The effects of depression on perception are profound. Cognition and all of the senses are dulled, deadened, and darkened. While I have spiraled down the depression pit in the past, everything seems to turn numb, dark, and/or painful. I’ll give a short thought illustration of how the senses, perception, and cognition are affected.
A Moment of Depression
The clear, blue sky on a beautiful summer day fades to a light shade of bluish grey. I’m holding my favorite food in my hand, but I cannot smell it. I force myself to take a bite and it tastes like cardboard. My silky shirt feels faint, not even soft to my touch. I hear some of my favorite music from the past play, but it does not sound like it used to. It is not a matter that I’ve outgrown it. Instead, the song is darker, duller, void of emotion, and the notes muffled.
I trip over a pothole and tweak my ankle. I probably deserved that. I’m not worthy of any career I wish to pursue because I’m worthless and lazy, and can’t do anything right. A woman looks at me and smiles, telling me Hi. That’s just happenstance, and I didn’t deserve such a gesture. I deserve to die. Everything is my fault.
The world will be better without me. I’m a burden to everyone around me. How can I kill myself appropriately to escape this anguish? I can’t bring myself to do anything good, and going outside took all the effort in the world. I can’t touch, hear, see, taste, smell, love, feel, think like I used to. I can’t come up with any good ideas anymore. Nothing can cheer me up and all I get are glimpses of things that make me happy, if even that. All I know now is pain and loneliness. How about slitting my wrists so my family will be able to see my body when I’m dead and hurt them less?
If you or anyone you know is going through depression, keep in mind the world of someone struggling with depression is very different from a healthy mindset. Unless you have dealt with depression yourself, it is very difficult to understand it. One can’t always simply get out of bed and do what he or she needs to do to get ready in the morning.
The contents in the thought illustration (or a similar context) are lingering in the mind of the depressed person. Perception spirals down easily, faster and deeper the more the depression progresses. The thoughts/lack of senses stick in the forefront of the mind and take turns tormenting the poor victim. You can think of it as a giant trauma loop that will not go away.
The best thing anyone can do for a loved one with depression is to be there for him or her. Hear the victim of depression out, and have an open ear, mind, and heart for him or her. Most of all, affirm loved ones with depression and tell them how much you appreciate them and why. Write it down and hand it to them, so they can reaffirm your words and/or pictures later.
I hope the illustration may help shine light on what’s going on in a depressed mind, and that it may help.