Nothing can describe to someone who has never met depression themselves the feeling or experience of being so severely ill. Many people have tried, but the truth is that person has to experience it to understand it.
How do I explain to someone emptiness, hopelessness, emotionless, floating in a void alone in darkness, choking in the vacuum of space? How do I explain the voices (thoughts) telling me to kill myself without sounding “crazy”? Is it even possible to get someone to understand that waking up alive makes me want to scream “FUCK! I’m still alive! Why?” Or what about explaining to someone that I’m living in a woken nightmare, and the medication I take prevents me from dreaming? Is it ok to tell someone to “fuck off” when they tell me to “smile” or “stop looking so sad and angry”, when the truth is I’m feeling nothing at all? When I feel nothing at all I smoke cigarettes because it’s the only thing I do feel as I inhale the smoke deep into my lungs. I am breathing in death to have a sense of being alive. How fucked up is that?
I’ve heard people say ignorant shit like:
- I was depressed once. I was, like, really sad and blue. But then I got over it.
- You just need to think positively.
- You know what your problem is? You’re living in the past.
- Suicide is selfish and cowardly.
I tell those people:
“Have you ever been clinically depressed? No? Then you have no right to an opinion. So, Fuck you! You ignorant piece of shit! You’ve never slipped into the rabbit hole. You’ve never had to fight pain, suffering, emptiness, and at the same time, thoughts of death and suicide WHILE wearing a mask to hide the truth from society.
You are the very reason people like me are stigmatized and marginalized and refuse to get help. It takes every ounce of our being and courage to seek help in the faces of people who see this illness as a weakness. Has it ever occurred to you that perhaps we’ve been wearing this mask for too long and have been strong for too long? That we are ready to call it quits?
Suicide is the result of society failing that person because it takes a motherfucking shit-ton of suffering and pain to want to choose death. You think it’s cowardly to complete suicide, but have you pulled a trigger on yourself, cut into yourself, swallow a bottle of pills, suffocate yourself? That takes every bit of courage to do. It means living is worse than an eternity of death. Think about that. Death becomes preferable over living.
I used to keep my illness to myself. I hid it out sight from public. The stigma in society is still strong and prevalent, even here in Canada. Having to wear a mask all day to appear “normal” is taxing and tiring. The messed up thing is that society keeps saying we need to reach out and offer help to those suffering from mental illness, and when we make our way out of the shadows, that same society says “well, not all of you at once!!!” I want to see a therapist but they all charge $130 an hour. The thing I probably need most to help through my illness is out of reach to people like me. Therapy at those fees is for the rich. At least that’s what the message is saying.
I’ve been battling mental illness for a decade now, roller coastering and yo-yo-ing in between normalcy and depression, even while being treated with medication and having a bit of family support. This illness destroyed my life. But with destruction comes a rebuilding of sorts. At least that’s what I believe.
I’m not dead yet (I’m still alive…) because on three separate occasions my dog stopped me from reaching for the knife or ingesting an entire bottle of pills. She also forced me off the couch to walk her twice a day for an hour each time and forced me to tire her out by going running with her. And today, she decided to come bug me on the sofa instead of where she normally would be, sleeping in another room.
I was going to write about how the sport of triathlon cured me of my illness, but that would be a lie. Although, I like to think that training has made my body fit and healthy so that my mind doesn’t have to do anything except focus on itself to get healthy and better. But days like today where I feel so close to the edge of suicide has me thinking otherwise. All this physical training is meaningless. It seems. My mind is still hell bent on killing me.
I’m sitting here thinking about killing myself. In fact, I woke up wanting/wishing to be dead. There was no trigger. I get that particular thought a lot. This is what the docs call “passive suicide ideation.”
I watched some 24, and a stand up comedy special on Netflix to immerse myself into a story and pass the time, as well as try and bring in some laughter in an attempt to pull me out of this mentally dark and dangerous hole that I am in. I’m here writing to see if there would be any cathartic moments. But the thoughts are still there and I’m getting more frustrated and tired as the hours tick by.
