Taking a deep breath...
That was the first time I considered suicide. That was the first time I thought the world might be better off without me.
I’m 38 now.
I have attempted suicide at other times in my life. I still live with depression, all these years later. It’s been a bit of a joke lately, that stress and depression look good on me, as I’ve dropped two sizes.
I read a great comic today, in the aftermath of Robin Williams suicide (here–you may want to stop and read it before you go on…go ahead, I’ll wait…done? Okay, moving on…) and it’s pretty accurate. That whole ‘push a button’ thing–yeah.
Because, you see, it’s not about you. Or them. Or life. It isn’t because someone has done something hurtful, or because life isn’t good. Great, even.
It’s about this deep onyx ectoplasm that coats your soul in a profound, unfathomable desperation and genuine belief that you are not worthy–of anything. Ever. That the people around you would grieve for a while, yes, but ultimately, they would be better off without you. They’d know that, eventually. There is a feeling, an unshakeable one, that says the only way out, the only way to shake the despair, is to leave. To not exist any longer.
Is this logical?
Of course not. It’s not logical in the least. And there often is no explainable reason–no one has done anything, no one is bad, life isn’t bad, work is fine, etc, etc, etc.
It just is. And there’s a stigma attached, one where people say the words coward and selfish, and it keeps sufferers from speaking out loud. The people who love you can’t understand that it has nothing to do with them, and they take it personally, that you would want to end your life. Surely if you loved them, or understood how much they loved you…
But it doesn’t work that way.
This is me, coming out of the depression closet. I was prompted to do so by someone saying it was good, and brave, to say the words out loud. And, because when you shut it all up inside you, that feeling of aloneness grows, fast. It goes from ant hill to Mount Everest in the blink of a thought, and the darkness descends, and the air grows thinner, and eventually you’re sobbing so hard you’re nearly retching as you lay curled in a ball on the kitchen floor, staring at a piece of last week’s pasta under the sideboard.
So. Know this: you are not alone. If you can’t talk to someone in your life, then find a group. Find someone on cyberspace, if you need to (I’m not advocating stranger-danger–find someone safe). But find someone–don’t dwell in darkness by yourself. Reach out and let others pull you back into the light. It is not weak to ask for help. It takes strength to let someone know you are not okay. And, if you’re with someone who lives with depression, be empathetic, even if you can’t be sympathetic. Remember that it isn’t about you, it’s about something inside them that needs a gentle hand, a kind word, a hug, some reassurance. Remember that it isn’t something they can control, any more than you can control your need to breathe.
You may never live without depression. But you can live with it, and live well. Just don’t give up.
Don’t. Give. Up.