There are some that don’t know this about me but for as long as I can remember I have dealt with severe depression. I have battled it for so long that it feels like it has become a part of who I am, like me being talkative or the blue color in my eyes that you see. It feels impossible to fathom a life of not feeling the way that I do or being happy day in and day out. In fact, I tell people all the time that happy people scare the beejeezus out of me because I always wonder what’s festering under that smile of theirs. What deep dark demon are they hiding? Because in my head we are all hiding them right? I just felt I was much better at being in tune with mine vs them?
Over the years however, I have learned that my depression seemed different from what people perceived depression to be. Many didn’t seem to know just how dark and debilitating depression can feel unless you have felt it for yourself. How you can feel completely and utterly encapsulated within yourself and nothing anyone says or does seems to make your depression any better. Your mind is your own worst enemy. People say “It will get better”, “You’re not alone”, “There is help” etc all of these things didn’t give me comfort because my depression wasn’t just me being sad… It wasn’t about just dealing with a tough situation. This was something that felt a part of me. It was inside of me. It grew up with me.
In my depression you sometimes cannot differentiate the difference between what’s made up in your mind and what is in fact reality. It makes us believe things; much like a person who truly believes that red balloon is green until the day find out they are actually color blind. Someone gives them a pair of “magic glasses” that allows them to see the world as many others do. Only they are not magic glasses, they are seeing reality. It’s just a reality they can’t physically see without the aid of these glasses. It’s then that they realize they have been deceived by their very own eyes this whole entire time. I feel depression works very much the same way. But instead of just my eyes deceiving me it’s also my mind.
I have often wondered if having depression like mine is much like being born with ADHD or Autism or anything else alike? Where there are things you can do to help lessen your symptoms of the disorder or things you can do to make it more manageable but, at the end of the day you are still Autistic and or you still have ADHD. Or like addiction where if you stop using every day is a battle to not succumb to what is calling you. So you seek the help that is offered but find that the help is just mere Band-Aids for the problem but not to be confused with a cure. My issue, my disease or my disorder whatever you want to call it, has many Band-Aids but yet there is no real cure. I just can’t imagine not having to battle these demons until my dying day. Much like those with disorders, diseases or addictions.
My depression is unlike the depression people see on tv and in movies. I am not bound to a bed. I go to work every day. I am not always sad. I don’t cry all the time… In fact sometimes I have the hardest time shedding a tear while other times I will cry for what feels like no reason at all. My depression is much more silent. It’s a hidden in darkness that lurks mostly only in my mind. There are times where the darkness seeps through to the outside world and people get a small taste of what I feel. You see only what I allow you to see. Outsiders are still completely oblivious to all that transpires inside my head.
They don’t see the disturbing pictures of my lifeless body hung everywhere I go, they don’t feel the tightness in my chest as my heart is constantly squeezed through the day. Or the gun shot that ends it all for me that day, the crash I replayed in my head over and over again as I drove. They don’t see how when my husband complains about things like a dirty dish, I want to shout, screw the dirty dish, the dish isn’t important…. Why can’t you see that the weight that weighs on my mind outweighs the simple things that make you complain? I just sometimes feel like it takes all of me to live each day, each hour, even sometimes down to each minute. How sometimes I just don’t sweat what feels like little things because I know my mind is dealing with much bigger issues. Bigger demons and those things feel really small in comparison.
People think because I can live what seems like a “normal” life my depression can’t be “that bad”. I would dare anyone to walk in these shoes and then tell that to me to my face. I would dare someone to feel the weights that bear down on my chest in forms of anxiety by just talking to people. I dare them to see the imagines that I flash through my mind a million times a day, I dare them to hear the voices that replay in my head and whisper in my ears through my day. I dare them to feel the gut wrenching pain that I feel every time I witness but yet another failure. How my body wants to give up but I cannot because others would be too sad. I will be deemed selfish and didn’t think of them. I dare you to live inside of me day in day out and then tell me would you want to live or die?
