Depression can often make you feel like you’re drifting endlessly through an abyss. It will take everything that you’ve ever loved, and render it to a smouldering pile of ashes, slipping through your fingers. For the longest time, before I was on a successful blend of meds, felt this way. I was surviving, but any more than that felt like it was either too much work, or that I didn’t deserve it. Depression does this to you. It makes you feel worthless, and steals your energy away. I did, and still do, practice unhealthy isolation. Whenever I have a bad, mental health, day I always seem to lock myself away in my room. This of course, I have been told by mental health professionals, that I’ve begin to trust, is an unhealthy habit. The act of removing myself from whatever may have caused the day to be an awful one, while in theory would work wonders, often ends up removing myself from everything, not just the bad things. I tend to not answer text messages, and phone calls, which makes me feel like a bad friend, and a bad person in general. As you can imagine, this does not do anything good for my mental health. I’ve noticed that this is actually a pretty common behavior, because again the theory of the act would seem to help. While it does provide some level of relief from the daily grind, the negatives often outweigh the positives, if not done carefully. As you probably know, carefully is not really a concern of people trying their very best just to survive.
That feeling you get when your depression is really bad, the feeling of just existing that causes pain, it not one that you really ever get used to. Sure, the effects of it may diminish in strength over time, as you grow accustomed to feeling like nothing, but you really can’t ever get away from the despair this feeling causes. It’s something that I have tried very hard to get away from, and I got lost at the blackjack table, and at the bottom of a bottle trying to escape. It’s not as if you can ever really get away from it, but the idea of a little release to the anguish you feel is oh so tantalizing. Like I said, it’s very easy to get lost trying to escape the feeling of being empty, so I’ve, recently, discovered that its better to be on the safe side and find healthier, less addictive escapes. Great news I know! I walked a tightrope over a valley of alcoholism and made it to the other side. I may have lost my footing a few too many times, but I never let go. That is the key here, no matter how bad it gets, it can always get better, so long as you don’t give up. Granted, things can always get worse too, but that part isn’t as important, because no matter how bad it gets, it can and most likely will, get better.
Giving in can seem like a very easy thing to do, yet it is probably one of the most difficult things there is. That is a common misunderstanding with depression. Just because we lay around in our PJ’s all day, for a week or two…without showering…or eating, doesn’t mean that we have given in. What it does mean, is that for a short while, we are completely exhausted. We have given everything we have, and then some, to the fight against our depression, and we are spent. We have nothing left to continue the fight. Yet, we still persevere. While it may look to most like we have given up hope, we are actually recharging our reserves, in order to fight back once more at full force. Until then however, the most we can do, day to day, is just survive. It’s ugly, disgusting, and downright disturbing, but isn’t that what life is? Life is not pretty, it is not elegant, it is just a bunch of people trying their damndest to get through the day, by any means necessary. The part that matters is that we aren’t giving up completely. There are people, and I’ve been in this place too, that can’t do it anymore. They don’t even have the energy to simply survive anymore. Depression has taken everything from them but one thing, their life. Yet depression is greedy, it wants everything.
There comes a point in everyone’s battle with depression where we question, “Is it all worth it?”. Is it worth it to get out of bed, is it worth it to go to work, it it worth it to see your friends, is it worth it to ask for help? Unfortunately, for some, the answer is no, it is not worth it. These people, while we may view their actions as giving up, we sometimes forget to see the battle that they have waged for so long. The scars, whether visible or not, that reside in these people’s souls from the fight that ultimately costs them their lives are often forgotten. We sometimes fail to see a person, that is probably stronger than anyone, having fought, every single day of their lives, as strong. We think that suicide is the ultimate sign of weakness, that it is a cowards way out. What I see, is some of the strongest people on the planet that had a weak moment, and was taken advantage of in that moment by the monster we call depression. I sit here, writing this, after attempting to take my own life, not once, not twice, but three times, there was even a fourth attempt that was thwarted before it even began. I was able to recover in these moments, some by sheer luck, others due to the help of those dearest to me. For others, they will never know what it feels like to have survived, what a glorious feeling it is. While it certainly doesn’t feel that good for a very long time, eventually, surviving an attempt, will feel like you’ve won some sort of lottery.
So please, let’s stop the petty crap about whether mental health is real or not, depression is just a phase, anxiety is just made up, because that’s wrong. We have people out here, fighting tooth and nail to survive just another day, and they most certainly do not need someone telling them that their war is all made up. They need love, and support, and someone to tell them everything is going to be alright, even if its not. Just hearing those words have saved my life more times than I’d like to count. So stand up, and start caring, not how these people affect your life, but how you can affect theirs. Because the last thing we need in this world is more people dying because nobody was there to help them.
Read more from me at my blog The Smiles We Bear