This post is going to be brutally honest, and raw. It is a topic I have wanted to post about for a long time, but have not had the courage to do so. The timing wasn’t right, I didn’t know what to say and how to say it, and I was afraid of the possible responses I could receive. However, in light of recent events losing Robin Williams, and the pouring out of honesty I have seen from so many people, I believe there is no better time than now.
Suicide probably carries the greatest deal of stigma in mental health. People who don’t understand depression and the darkest depths it can carry you to have a difficult time understanding how painful it can be, and how beautiful it can look when you are below rock bottom.
Depression is a terribly dark place. And the greater the hold it has on you, the more painful it can be. Depression brings with it anxiety, paranoia, anger, sadness, sometimes physical pain, and irrational thoughts that you are absolutely alone. No matter how strong your support system of friends and family, your brain tells you that you are alone. It tells you no one could possibly want to know your pain, that no one will understand, that you will be judged instead of helped, and that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. It is literally a struggle to live life. Finding the energy and motivation to do even the simplest of tasks is not only incredibly difficult, but getting yourself to get up and do something is draining. The joy in life literally has been sucked out of everything. It’s almost like the world has become gray. And the people around you, your friends and family who you once knew were there for you, you now believe they could not possibly care. No one cares. So why should you? Why should you continue to fight forward? Why should you continue to live so selflessly for everyone else around you? When do you get to help yourself? When do you get to be selfish? When does it end? What if it never ends?
The battle truly never ends. No amount of medication, no matter how well it works, will ever completely take away the pain or the ever present thoughts in the back of your mind. It is ever beckoning. She is a dark mistress who stands just over your shoulder, with hands wide open to offer ways to take away the pain. Just a couple drinks won’t hurt you. Just a couple pills will make it better. Just one cut will take your mind off of it all. But it’s all a lie. And eventually, no matter how much you drink, how many pills you take, how deeply you cut, how stoned you get, nothing works anymore. And realizing that there’s nothing that can truly take the pain away nor any longer keep the depression at bay; the end seems so much sweeter than trying to struggle through life hiding behind the facade of joy. And you learn quickly that it’s so much easier to paste the smile on your face and tell everyone your fine than have to explain to your loved ones that you’d rather end it all and be gone of this world than keep on living. Because living hurts too much.
I have been there. Often. And I have painted the smile on my face and told the world I’m content when really, all I want to do, is be gone. I have spent weeks at a time wondering when it will end. When will the light come back in to life and the laughter be sincere? When will getting drunk, getting high, and cutting deep no longer be a necessity to help me breathe again at the end of the day? When will I stop crying myself to sleep? When do I get to be selfish?
I’ve never known which is scarier: Being in so much emotional agony that you want to be gone from this world, or knowing the blueprint to how you would do it.
I feel there is no greater pain for oneself than being lost in the darkness of your mind. There is no greater mourning than losing hold of your own sanity and desire for your well-being. There is no greater loss than losing your desire to live. And it is a battle so many fight every day, and so many choose to give way to.
I have suffered from depression since I was a young teenager, and bipolar disorder for 6 years. Too often, the desire to give up has crossed my mind. I’ve never acted on it. I’ve battled hard and long to fight through the empty dark that is depression. I have reminded myself that eventually the roller coaster will pull me up from rock bottom. But words, I find, are insufficient to really bring to light the pain one feels at the bottom of that pit.
This is not a cry for help. This is a confession. This is an effort to express the raw and vulnerable truth that is depression. And an effort to, hopefully, allow for a better understanding of what too many people in this world go through every day. Do not discount people when they are reaching out for help. Listen, console, and be a soul to lean on. In our darkest hours, it is what we need most.