When I am sad, I feel love. When sad, I have the capacity to remember good times, I am rational, and I am eager to heal. When depressed, I have no emotional connection to anything good. I cannot remember what peace or happiness looks or feels like. I am unable to connect to anyone or anything, and the idea of healing is foreign to me.

Depression Is and Is Not

Depression is not a place I can take myself, willingly. Depression is a part of myself that takes me hostage. A remote, dark place that chains me to my own irrationalities. It is not a place I am comfortable, nor is it a place out of which I can snap.

Depression is not sadness.

Depression is having the same vague thought cycles repeatedly. It is feeling a darkness so heavy; I hide within my own self for safety. It is never knowing if I will survive each day, and never knowing if the heavy blanket of despair will subside. It is waking each day not knowing what I feel, or how to feel it. It is a complete lack of will mixed with an abundance of gloom. It is never knowing if I will have the capacity to feel again. It is always wondering why I’m so broken. It is an inability to show or receive love.

It is a longing to disappear, to sink, to die.

It is a constant war. It is a hellish war.

Depression is not sadness.


Crisis Call Center

800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week

National Suicide Hotline

800-SUICIDE (784-2433)

800-442-HOPE (4673)

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

800-273-TALK (8255)

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week

Thursday’s Child National Youth Advocacy Hotline

800-USA-KIDS (800-872-5437)

Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week


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    • Carol McCullough profile image

      Success In Life 3 years ago from U.S.

      Thank you for sharing your personal account on depression.

    • schoolgirlforreal profile image

      schoolgirlforreal 3 years ago


      I am sorry you still suffer with depression. I have been greatly relieved. I went thru it for years. I had suicidal depressions- really bad ones...esp from my period. (pmdd) (a severe form of pms) along with being diagnosed bipolar - that part I don't agree with, I think i'm just pmdd, but the doctors, many of them, or most, even the one who diagnosed me- said they didn't know what pmdd was.

      I'm grateful my friend told me about it, and now I'm on better meds and feel better.

      I give God credit though, and faith, and pure strong will mom taught me to pray and I always do when I feel upset. It's still hard and always was, but reaching out in that way, and to friends and family and hotlines always helps. thanks for sharing

      your story

      Wishing you health and happiness!


    • MPG Narratives profile image

      Marie Giunta 3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      This is one of the best explanations of depression I have read. Too many times depression is misdiagnosed and people are told to just 'snap out of it'.

      "Depression is not a place I can take myself, willingly. Depression is a part of myself that takes me hostage." These two lines you wrote are such a clear explanation of what depression is and I thank you for sharing your experience with this disease, I'm sure you have helped many sufferers.

    • CrisSp profile image

      CrisSp 3 years ago from Sky Is The Limit Adventure

      Not sure how would I react on this one but you've nailed it sister. What better way to understand it but to hear it coming from a credible person who have experienced it first hand.

      Thank you for sharing your experience and further clarifying it to the world.

      I admire your courage.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 3 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      The finest description of the difference that I have ever read. Thank you for that.