This Video Perfectly Captures What Depression Feels Like​

by | Jun 5, 2017 | Health

By Nina Bahadur, photography by Unsplash

“Mom says happy is a decision. But my happy is as hollow as a pin-pricked egg.”

If you suffer from depression, perhaps you’ve struggled to explain to others what it feels like—or, if you’ve never experienced it, maybe you’ve wanted to know what people who have it are going through.

A clip of poet Sabrina Benaim performing her slam poetry piece “Explaining My Depression To My Mother” has been viewed over 25 million times, and shows how crippling the mental illness can be. In the piece, Benaim touches on how difficult it is to explain that depression isn’t tied to anything in particular.

READ MORE: All Your Mental Health Questions – Answered!

“My depression is a shape shifter,” she says. “One day it is as small as a firefly in the palm of a bear, the next it is the bear. On those days I play dead until the bear leaves me alone.”

Benaim shares some of her symptoms: Anxiety, insomnia, avoiding friends and social situations, and flashbacks to sad memories. She explains how she wants to be able to make plans and follow through with them, but her depression drags her down. And while she understands that her mother means well, she doesn’t quite know how to get through to her about what she’s experiencing.

Hundreds of people commented saying that the poem perfectly captured their own experiences. According to the World Health Organization, over 300 million people struggle with depression—and it’s now the leading cause of illness worldwide. According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group 70% of those suffering from depression are women. Even though depression is incredibly common, a stigma still surrounds it, making it difficult for people to reach out and get the help they need.

READ MORE: 5 Most Common Health Issues That Affect Women

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) surveyed 1,200 American adults about their attitudes toward people with mood disorders, finding that the majority of respondents didn’t discriminate, but, unfortunately, 18 percent believed people with mood disorders “are not just like everyone else,” 19 percent believed they should not have children, 26 percent thought they were easy to identify in the workplace, and 29 percent believed they “do not live normal lives when treated.”

Benaim is the author of the forthcoming book called Depression & Other Magic Tricks, which will further humanize the struggle that some people experience, and will hopefully spread awareness about depression to people who misunderstand it. Check out the full video here.

Can’t seem to stop having negative thoughts? Here’s how to deal with intrusive thoughts, plus read why Selena Gomez got this new tattoo.

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