I know that dealing with someone else's depression is fucking difficult. Depression is illogical and insidious and frustrating and annoying and pure fucking evil. And seeing someone you love despise themselves is so fucking hard. You don't know what to say because nothing they hear will matter. You don't know what to do because nothing that can be done will matter.
And that's part of why suicide feels so acceptable. Because we know. We know how hard you're trying. We know how desperately you're searching to find the right thing to say or do. And we would give anything, anything, for you to be able to fix it. Because we love you too. We don't want to be a burden on you. We don't want to be that friend who has nothing good to say. Who has no ability to give back to you, no matter how badly we want to. So, little by little, suicide feels less and less selfish. You'll be free of us. You'll be better off. While it is about ending our pain, we see it as ending your pain too. Even though, logically, we know it won't. It will just increase it a million fold.
But this isn't about logic.
This is never about logic.
This is about having a brain that defies logic and reality. That can be so fucking sneaky that we don't even see the ultimate darkness coming. And suddenly we're there. At the bottom. Whatever that is for each of us.
Mine is wanting to die. Constantly. Consistently. No matter how much logic I scream at myself. No matter how many friends tell me to hold on just a little longer. And I don't want to die. I really don't. I have so much to do, so many adventures to have, so many amazing people to meet... But my depressed mind can't hold onto that. It slips through desperate fingers, no matter how hard I try to hold on.
When my father committed suicide he was in the next room. A few years later and I can still smell the gunpowder. Even in my "fibro fog" I can remember every sight and sound. Eight months later the only boyfriend who'd ever been good to me ended his life as well.
I told myself that I now understood what suicide truly was. I understood what it leaves behind. What it causes. Even the suicide of my abusive and not-very-good father changed my life. And then eight months later it hurt so much more. I told myself, again, that I now understood what suicide truly was. And because I understood, I'd never ever consider it again.
But that's not how it works, is it? Not with this brain. Not with these chemicals. Now with these synapses.
It isn't logical. It isn't debatable. It isn't something that involves affirmations and boot straps. A therapist in the last psychiatric ward told me, “You have depression, you aren't depression.” But I don't know if that's true.
When I sit in a crowd of smiling, laughing people – several of whom love me – and I feel empty and alone when, a few weeks earlier I was smiling and laughing too; when, at that moment, the darkness is so deep I can't even pretend for longer than a few minutes...I can't help but feel as if depression is who I am. All I am because it trumps everything else. I've lived with this for more than 25 years. I don't remember a time it wasn't part of me. A time I was happy. A time I didn't want to die.
And then the drugs came. So much later than they should have. I was, what? Late 20s, I think. I didn't realize I could feel any way other than suicidal. Other than in emotional pain. But I took the pills and everything changed.
I remember when it first happened. Driving through Hollywood to get to work and suddenly everything felt clear and calm and safe. For the first time in my life. My mind wasn't screaming. I wasn't dying inside. Everything felt...sane.
I've been through what feels like so many pills and dosages and mixes at this point. And they (usually) work. For a time. The hope floods in and I'm so excited to have my life back. So excited that it's time to move forward and become a better person. And then slowly – or not so slowly – I'm back where I started. Or even further back than that.
I hate myself for it, you know? For my brain being broken. For not being strong enough to survive my past without open wounds that never seem to heal. For feeling and saying the same things again and again. For writing the same things again and again. But mostly for failing. For failing at being able to keep the meds working. I hold my head in my hands, dig my nails into my scalp, and scream through my teeth. Because once more I failed. No matter how illogical that idea is.
Because this isn't about logic.
This is never about logic.
The scariest thing isn't the darkness, really. Because I've lived here so long before. The scariest thing is thinking that it's forever. That no drugs or therapy will get me to a functioning state. That no medication will keep my brain straight for longer than half a year, if that. That this is who I am. And nothing will change that. That's what terrifies me. And the possibility makes me want to die more than anything else.
I try so hard to hide it. Because, really, at first, I think it's just being sad. Normal sadness. The kind of sadness most people experience. But, suddenly, I've lost control. And here we are. Again.
I don't need perfection. I don't need a glorious, amazing life. I don't need to live happy ever after. I want normalcy. I want to be able get out of bed and get through each day without being on the verge of tears. I want to function like a normal human being with ups and downs and adventure and boredom. I want to want to live. I don't want to have a perfectly fine life but still want to die for no discernible reason. I want my brain to stop trying to destroy me.
Today is better than yesterday which was a thousand times worse than the day before which was better than the day before that...on and on. So it goes. Some days are pure misery while others have minutes, or sometimes even hours, of sanity. Of clarity. Of hope.
For now I curl in a ball in bed, watching TV shows I've seen a million times before so I don't have to concentrate, IMing with friends who tell me they love me, wanting to cry but not physically being capable, trying to remember to eat, cleaning or exercising or buying a couple of bags of groceries or seeing friends when I have a few moments of energy. Trying to remember it's okay to break. Trying to remember it's okay to fall apart. Trying to remember that anything I have to do in order to survive is acceptable. Even if that means sleeping too much. Or eating nothing but food from cans. Or leaving the bar really early because I can't hide the pain for one second longer. Or isolating more than I should. Survive. Just fucking survive. That is all that matters. Everything else is fixable.
And soon I'll go back to the office. I'll sit across from my psychiatrist. I'll pull out a list and tell her how bad it's gotten. We'll talk for a bit. She'll prescribe something new. I'll thank her and leave. I'll get the prescriptions filled in a few weeks when I can afford it. I'll take my new pills. It'll start again.
And I'll hope, with every fiber of my being, that this time will be different. Or that, if it isn't, the darkness won't pull me down quite so deeply.
Just an FYI: I obviously don't mean to speak for everyone when I say things like “we.” Everyone experiences mental health issues in different ways. This is me. And only me.