Colour me depressed

Depression is misunderstood. We can conjure up adjectives about how it’s cataclysmic and apocalyptic for its sufferers; we can discuss how it is criminally mistreated and how the solutions we have aren’t working.

But that doesn’t make a difference to the depressed person. I think about it in colours. A break up makes you blue with sadness, red with rage, black with despair and loneliness. But depression makes all those things a monotone grey. The energies associated with those feelings are vacuumed out of your soul, and replaced with listlessness.

Emotions are reactive: events make you sad, happy, morbid, angered or any other point on the spectrum of feelings. Depression isn’t an emotion. It isn’t reactive. It comes on its own and drinks the colours out of your feelings. It isn’t the consequence of an event. It’s just there, and it kills meaning. It kills energy. It kills you in every way that really matters and leaves you a vessel for a dead thing.

In deep depression, you might only stick around because suicide would hurt people who care about you. People say suicide is selfish because you have a responsibility to others, and you have so much to live for. You live in a warm middle-class home with enough to eat, free of domestic abuse. Robin Williams was a millionaire, and he was loved by many, but it didn’t matter. If you wonder how he could be depressed with all of that going for him, you’re confusing depression and sadness. You see the golden glow of wealth, health and love, while he might have only seen grey.

There is no colour there. There is no warmth.

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