On Wednesday, I had a discussion about depression with a friend. I have removed their end of the conversation as theirs is not my story to tell.
I am choosing to post this today because someone I have never met killed himself. And I fucking get it. I get it so much it hurts sometimes.
Fair warning. I get dark. I also am just writing this on the fly, so it may just be a bunch of thoughts that I put down.
I’m a tad fucked up. [Another friend] kinda unintentionally set me on a day of a downward spiral this week.
(I’m better now, just needed to process how truthful I was)
They asked about my scars, depression management, and my compulsions/triggers… and I spoke honestly about them.
Forgetting that occasionally that IS a trigger.
Yeah… They were like “you really handle your depression well. Do you take medication?”
I was like “nope. I use my sense of humor and love of adorable things to get me out of it.”
It is absolutely jarring how sometimes your own depression can catch you off guard. You know that it exists and acknowledge it exists, but the extent of how you feel sometimes pads the actual physical reaction your body has.
Depression, for me, can be several different physical reactions. A panic attack, scratching at my skin until it bleeds, punching the insides of my thighs, wanting to curl up in a ball and watch… anything that will make me laugh.
During my conversation with this friend, I actually wrote “It’s okay. I still am not sleeping with a knife in my room, so I know I’m okay.”
Logically, that seems fucked up. It really does. But, back east, I would have a knife in my room (in a box) as some sort of safety blanket. The idea that I could always kill myself later gave me an additional option to feeling terrible and therefore took a bit of the depression away. That object permanence was enough to calm me.
While that is an incredibly dark comfort, it kept me from killing myself. (Now? I can understand why my parents got me help and why I got myself help as well.)
The worst part of hearing about someone killing themselves is that I almost always internalize it. Like “fuck. That could have been me.” And it could have. I could be self-depracating and talk about how I always get distracted and never finish anything, but I really think it has to do with the fact that no matter how terrible it got, the Pandora’s box in my head still had Hope clinging to it.
Depression is a lot like arthritis. Some days are fantastic. Some are meh. Some are catastrophically painful. The only difference between the two is that there is no way to physically tell that someone is working through severe depression unless their face reflects sadness or anxiety. And I was really good at masking how I felt about things. Because I knew I didn’t want to hang out with the suicidal girl, I knew everyone else wouldn’t want someone that is perpetually Eeyore in nature. So I lied. I manipulated the muscles in my face into an emotion that I wasn’t sure I could feel anymore.
But you know what? For so much of my life I hated myself. Absolutely HATED myself. I felt like I was a phony. I felt ugly. I felt like I was lying to everyone (and I kinda was, by not sharing how I felt). I have reached a point in my life where I can look at myself in the mirror and not want to break it. People here throw me compliments (you’re beautiful, you’re so much fun) and I still have a hard time allowing myself to believe them, but on the days that I do… It’s like being kissed by the sun. Sometimes I forget that I thrive with conversation.
I have someone phenomenal in my life over here that exudes this incredible calm. I was at a party, found out that I would be staying over, realized I had no idea where I was, and was on the verge of a full blown anxiety attack. This person saw the almost-feral panic in my eyes and immediately grabbed me by the hand and forced me to focus into their eyes. That connection was like being grounded.
I had forgotten that touch and realizing that people aren’t just things that I observe is essential for my brain.
If there is anything that I have learned in my 29 years on this planet, it is simply this – You will not be helped if you do not ask for it. If you do look for help and feel you aren’t getting it, look again. Do not give up. This is YOUR LIFE. YOU DESERVE TO LIVE IT.
- Suicide Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE (2433) – Can use in US, U.K., Canada and Singapore
- Suicide Crisis Line: 1-800-999-9999
- National Suicide Prevention Helpline: 1-800-273-TALK (8245)
- National Adolescent Suicide Helpline: 1-800-621-4000
- Postpartum Depression: 1-800-PPD-MOMS
- NDMDA Depression Hotline – Support Group: 1-800-826-3632
- Veterans: 1-877-VET2VET
- Crisis Help Line – For Any Kind of Crisis: 1-800-233-4357
- Suicide & Depression Crisis Line – Covenant House: 1-800-999-9999
You are not alone.