Coming out of a depressive episode is so weird. For me, anyway.
Back when I was in the midst of a depressive episode, making plans was daunting and I usually made them hoping that they would just fall through and I could stay in the comfort of my own home. Leaving the house was always a crapshoot because sometimes I would be fine and others I would feel overwhelmed with the world around me immediately upon stepping out of the front door.
Now, as the depressive episode that I’ve been in since early 2017 is fading, it’s like…while making plans is still daunting and I still don’t feel capable of actually keeping any plans because I might be exhausted, at the same time, when my plans fall through, I get all hopped up on adrenaline and I have no idea what to do with it.
All hopped up and nowhere to go.
But seriously. My brain is like “but I was so ready to do thing and now we are not doing thing but at this point, I got myself all excited to do thing and we can’t just go to bed because now I want to do thing!”
The hardest part is that I literally get myself prepared to do one specific thing. I feel exhausted at the thought of doing basically anything else, but the thought of sitting on the couch for hours and hours on end doesn’t appeal to me either. At least when I was depressed, sitting in darkness and wallowing in self pity was something I could fall back on!
To take it one step further, I am hopelessly indecisive. So even if I have a really good brain day and know that I can do a bunch of different things without wanting to play my best impression of a narcoleptic person and just fall asleep wherever I am, I just can’t decide what I want to do!
And don’t even get me started on interacting with other humans! For me, during a depressive episode, I interact with people as little as possible because I find myself terribly boring. I don’t reach out to friends as often, and when they reach out to me, I end the conversation as quickly as possible so that they won’t realize how awful talking to me really is.
Because their opinion of me from the past few months of depression will completely change after 10 years of friendship. Obviously.
Due to this worry, when depressed, I also find awkward silences unbearable. It always feels as though the silences are my fault, and I’m always powerless to fix them. I become an overflowing wealth of stock phases. “Cool beans.” “That’s awesome.” “That sucks.” “I’m exhausted.” “Why is everyone looking at me funny when I look at the imaginary camera like Jim from The Office?” Anything that could end a conversation quickly and allow me to escape into my corner and eat food.
Ah, food. The only thing that doesn’t wait for me to reply or look scared when I yell “GET IN MAH BELLEH!”.
The more I become my non-depressed self again, the more willing I am to reach out to people, to give my opinions on things, and yes, even to live through awkward silences. They just don’t seem nearly as daunting now.
So now that I’m able to talk to people, I should be a chatterbox, right? Well, I probably would be…if I had been able to leave the house to do anything worth talking about. At this point, besides the inner machinations of my mind, all I can really talk about is escape rooms. Don’t get me wrong, I can talk at length about escape rooms (I’ve done 7 in the past month or so), but the only people who really want to spend hours talking about escape rooms are people who work at escape rooms. And I think I can even be a little much for them sometimes…
I could talk about the TV shows that I watch, but it is generally frowned upon to talk about sitcom characters like they are real people. Or tell people that they’re the only ones who really “get you.” Or talk about trading wardrobes with them and meeting them out on the weekends.
I’ve found that when you do say things like that, whoever you’re talking to will laugh at first because they think you’re joking…and quickly give you a concerned expression when it becomes clear that you are not. Weird.
I think that the strangest part in all of this is: after being depressed for so long, I just thought that all of the traits that Depressed Renata had were the new me. Maybe I’m turning into an introvert. Maybe I’ll always hate leaving the house. Maybe I’ve become a more distant and boring person. People change, after all. Maybe I’ve just become a dull sad-sack!
But as I’ve come out of it more and more, I’ve realized that my personality isn’t gone, just buried under the heavy, all-consuming blanket of depression brain. Suffering through a depressive episode obviously isn’t ideal, and not being fully through it puts me in this weird state of limbo, but it’s validating to be coming out on the other side and realizing that the personality traits that I’ve had as long as I can remember are coming back, no matter how slowly.
Of course, I can’t speak for anyone else. If you’re suffering from depression, I can’t tell you when it will end or if your personality traits are actually changing because of it. The one thing that I can say is that you’re still you. All you can do is keep being you. And that’s a pretty cool thing to be.
Oh and go try an escape room. It may not help, but at least you and I will have something to talk about. 😉
Photography by my talented fiancé. You can find him on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hope_grows_here/