The last few months have been arduous. This is not some abstract statement. This is reality. There have been times when my depression arrives, fucks me up for a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, then trots away into the night. It may have been a damaging episode but it wasn’t unconquerable. I can survive those more brief spirals of nothingness. This summer the depression decided to stay for a spell, decided to adhere itself to my mind like a dark parasite and teach me a lesson about hopelessness and emptiness. Have a cup of coffee and a cigarette, old man, because that’s all you’re going to know for the duration of my visit. The depression is here with me as I type this, looking over my shoulder whispering don’t forget to mention the suicidal ideation, dude. Yeah, yeah.
I know how many old antidepressant pills I have in my medicine cabinet. I’ve been prescribed medication many times over the years and I always stop taking them, something about feeling like an artificial human being. A pale (charming) automaton. So, I’m left with a well-stocked cabinet of shady spheres. Or I’m left with a cabinet that offers a more diabolical remedy to my unsympathetic malady. I know how many pills there are and it bothers me that I view suicide as an option of sorts. Can’t handle the stress anymore? The answer is in the bathroom. So fucking tired of trying to stay upright? Shady spheres await. Hate yourself so much that you just want to shut the lights off? Pills, pills, pills, pills, pills, pills. I don’t like that I see death as any kind of response to depression. It’s troubling. I have no plans to swallow anything and take the plunge into the black pool. But I know I can if I want to. This does not feel normal to me.
This is where I’m at: I don’t have a fucking clue. It’s a lovely place full of agitation, anxiety, racing thoughts, sadness of the worst kind, rage, attitude, loneliness, and terror. And cigarettes and coffee. These past few months have been a reminder that depression is bound by nothing. It can find you anywhere, anytime. Rich or poor, married or single, optimist or pessimist, it doesn’t care. It will find you and brutalize you. And if you don’t have the support of family and friends, it’s going to be a very bleak path straight into hell.
Support is important when combating depression. You need someone to listen to your pain occasionally. Those nights when your emotions are clawing at your soul, those nights when you think about the pills in the medicine cabinet, are when a phone call can save a life. Or help you get to the next sunrise. Most folks don’t really care about sad people. They’re viewed as a nuisance, a melancholy plague on society. Man up, cowboy. Depressed people know the sound of silence intimately. We bathe ourselves in the quietude of a disinterested populace. Silence pairs well with our self-loathing. Silence tells us that our inner thoughts are true: we are worthless. Silence is stirred in our coffee, spread on our frozen dinners. Silence is our truth.
Don’t be a silent person when a single sentence can offer a depressive a lifeline.
One thing a depressive has to do above all else is to be willing to engineer the change you need in your life. I honestly feel like I’m just sitting here waiting for someone to save me. A knock on the door, a phone call, an email, some kind of response that will ease this tragedy. It’s not healthy. There is no savior out there riding a white horse. The savior is you. You have to intervene for your own good. I know I have to do something, I’m falling and falling into a bottomless muddy crevasse. I have decided to start taking an antidepressant again. I’m considering seeking therapy again. I’m writing this blog post. As a depressive, the most difficult endeavor is the one you take within yourself. When you are honest with yourself. When you realize you need help. When you have to seek that help. When you have to be vulnerable. When you have to channel that anger toward something more positive. Get furious at your depression, scream at it, stab in its dishonest fucking mouth. And write your own next chapter. Be willing to get better via therapy, drugs, or mindfulness. Go outside and let the sun wrap you in its heated embrace. Smile at adversity. There is no perfect cure out there, no magical elixir. But there is hope. Go find it.
Well, I’m running out of energy here, which is pretty common for me. Below are some Ted Talks that I’ve viewed numerous times the last few weeks. They have been a rebuttal to the silence of others. These video talks explore depression, hopelessness, shame, stigma, suicide, vulnerability, and the overall wickedness of mental illness. They also explore hope. Please take the time to watch and learn.