I’ve recently come through one of the most significant and debilitating bouts of depression that I’ve ever faced. And it was debilitating – no exaggeration. My mind stopped firing. My sentences never completed. The forgetfulness was constant. During this time, I was so bewildered and overwhelmed, I walked through each day in a sad fog. Nothing persisted but endless failure and mistakes. I’ve had plenty of times where hopelessness was constant and during that pain I wanted out. The idea of being out of pain persisted like a warm blanket I refused to take off. The pain was a reality that felt rock solid and the foundation of each of my days. I was very sick.
I know hopelessness. I know the belief that the world would be better off without me, that I was a failure in all respects. Looking back, I recognize the delusion of those beliefs. During those times however, I could not and would not have believed that it was anything but my truth. Thankfully I took action and sought help, and I didn’t give in to the obsession to end it.
I don’t judge the people who weren’t as fortunate as I was though.
Because I have this knowledge, and I’m doing better, I’m motivated to share what I know about it. First, it’s important to reach out to those who matter, because there’s no assurance they will be there tomorrow. Second, I know the best way to survive times in my life where I’m certain I have nothing left to look forward to, is to pick up a phone and ask someone else how they are doing. To really listen to their answers. To tell them, “I am thinking of you.” And if I can, find the courage to say that my life is totally sucking right now.
My memories of my experience with depression were triggered today, when I learned of someone who chose to end his life this week. This person was an acquaintance, seen at t-ball games, shared hallways, a nod and a “Hey.” In my heart, I know that this person would be shocked at how their decision and family’s loss has affected me. I’m reminded of my brother’s funeral, someone else gone too soon, by their choosing. While his funeral was standing-room only, he died feeling that he was all alone.
It was a delusion. It was a delusion but it was his reality, one he believed in, felt deeply and experienced as the truth.
I know these feelings. I know the tricks they play, the ugly words they whisper and the futility they bring to each and every action and waking moment, which is why I ask everyone – reach out to those who matter and let them know. Even if, and perhaps especially if, you haven’t connected in a while. We are human; we need to connect. Don’t hesitate. Take the time. Everyone has their times and their “something.” As humans, we have difficulties, all of us. It passes. But as far as connecting, there’s just today. It sounds so trite, however, there’s a little boy today who will grow up with one less parent. Friends who mourn the loss of a friend. Connecting is likely one of the most important things we can do – today.
If this is you – you are depressed and looking to call it quits – you are NOT alone. You are sick and your thoughts are not the truth. Trust me, the pain passes. If you can, take the action to tell someone – it is important to do that. Call a friend, parent, sibling, adult children, whoever. Or call the suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-8255.
I’ve never gotten over the loss of my brother, and the people who know and love you wouldn’t get over losing you. Accept THAT as your truth and don’t give up.