What It Really Feels Like To Have Depression

While we've come a long way in destigmatizing depression, it can still be misconstrued, often because it's hard to fully understand if you haven't experienced it.
In a submission to the Love What Matters Facebook page, John Anson wrote a message hoping to help others understand what it can feel like to have depression. Anson said that he came up with an experiment involving a bathtub for those who wonder what it really feels like.
"Make the bathroom cold, he wrote. "Turn on the fan. Leave only a single dim light to diffuse, as if barely there — maybe a flickering candle."
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After drawing yourself a bath, he wrote, "Get in. Lie there in the heat, enjoying the comfort. Close your eyes. Wrap your arms around yourself to make the warm embrace literal. This is the world everyone else knows."
"Now, still lying still in the perfect bath, pull the drain plug," he wrote. "Sit there as the water slowly recedes, as the warm water turns to cool air on your skin. [...] Sit motionless, as you feel the water being sucked down the pipes. [...] After the last of the water runs swirling down the drain’s rim, sit there for a while. Sit there cold and wet and naked. Keep still. Let yourself shiver. Don’t attempt to warm yourself. This is what depression feels like. It feels like everything good has all drained out, leaving you cold and naked and alone."
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental health disorders, affecting an estimated 15 million adults in America. While symptoms of depression may vary from person to person, for many, like Anson, it can leave them feeling empty and drained.
"That is such a good expression of it, thank you," another person commented on the post. "I hadn't realized how to explain it but that is what it feels like."
If you are experiencing depression and need support, please call the National Depressive/Manic-Depressive Association Hotline at 1-800-826-3632 or the Crisis Call Center’s 24-hour hotline at 1-775-784-8090.
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