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What does depression feel like to you physically?


juno_writes

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We've all seen the symptom checklists that focus on thoughts, emotions, and behavior, but I'm trying to pay attention lately to how depression feels physically. Maybe that can give me some little bit of distance from it. (If I break an ankle, it's possible to feel that pain without my sense of self getting wrapped up with it.) But depression is so diffuse. It's everywhere -- hard to pin down and see clearly. 

Last time I had a stomach bug, I thought: depression is like nausea. It's a full-body experience, which sometimes has the same sensation of rolling over me in a wave when I move just a little. I can push myself to walk around and get some things done with nausea -- it's not acute like a broken ankle -- but there are no splints or crutches that reliably treat it, and it's so physically and mentally draining that only the most urgent things get done. 

But maybe it's different for you?

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Very important topic.

Depression for me is a deep, dark emptiness.

I have learned to metaphorically anchor myself outside this dangerous abyss.

Old Man Depression plays havoc with our psyches so my feeling is to try to be clever with powerful metaphors to counteract the debilitating effects of depression.

I am always insisting that we are never helpless confronting Old Man Depression.

Maybe this can help a little.

Oscar

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I feel like I'm trying to walk through a vat of jello, with just my head above the surface. Progress can be made, but it's agonizingly slow and very tiring. Other people who aren't having to deal with depression jello can walk easily and quickly as far as they want, while I consider it a good day if I make it 10 feet from where I was.

 

Edited by JD4010
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4 hours ago, juno_writes said:

We've all seen the symptom checklists that focus on thoughts, emotions, and behavior, but I'm trying to pay attention lately to how depression feels physically. Maybe that can give me some little bit of distance from it. (If I break an ankle, it's possible to feel that pain without my sense of self getting wrapped up with it.) But depression is so diffuse. It's everywhere -- hard to pin down and see clearly. 

Last time I had a stomach bug, I thought: depression is like nausea. It's a full-body experience, which sometimes has the same sensation of rolling over me in a wave when I move just a little. I can push myself to walk around and get some things done with nausea -- it's not acute like a broken ankle -- but there are no splints or crutches that reliably treat it, and it's so physically and mentally draining that only the most urgent things get done. 

But maybe it's different for you?

 

4 hours ago, juno_writes said:

We've all seen the symptom checklists that focus on thoughts, emotions, and behavior, but I'm trying to pay attention lately to how depression feels physically. Maybe that can give me some little bit of distance from it. (If I break an ankle, it's possible to feel that pain without my sense of self getting wrapped up with it.) But depression is so diffuse. It's everywhere -- hard to pin down and see clearly. 

Last time I had a stomach bug, I thought: depression is like nausea. It's a full-body experience, which sometimes has the same sensation of rolling over me in a wave when I move just a little. I can push myself to walk around and get some things done with nausea -- it's not acute like a broken ankle -- but there are no splints or crutches that reliably treat it, and it's so physically and mentally draining that only the most urgent things get done. 

But maybe it's different for you?

 

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I would like to comment on the "jello" metaphor invoked earlier.

The vat implies that the jello is not unlimited.

The jello while thick it is not quicksand or concrete.

Jello can be devoured with a spoon.

Metaphorical jello can be removed with a metaphorical spoon.

There is no need for anyone to be caught in jello or any metaphorical trap.

 

 

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14 hours ago, juno_writes said:

But maybe it's different for you?

My arms tingle, like little electric currents are running through them. When this happens, it's my signal to do something to distract myself because it's as if something inside is crying to be.... let out.... 😞 

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The main thing I notice is the overall feeling like I am in the process of coming down with a 'bug'.  The general, vague feeling of 'I am not sick, but I do not feel well.'  Any or all of the following.  Tired as though I cannot get rested, and it feels like it takes so much more effort to even move.  Muscle or joint aches -- not real pain, just achey as though I mildly over exerted myself.  Slight 'tummy ache' whether I have eaten anything or not.  Basically, nothing feels 'right'.

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21 hours ago, juno_writes said:

It's a full-body experience, which sometimes has the same sensation of rolling over me in a wave when I move just a little. I can push myself to walk around and get some things done with nausea -- it's not acute like a broken ankle -- but there are no splints or crutches that reliably treat it, and it's so physically and mentally draining that only the most urgent things get done.

That's a good way to put it. It's like an all-consuming, overwhelming pain that's everywhere and cannot be evaded or hid from. At its worst, even the urgent things don't get done. If it could be weaponized and turned against enemy soldiers, they would just lay down their arms and sit on the battlefield.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This description also feels familiar. Dr. Edith Eger, whose memoir blew me away:

"It's as though all the tears I can't allow myself to shed on the outside are draining into a pool inside. I can't ignore the grief, but I can't seem to expel it either... I don't have the vocabulary to explain the flooded feeling in my chest, the dark throb in my forehead. It's like grit smeared across my vision. Later, this feeling will have a name. Later, I will know to call it depression."

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7 minutes ago, juno_writes said:

This description also feels familiar. Dr. Edith Eger, whose memoir blew me away:

"It's as though all the tears I can't allow myself to shed on the outside are draining into a pool inside. I can't ignore the grief, but I can't seem to expel it either... I don't have the vocabulary to explain the flooded feeling in my chest, the dark throb in my forehead. It's like grit smeared across my vision. Later, this feeling will have a name. Later, I will know to call it depression."

I totally understand what you are saying because at times I feel like I am just staring into space and I am stuck. My emotions are not all there and I feel

like I do not fit into anything.

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On ‎7‎/‎27‎/‎2020 at 11:33 PM, jkd_sd said:

The main thing I notice is the overall feeling like I am in the process of coming down with a 'bug'.  The general, vague feeling of 'I am not sick, but I do not feel well.'  Any or all of the following.  Tired as though I cannot get rested, and it feels like it takes so much more effort to even move.  Muscle or joint aches -- not real pain, just achey as though I mildly over exerted myself.  Slight 'tummy ache' whether I have eaten anything or not.  Basically, nothing feels 'right'.

Wow, well described and thanks for helping me to understand it a little better

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