Depression: Walled off from the lifeworld

One of the best accounts of depression I’ve read recently is from Mark Fisher’s Ghosts of My Life:

“Depression is, first of all and above all, a theory about the world, about life. Instances of minor cruelty or indifference are exhibits in a case against the world, perhaps superfluous exhibits given that the case is so overwhelming … [it is not] sadness or frustration, standard downer states, but depression, whose difference from mere sadness consists in its claim to have uncovered The (final, unvarnished) Truth about life and desire. The depressive experiences himself as walled off from the lifeworld”

Forgive me if I’ve copied it down wrong.

That pretty much chimes with my experience. Bricked in by depression – “Walled off from the lifeworld”

But recently I’ve noticed how it’s possible to find ways to cope; ways to stop my mind being pulled under by the current of negative thoughts and feelings.

I have to sort the warning signs early and take action before I’m gasping for breath.

More time ‘out’, more sleep, less stress, remembering it always passes.

When have these strategies in place depression feels less like a brick wall to be demolished, and more akin to a Perspex screen of varying opacity. Unless it’s set to absolute blackout, I always have the potential to strain my eyes and recognise the world on the other side.

Depression is a lens filter which alters our perception of what ‘is’. That filter is outside of ourselves; an external agent that can distort, but never fundamentally alter, external reality.

Depression is just a layer of distortion; it’s neither you nor the world that is ‘wrong’.

Even if sometimes you don’t have the energy to strain your eyes to see nothing more than a pale outline of reality, do keep watching. The darkness always fade out eventually.