It’s so easy for us to say at least it’s not as bad as this….. Or that…. At least you have…. Insert here the obvious truths that we all know and yet, you are then still telling me that my feelings, my pain, my story isn’t good enough because someone else has had greater pain? Suffered bigger losses? To when is what I am going through valid enough to feel as deeply as I feel it? We all need perspective and I think many mean well, but I think people forget that you can understand perspective but it doesn’t mean that you don’t have a justifiably right to still grieve or feel the pain that you feel. No one would tell a mother who just buried her child to smile that it could have been worse, she could have never experienced having a child at all. That would be just rude and very unsympathetic. We have to understand that none of us were granted a world of happiness but it doesn’t mean we still mourn the loss of it.
Your posts and messages of not being alone doesn’t help me. It makes me sad. It hurts to know others hurt like me. I do not find comfort in this message. It shows me that our medical community is ignorant to what depression is and what we can do to relieve people of it. We want to throw pills at the problems and yet not see that maybe it’s much bigger than what sometimes even a pill can solve. That while they can help they still don’t make me whole. Sometimes they even make matters worse.
People don’t know that when you call the hotlines that sometimes no one answers, or you’re put on hold. Imagine having a gun to your head, a blade to your arm, a rope around your neck and you hear on the other line all callers are busy… please hold…. Once again in life you are last in line. Or you text instead to only read what feels like scripted lines and at some point it’s regenerated in text just making sure you’re “okay” so they can go to the next person and handle their text… You are in the end feeling like you still didn’t get whatever you wanted. And even if you do this is still a Band-Aid until next time.
We say we are “saving” people but it doesn’t feel like being saved… You’re not saving me; you’re delaying me. Just because I am alive, it doesn’t mean I am saved. It doesn’t mean my quality of life is great and it doesn’t mean that I still don’t think the unthinkable every.single.day because I promise you that I do. We need more than Band-Aids. We need more than people telling us words. We need more answers on why this happens. We need more people to understand what this really is. That there is more than one way to be depressed. Depression comes in many forms. Many different experiences and suicide isn’t just about me being lonely and sad.
Sometimes it’s because you feel people really ARE better off, sometimes, who are we to say they are not. I mean. If someone was a rapist and wanted to kill themselves because they saw their evil and couldn’t control it many would be like, good riddance. They deserve to die, and maybe they do? Some people are so consumed with pain, consumed with thoughts, anxiety, etc that they just want it to stop. You tell them they are selfish for wanting to END pain. You tell people they are selfish for taking their life because it causes YOU pain. So you are saying your pain is more important than theirs. That too my friend, sounds pretty darn selfish too.
If they were dying of cancer or living on life support you would understand why they wanted to die but you can’t understand mental pain. That sometimes doesn’t stay just mental. It can be just as physical as it is mental and you just want it to STOP. You are not out to hurt others you just don’t want to keep living this way and nothing seems to make it go away so you do the only thing you know that will MAKE it go away. People who stay feel tortured by your love for them. Because they love you so much they can’t hurt you so they sacrifice their own peace for yours. They feel jealous mixed with sadness when others succeed in taking their lives because they know just how incredibly hard it is to do because they have tried to do it so many times. Like do people even hear themselves at all? The lack of compassion of astonishing on both sides at times.
Some do so because they are just having a bad time in their life and just cannot see a light. If there is hope for any of these cases IMO these people have the greater chance if you can help them. These people are just in a rut. They just need hope and help. Help in ways that shows them this is just temporary. It’s not chemical or medical. It’s just a moment of not knowing the answers and fearing you won’t find it. They just don’t want to disappoint anymore. Majority of these feelings are just high expectations not met. Just trying to cope and when things go well, they are well until the next bad thing happens and then it’s a revolving circle unless they deal with what causes them to seep so low when things go wrong and how to deal with it. No matter what type of depression you have though in that moment, at that time your mind it all feels like nothingness is better than what you are feeling!
I hope one day we have even more answers about depression than we do now. I hope one day there can be a real cure. I hope that we can eventually see the power we have in ourselves and be to be strong enough to believe it because I know that I want to believe that it’s real. I think it’s why we feel a pull to believe in a god, higher powers etc because we want to know our whole life and being wasn’t just for nothing. It wasn’t just because. That there was a purpose to our existence. That there are no true accidents. That everything has a rhyme and reason. At least I would like to think so anyways…. Depression is not black and white. It’s a lot of color and grey along the way. I hope that as more of us share our experiences maybe it will help those who may find the answers someday and if they don’t at least others will have some understanding in to our world.