Today I’m not feeling great. I have a migraine…..or at least that’s what I’m going to tell everyone. I do get migraines and they are terrible, but I don’t get them as often as I say I do. Why am I fibbing? Because people understand migraines and like depression, the symptoms are invisible. If you’ve had one, you can relate to it and if you haven’t, you know they are terrible and render you nonfunctional. Today I am nonfunctional, not because of a migraine, because I am depressed.
If you say, I can’t go to work today, I’m depressed. People don’t get it unless they’ve been there. They expect you to suck it up and get on with your day. Sometimes you just can’t. If you have a migraine, it’s all poor you, put your head down and rest. For some reason the invisible symptoms of a migraine are more acceptable than those of depression.
When I have a real migraine, my head hurts. It’s an unbelievable pain, I imagine its how one of the looney toons must feel after having an anvil dropped on their head. The pain makes me nauseous and I am sensitive to light and sound. All I can do is lie in a cool dark room. The only thing that seems to help is sleep.
Depression is kind of similar, on a bad day, my whole body aches, protests to every movement. I get nauseous too. Not because of the pain, but because I’m so disgusted with myself. I am extra sensitive as well. I can’t be around people because they’ll see through me and discover I’m not worth the air I breathe. How are you supposed to make friendly conversation when all you can think about is how much you hate yourself. If I can’t make regular conversation, how am I supposed to work. As a grad student, my work is thinking. When I am down, my brain gets foggy. I have trouble connecting thoughts and remembering things. I feel broken. It’s like someone took my brain and left this empty shell behind. I feel guilty for not telling the truth, but I feel like people understand better this way.
What do you do when you just can’t face the world?