What Depression Is

by: Mikey Neumann


In the end, your heart is the thing that takes you.

I’m about to put myself out there — like Star Trek out there — because right now I need the one escape that always seems to bring me back. When everything becomes overwhelming and blindingly consequential, you lose track of the ground, and everyone needs his or her own gravity.

Writing is gravity in my world. Family is hope, friends are direction, but finding truth in words is what keeps me on the ground.

So here goes. I hope when you’ve finished reading this, whether friend, family or otherwise, you find some value in my sharing what I cannot overstress my hesitancy in doing so.

After my last trip to an MS specialist, we went over some things that don’t fit neatly into our testing. It’s always important at a doctor that you explain what you are experiencing and how you are dealing with it. This started us down a path on depression.

(If you need background information on my condition and how we got to this point, I would suggest starting at the beginning.)

Depression is the least logical thing I can imagine. It takes over the physical by existing only in the mental. As of the typing of this, in an effort to find the ground again, I am crawling out of my skin. I sent an email to a coworker that said I wanted to kill myself. I’m matter of fact about this, though, in honesty, at the present time it’s true.

Like I said, depression isn’t logical. It’s also not entirely sadness, which is where I think a lot of people can get confused and misdiagnose the severity of depression in different ways. If I were merely sad, even crying for no reason sad (which already happened tonight), I could throw on some magically emotional music like Cinematic Orchestra and get a shitload of writing done. Sadness is useful, even productive.

This is different.

This is drowning.

Actually, let’s run with that metaphor for a moment. Imagine that you’ve been knocked overboard into the deep and vast ocean. You sink for minutes, thrashing against the current, but it keeps pulling you further and further toward the bottom. Given the most basic physical and mental response, at some point any human being will have a moment where they give up and allow the water to take them.

That can be what severe depression feels like. It’s awful. By all logical measures, I should be the happiest person on Earth. I have a great job, working with people I love. I have the most loving family that is probably crashing into every motor vehicle on the highway in an effort to drive over to my house upon reading this. I have great friends, I travel a lot; my life for all intents and purposes is what you could call “privileged.”

Now, the last year hasn’t been the easiest. I’ve been told there is something I am probably also going through that is called “symptom fatigue” where the mental toll can begin to add up on top of whatever mental fabrications you’re already dealing with.

It’s all adding up, and unlike a normal panic attack, it can just keep compounding until there is just nowhere else for it to go. I say all of this, full knowing how cogent and reasonable I sound right now. I thank science above for giving me the faculties to call shenanigans on this Kaiser Soze bullshit my brain is trying to pull on me right now. But there it is, my heart thumping at a thousand miles an hour, weighing on me in the purely physical to try and take me down.

Depression, that’s some next level shit.

So, my gravity for tonight will be to share this. I know in the morning, all will be well, because ALL. IS. TRULY. WELL.

But right now, my body doesn’t believe it.

A lot of people don’t ask for help when things get like this. I almost didn’t. If I hadn’t reached out to a friend tonight (bearing in mind that I still don’t have a phone, so for those of you frantically dialing, you’re going to get a confused thief of a cabbie in Los Angeles), I think we could be having a different conversation.

But logic prevailed and even though I didn’t want him to. I called Chris Faylor (community manager at Gearbox) to come over and just sit with me until I calmed down.

This has helped. Writing this down. How you will react when I share this on the internet, remains to be seen. I hope we can just look at it as another piece of scientific evidence on the elusive mysteries of the human brain — a brain that has seen its share of stresses in between writing pretty words and making silly accents about the catching of various rides.

(Getchu one.)

I hope to see you all back on the ground.


-Mikey Neumann

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(Originally published on December 13, 2012 at It’s Complexicated (http://diagnosismia.blogspot.com/2012/12/what-depression-is.html). Republished with the author’s permission.)