Living with Depression: What Does It Feel to be Normal?

Oftentimes I am asked, “what does it feel to be normal for me”? And of course, I do not remember at that time. Because I do not have any memories of those few rare normal days I have had before. So this time, before I forget, I thought I would write here. Maybe reading this later might give me some hope, something to look forward to!

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So I have four and a half normal days, after a long long time. I do not even remember when was the last time I felt normal before that. It started last Saturday morning. Nothing really happened before but I felt great! I made my world’s best Salad and take that to a potluck party with my labmates and our professor. I had a great time with everyone. I made sure I talked to every single person at that party, especially the new ones. I introduced myself and talked a while with everyone. I had a great conversation with my professor too. I was proud of myself that day. Sunday spend really well with my cat. Neo and me, nobody else. I decorated my bedroom in such a way that every night I am sleeping in a meadow with a sky full of stars (and a huge moon too!). It was awesome. I decided to embrace myself, and I am a colorful person. I decided to spread my color everywhere. I am a child inside, right? So let me be the child in me, unapologetically! I don’t care if I am 30 or something more. I am a very lively, extremely empathetic, extremely emotional, and the most colorful person I have ever seen! I should be the best of me, regardless of what other people might think! It was a very content feeling!

I had a great work presentation on Tuesday, my research should see progress pretty soon. My classes started on Wednesday at noon-ish. I even participated in the class and asked pretty good questions!! Can you believe it? I never participate in any classes (even though I have always something to say or ask). It was going great so far. I am focused on my work, I am enjoying my alone time, I am not afraid to talk to unknown people, I am excited to go out of my comfort zone. Everything seems so colorful and pretty. I look amazing! My hair is always what I want it to be. Above all, there is no empty feeling, there was no hole inside me. I was feeling normal. Yeah, it was what normal looks like for me. I wasn’t struggling every single second not to give in to my ‘empty feeling’. It was a relief. I could actually concentrate on work, that I am super excited about. I could taste my food. I get hungry. I was sleeping fine, no more waking up multiple times at night, no more nightmares. Wish this could go on forever!

But I was scared too. Trying really hard not to think about it too much, but this ‘normal’ feeling will come to end pretty soon. Four days is a long time already for me! So it ended. The normal me is gone! The mental me appeared! Soon after my class on Wednesday, suddenly this empty feeling started grasping me and within a couple of hours, it was all over me. This time it hit me really really hard! Nothing, nothing in this world is tasty. I cannot even swallow anything. There is this huge huge hole that suddenly appeared. I feel empty. I feel alone. I feel tired. I feel like I cannot trust anyone ever again. I don’t feel like talking to anyone, receiving phone calls, or even moving my fingers. I just laid on the bed. I don’t know for how long!

Then yesterday, I reached out to my nurse because I didn’t want to end up in the hospital again. My nurse arranged an immediate session with one of my school counselors. He was nice. He talked to me for about 2 hours. He made a safety plan for the weekends. This session also bought up some of the past memories that I was able to put aside. I was able to forget the pain. But I am reminded again. Not a good thing for me! I have my regular counseling on Monday. I just need to survive till Monday. But then what?

It is Saturday today. Almost evening. I managed to get up from bed just now. Started writing this. I feel very tired. The last time I ate something was yesterday evening. I need to eat something now. But the thought of eating feels like a punishment now. (I should be skinny at this rate, but I manage to put more weight even with zero eating!) But let’s stay positive! Maybe things will get better. I am trying to hold onto this thought only. I am trying so hard here.

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If you are struggling or know someone struggling, please seek help. Find professional help if you can. Find someone who would understand your pain. Do share you feeling, share your pain. You can also email me here for support: <>. if uncomfortable, email anonymously. But don’t suffer alone. We are in this together! Let’s be kind to ourselves.

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Broken but Beautiful!

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I am a PhD student, living with depression.

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