Explaining depression to someone who doesn't have depression

I was thinking about the best way to explain what it’s like to have depression to someone who’s never experienced it before, and I came up with the comparison between states of mind and physical dimensions of existence. This sounds super abstract but just hear me out…

For this to make sense, it is integral for you to have seen Stranger Things or have an idea of the concept that the show draws on. The multi-dimensional theory, as I understand it, suggests that there are many planes of existence which overlap with one another so that all dimensions are operating on the same axis in terms of reality, but their timelines and landscapes may differ greatly. The “Upside Down”, for instance, is a dark, horrific place that lies just beyond the character’s sense of reality, but, when accessed, mirrors their current landscape save for details such as limited light and spooky spores flying around. While the same houses/structures/town exists, it looks and feels vastly different. 

When thinking about states of mind, I like to imagine that everyone is existing in their own little dimension that looks and feels unique to them despite sharing reality with others who are having their own unique experience. When I am in a good state of mind, everything seems a little brighter; the sky seems to stretch farther; people are kind and smile as I pass them. When my mood is low, my vision is darkened; there seems to be a blinder sitting atop my eyebrows preventing me from noticing the sky at all; people are judging me and flash disapproving looks as I pass. 

Having depression makes me susceptible to having radical changes in perspective from day to day. My plane of existence can shift drastically within the span of a day, or even an hour. It also makes for some really dark dimensions that are almost unbearable to navigate; this is when I yearn to escape and conjure thoughts of suicide or self-harm… anything to get out of my own “Upside Down”. Whether or not this is true, I feel like my perception of reality is greatly influenced by inner-dialogue. I think that some people are just naturally more able to exist in a plane that is close to “true reality” (whatever that may be), in which they operate more objectively than subjectively. I feel as though I am highly subjective, where anything I experience is contorted through the lens of my perspective so much that I sometimes lose the integrity of the experience all together. Maybe I am just describing the struggle that we all face… the struggle of “getting out of our heads” and “into the moment”… either way, my reality feels as though it is heavily dictated by my inner state. Unfortunately, with depression, this inner state isn’t always pleasant. This is why even though my life may be “going well”, I can still experience it as if the world is ending. When people say “just look at all the good things in your life and be happy about them”, they are missing the fact that no matter what is actually going on in my life, if my lens is dark, nothing matters. Everything is dark. The opposite is true as well… I may be experiencing great adversity but my lens is clear and bright, so I am able to navigate challenges effectively and even enjoy myself while doing it.

I guess the main message I am trying to relay here, is that everyone experiences everything differently. I feel like that has been said a million times before in a million different ways, but this whole multi-dimension analysis made sense to me so I thought that I would share it. 

Any advice to glean from this would probably be to just keep in mind that everything is not the way we think/feel it is… we just think/feel that it is this way. We can change our lens, with time and work and self-reflection; but sometimes, despite all our efforts, we can’t, and we just have to ride out the wave of horror through our own personal hell. During these times, find someone to hold on to. Keep holding on until you’re out, instead of trying to escape. It will pass, and you will be stronger for enduring it. 

 

Thank you for reading. Take care of yourself out there.

R