A Final TW: Depression, Suicide, Reality.
The worst part is that I can see the fall. From the outside looking in my rational mind watches the plummet. I know I shouldn’t be in bed till noon but my body doesn’t listen when my mind says get up, and then my mind slowly begins to agree with a full-time relocation to my flannel hideout when it begins to contemplate how not-worth-living life beyond this bed is. I wake up at 7am but spend 4 hours drifting in and out of a zombie-like daze alternating that with scrolling through social media until I’m filled with enough regret and envy and self-deprecating thoughts to make me sob. I sleep off the tears then wake up 20 minutes later and repeat. When I finally get out of bed I am filled with shame and disappointment because I have wasted yet again another sunny morning. I choke on thoughts of how I should just end my life because it is being wasted by someone with so much potential who can’t even get out of bed by 9am. My heartbeat is audible because I share my morning with a terrorizing fear that the power in charge of this human life is going to realize what a waste I am, since I can’t be motivated to accomplish anything, and will extinguish me in some horrific fashion sooner rather than later. A constant arm wrestle occurs between the voice trying to say it will be okay and all the other thoughts of death and despair that I am busying stomaching, but it is hard to hear the tiny voice of hope while it is getting its ass whooped.
I have lived with depression my entire life. I have gotten quite good at it actually, or at least good at maintaining an external impression of sanity and happiness. That isn’t totally fake, not really a mask. I just wear the face of a part of me that I rarely get to enjoy. I really am that bundle of joy most people know me to be, I am that happy, sometimes. I show you that because I love you and above all, I am empathetic to a fault. I could not stand the sadness I would cause if I shared the internal pain I endure on a regular basis. If you happen to be the closest person to me then you get to bear the brunt of all the things I keep from the rest of the world, and I sorry to my lovers past, present, and future for that. Over the past couple of years, my desire to wake up and try again has been constantly diminishing. It is again that empathetic bone I happen to be born with that keeps saving my life. Bidding adieu to this suffocating feeling of being constantly overwhelmed seems extremely appealing, but I couldn’t inflict the pain of my elected departure on those who love me dearly.
It has been 7 months since I was diagnosed as bi-polar. My decision to finally get help was triggered by a not so graceful rock-bottom, but this little post isn’t where I am going to speak to that. I have spent the past couple paragraphs trying to figure out why the hell I am writing this, and if I am even going to share it. The past couple years have been rough, I have felt lost and confused and my sadness completely unmanageable. It got exponentially worse when I uprooted from my upstate NY tribe and moved to a new city alone (for an amazing fully-funded masters degree, so how could I not). Here there is no one to wonder where I am when I disappear for days because I can’t even manage to shower so I’ve rationalized never leaving my house again. As this was happening I was experiencing some of the biggest wins in my life. No matter how many awards I won, shows I put on, degrees I received, I felt like a complete failure (pretty much only happy when I travel). I cried every morning and almost every night feeling so guilty for waking up feeling like someone had murdered my dog in front of me when so many things were going right. I am so lucky to have come so far out of the real-life pain and trauma I have lived through, but still, I want to die. I guess feeling depressed was easier when life was actually tough, now that I am constantly showered with amazing opportunities I don’t feel like I should be sad… unfortunately, that just makes it worse because it gives me one more thing to hate myself for.
I guess that is one of the reasons I am writing this and one of the reasons I should actually share it, depression is so misunderstood. Like many people suffering from short or long-term depression, I have been told countless times by those closest to me (with the best intentions) to just pick up my bootstraps, do some deep breathing, and think happy thoughts. “Your life is awesome, why would you be sad?” Even when I have tried all the ways to bring about happiness, and trust me I know many ways (I’m a self-proclaimed hippie for goodness sake)… my mind eventually announces “Namaste sad as f**k”. It isn’t something we can wish or yoga away, and that mindset is what causes so many of us to hide our pain from the world. That silent suffering results in people everywhere losing countless friends and family members every year. I have almost lost my life more than once because of forcing myself to only hurt when I am alone.
Jeeze this is long. I feel better though. I have been figuring out a medication strategy that works for me over the past 7 months. I found something that works and for the past 2 months, I have been okay. I stopped taking both my medications a few days ago because I lost my insurance and while I waited for my Medicaid card I couldn’t get my prescriptions filled. I didn’t think anything would happen honestly, well I was wrong… I haven’t felt this way in months, but I woke up with that asshole named Depression sitting squarely on my chest. The dude that has metaphorically shot my hypothetical dog a billion times was like “hey girl hey, memeba meee?”. This morning sucked, but I cried my way to my kitchen and sat down and started typing. I typically suffer that feeling of drowning with my hand grasping at air trying to not go under, maybe my “pen” can save me this go around. Maybe writing about it will help me process faster, heal a little sooner. All I know is I don’t want any of my friends to suffer alone, I don’t want anyone to suffer alone, and if I am blessed enough to make all my wildest dreams come true, I don’t want to be one of those incredible people who I stare at on social media while the monster on my chest proclaims that I will never be as great as them because I am a giant sad worthless blob… In this world of insta-perfection we get caught up trying to live up to standards that are so far from the real human life behind that post.
It is terrifying to think that once I tell people this “dark secret” about me they will see me as less, that those people who look at me as this epically brave traveler will stop seeing me as great. Well, I can be sad and still brave, I have depression but am awesome and epic and kickass… there are just so many days I forget that about myself, maybe the more I talk about it the quicker I will remember how cool I am. I don’t want to just be present when I feel okay, I want to know it is okay to show up as I am in every way, every day. I am a whole person and if I want to share my life and successes as an inspiration to fellow women, travelers, brown people, and anyone really, then I need to share all of me, the most authentic me. This is me, the real me, the me that I am trying to learn to love. It is an exhausting work in progress, but we all have to start somewhere. If you are reading this and you relate, I am here, and will always be someone that any of my friends/strangers who need a shoulder can come to. If you are living with depression, your life is dark enough… so let’s stop living with our pain in the shadows, shall we?