Tonight I have a swimming session with the Master’s Club I recently joined, but the thought of being in public and with club members is making my stomach burn like acid eating through the stomach lining. However, I am going to force myself to go since being out of the house is healthy. Maybe tomorrow I’ll admit myself to the hospital emergency department if my mood doesn’t improve. Maybe.
I did go to the swimming session for which I’m glad I did. Being with good, friendly people and focusing on the swimming sets helped relieve the load I was feeling earlier. My mind shut out the noise in my head telling me to kill myself. And as if the members knew what I was going through without my telling them, two of them stopped their workout to give me some attention and help me improve my technique. For a moment, I felt special. Afterwards, my depression was and is still kicking strong.
What gets me the most is when I begin having thoughts of having to live another day over, and over, and over again. Kinda like the movie Groundhog Day. It’s the same shit everyday. Often I feel like someone trapped in prison. I think the late Tupac Shakur said,
“You ain’t gotta be in jail to be doin’ time.” – from the song Krazy on the Makaveli album
That’s how it feels sometimes. Before I was officially diagnosed with depression and PTSD, the illnesses already did a ton of damage. I turned to a lot of alcohol and self-medicated with it. Long story short, my alcohol use became a problem that caused me legal troubles. That was almost 10 years ago, and to this day even after stopping drinking and quitting smoking, I’m still treated like a criminal but I never committed any crimes. I can’t work in the traditional sense since my depression isn’t stable and is unpredictable. I have an illness but because it’s invisible or there are no tests available to indicate the presence of an illness, therefore, help is difficult to obtain.
The only way to fix that is to do something different, and that sometimes means leaving the current environment for a new one and either ending the current book being written, or seeing if a new chapter opens up. I mean, a bird has wings, why am I imprisoning myself to one spot that may be contributing to my depression?
I’m supposed to have goals to focus on, and I have made them. I have been chipping away at them bit by bit, slowly. There is progress being made each day. There are even breakthrough moments that can be exciting. But to a depressed individual, it really doesn’t matter. Nothing matters, really. And when you pair a depressed person with nothing to lose, well, that’s a scary combination.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to live so badly. I truly do love this planet. When I train or when I race an event I’m closer to nature as I can possibly be without going off-grid. When given time to actively meditate, a spectacular process happens. A sort of awakening occurs that cannot be undone. Truths reveal themselves to you while lies and deceit attempt to hide in the shadows. Say anything to anyone about what you’ve discovered and they look at you like you gone full retard wearing a tin foil hat.
We are a stupid species. Very stupid. Under the guise of intelligence and genius. Our continued efforts to disconnect from nature is probably a cause. The fact some humans think they are not animal and are separate from nature is mind blowing from all the hubris and conceit.
Fact! We are on a rock floating in this thing we call space (space-time) travelling around a sun that is travelling around a galaxy that is travelling around this universe that may or may not be travelling around a bigger universe sitting on “God’s testicle”. AND WE LIVE ON A PLANET WHERE THE ONLY LIFE WE KNOW EXISTS. AND YET WE HAVE TO PAY MONEY TO LIVE. Maybe death isn’t such a terrible option after all.
We never existed for billions of years, we’ll cease to exist for an infinite more. It is this infinitely tiny sliver of time given to us to experience reality. That is all. But we are stupid. We blindly believe that the world is how it is and the systems put in place is how we are to live. Even if it defies natural laws. Even if it means causing harm and suffering to others.
We are defined by our actions, not our possessions. If my action is to shit kick depression, PTSD, and suicide into the curb and knock all its teeth out, then I hate to break it to you all: I’m the one getting fucked, I’m the one getting my ass kicked, I’m the one who’s about to throw in the towel or wave the white flag. Funny that I can do so much and compete in events and outlast a good portion of the population, but all it takes to defeat me is my waking up in the morning.