I WILL ALWAYS FEEL THIS WAY
This is a thought that drives people to despair.
In a severe depressive episode, it is hard to claw your way through the next five minutes.
A lifetime of this wretchedness feels impossible to endure.
It is as if you are barely holding up a massive boulder, and someone tells you, "yeah, you just have to live a functional life while holding up that boulder for the next twenty or sixty years."
The truth is, you don't have to keep holding up the boulder. You need to yell for help, and let someone help you ease the boulder off your shoulders without crushing your foot or hurting your back.
Depression also tells you: you have always felt this way. Looking forward and looking back, all you see are pitiful failures and moments shellacked in sadness. Your mind cannot access or imagine a different state of being.
Do not trust your own perspective. Your eyes aren't working.
You need to call out to someone who can see through the fog. Ask a trusted person to tell you what they know about you and your life. Probably it will turn out that your life has not been an empty expanse of shattered dreams.
You were fine last week, dude.
You can also apply the logic of science. Change, after all, is a constant in the universe.
If you read the stories of the many fascinating persons who have suffered from depression, their stays in psychiatric inpatient treatment ended. They recovered. Many people (including myself, more times than I'd like) have been in a vortex of wretched hopelessness, and passed out of it.
Pema Chodron says: "You are the sky. Everything else--it's just the weather." To which I always want to say, "yeah, but the weather is intolerable and the sky can't get out of the weather, so this metaphor isn't doing much for me at the moment."
To which my stoic father would say (as he has said to us kids innumerable times when we really wanted to go home from the beach/camping trip/jog around the block): it's just rain. You won't melt.
Pema Chodron's point is: the depression will pass.
My dad's point is: you are strong enough to bear through the storm.
My message is: You will soon be able to look at a pretty tree and have human feelings. You will get through the day without thinking about how hard it is to get through a day. The leaden mantle will fall from your shoulders, the boulder will disappear, and you will feel the sun on your arms.
First, though, you have to call in the calvary. (In the form of someone you trust.)
You probably also need to see a therapist.
Time for help.
Bipolar Bear & the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Health Insurance: a Fable for Grown Ups is a graphic novel about a bipolar bear who gets lost in the Labyrinth of Health Insurance Claims.
When Mystical Creatures Attack! is a novel about an idealistic teacher who has a nervous breakdown and corresponds with her former students from an inpatient psychiatric facility.