Depression Q&A


Lizzie Stobbe

art by Lizzie Stobbe

Annie O'Brien, health + wellness editor

“Siri, what does depression feel like?”

“I’m not sure I understand your question. Would you like me to search the web for ‘what does depression feel like?’”

The internet is great for lots of things, but when it comes to mental illness it can be more helpful to ask people who deal with it firsthand. TKC gathered questions the student body wanted to ask someone with depression, and then went to get some answers.

Can you pinpoint the moment you first realized you were depressed?

“In fifth grade my sister tried to kill herself and it traumatized me. Of course, I didn’t know exactly what was happening but I started realizing what was [going on]. It all started there.” -Jules Johnston, junior

“When I was surrounded by friends but I still felt alone. I had a wonderful group of friends and I would still lay awake at night and ask myself ‘Why am I sad? What’s making me sad?’ I just couldn’t figure it out.” -Anonymous 1

“It was the summer going into eighth grade and I was at the Lake of the Ozarks. I remember being outside at the pool, fully clothed in 100 degree weather and I just refused to be seen in my bathing suit or participate in anything. I remember begging my mother to go back to the hotel room because I felt trapped and I didn’t know why. I finally went back to my room alone and I remember YouTubing depression and realizing that I fit into that category.” -Avery Hardin, junior

What is depression really like in your experience?

“It’s like everything is flat and gray and boring and stale.” -Michael George, physics teacher

“It boils down to a lack of motivation to do things that you love. I have a trunk full of [my grandmother’s] watercolor stuff in my car. When I’m in a really bad place I cannot bring myself to go out to my car and get the trunk so I can find artistic release. There’s a sense of worthlessness and hopelessness. It feels like you’re trying to swim with cinder block boots.” -Charlie Echols, senior

“It’s not wanting to leave the house and feeling like nothing is any fun anymore. When you try to do the things you used to enjoy it just doesn’t feel the same.” -Anonymous 2

“You feel like the whole world is beating you up. Like you’re a punching bag.” -Jabari Hamilton-Banks, junior

“It’s feeling trapped within yourself. Stuff can seem to get better but then it gets a whole lot worse before anything good can happen. It’s a cycle of feeling lonely and feeling that nothing you do is right and nothing is ever going to change.” -Hardin

How do you cope?

“I just concentrated on dealing with the symptoms as they came up. You just do what works.” -George

“Whenever [I’m] feeling floaty, just a feeling that [I’m] not here, I’ll go outside and walk around in my grass barefoot. It grounds me, like, ‘alright, I’m here. I’ll be here tomorrow. I’ll be here the next day.’” -Echols

Do you want to be alone? Or do you want some company?

“Sometimes I need to be with friends and be around people to do something to get my mind off of it. But sometimes you need to turn on the ‘in my feels’ playlist and just chill.” -Anonymous 1

“It depends on the reason I’m upset. Sometimes I want both or sometimes I just need to know that there is someone there if I want them.” -Johnston

“I’m normally a very isolated person. When I’m at a low point I’m constantly thinking of the negatives. I want to be surrounded by close friends and family but I feel like a burden to them.” -Echols

What can someone do to help?

“The best thing anybody could have done was to just keep an eye out for me. If I had not been taking the actions I had been taking, then I would hope they would intervene. If a person is taking [positive] steps I think it’s best to treat them normally as much as you can.” -George

“Just come over and talk. We don’t have to talk about depression. Just talking about your day makes me feel better, like someone is there and interested in what I have to say.” -Anonymous 2

“Just listen. Sometimes that’s all you can do and that’s all people ask is for you to just be empathetic. I’m not always looking for advice or looking for someone to solve all my problems because I know that’s not realistic. It feels really good when someone is there to listen and really wants to listen. It makes me feel less alone, like I do matter to someone and that my feelings are valid.” -Hardin