The Impact of Depression on the Every Day Experience of Beauty

Ideally, I would like to live my life in a state of ceaseless joy, but I’m not, so here’s my litany of complaints about the impact of depression on my daily life.

One day, I woke up and realized that I had stopped doing a lot of things that brought me joy in my day to day life. I had logged off of all social media, which at first felt like a step in the right direction for my mental health, but which ultimately severed me socially from a lot of people I know but don’t talk to on any other format. This was the last thing I noticed that had changed before I realized that everything else had changed, too. That was the last thing that had changed before I noticed the chasm of emptiness that had engulfed my heart. Because for no real good reason, I had also stopped doing things like going out to parties, hanging out with my friends at bars, reading about art, experiencing art, listening to new music, watching new movies, exploring fashion trends. Just – I had stopped generally exposing myself to new experiences in the world, and I had forgotten how to find those experiences and enjoy them.

Instead, I had drowned myself in grayness because it felt safe. I had closed my eyes, too, so it took me a really long time to realize that I had become a permanent resident in the doldrums. I had willfully unwrested myself from a life that was otherwise filled with beauty, and I camped quietly in a thickness of fog that kept me safe from feeling anything other than semi-somnambulatory. I guess it’s hard to feel other people’s feelings when you’re busy escaping your own – it was too dangerous to try to feel anything at all, lest I brush elbows with my own emotional paucity.

I became a master of hiding. I hid in my room where I did nothing at all. I hid behind someone else’s face that I painted on every day so no one could see me in my state of sheer terror. Coming home and doing nothing at all for days on end started to feel natural, normal. The idea of leaving the house to, say, look at art at a museum sounded onerous and pointless. I haven’t learned anything new about the world in months. I am afraid to touch anything new in the world because there has been too much pain thus far. So I made a home for myself in the familiar, and no one noticed the difference.

I have noticed the difference. This is not who I am, this is not who I want to be. My depression took my creativity from me – slowly, piece by piece, so that I would never notice. Suddenly, I was a drone. Everything that I could have put towards my writing – which I love so much, and which defines me – got put towards working. I guess I can give my depression credit for that – I found solace in my ability to produce, albeit not creatively, but as a member of a capitalist society that (let’s be honest) I totally resent.

But, whatever. I think today is the first day that I’ve started to slowly tip toe away from my depression, and a quick glance back over my shoulder is threatening to stultify me with the shock of: why the fuck did I let my depression do that to me for so long? How did I forget to enjoy the world? Why did I stop finding joy in this existence?

Answer: whatever. It happened. It happens from time to time, and I see you, depression, creeping around the back, trying to dress up as guilt and regret. None of that for me today. I’m leaving you here, and I hope you suffer without me at least as much as I suffered here with you. Not that it matters, because I am trying to never cross paths with you again.

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