In the face of recent news about anxiety, suicide, and depression there’s a small part of me that understands what it’s like to be there and it’s frustrating to see and hear people constantly say “it’s all in your head, get over it”. If it were that easy, we would’ve done it in a heartbeat. So clearly it’s not that simple. While I’ve never been diagnosed with major depression, I have been influenced enough to be more understanding and I want to explain to the best of my abilities what it was like for me. I’m not here to ask for your sympathy though or your pity rather just to listen.
I’m grateful that I don’t suffer from major depressive disorder rather I get temporary episodes that lasts for about a month or two. The longest depressive episode I had lasted about a year when I had entered my third year of high school. The most recent being when I turned 22.
If I had to start from the beginning: I was 17 and in a bad place when I suffered my longest episode. I crossed paths with this boy whom I fell extremely hard for. He was your typical bad boy and I thought I could save him, change him, but I hadn’t realized he was the one who was ultimately in control until it was too late. I had begun being truant on a daily basis, he did drugs and because I was in his company- I did too. Junior year was a whirlwind of playing hooky and getting high with a side serving of getting shit-faced drunk. On the outside you think it was all fun and games, but what nobody tells you is that people like that are fighting some nasty demons inside of themselves.
He was emotionally abusive yet I constantly went back to him to only get shut down by him. He would lash out at me and tear my heart out every time I reached out, but then would come back to say he was sorry. The momentary sweet words and gestures was what I was clinging hopelessly to. I constantly worried about him thinking I’d find him dead in an alleyway one of these days (dealers/pissing the wrong people off). The drugs, constant anxiousness, being beaten down by his words and his constant infidelity was hard to cope.
You have to realize at 17, kids are vulnerable, susceptible, and naive. They’re easy to influence and to break, but I was still human and easily fallible. I found my soul weary, if you believed in such thing- it was like someone was clutching onto it and crushing it with the force of the universe. I cried every night and every morning. I woke up more tired than I did going to bed and so I skipped more classes because I couldn’t imagine needing to face people. I lost interest in the arts and the color of the world. I could barely eat. Living had become unbearable.
Being in that kind of state was awful. Every time I breathed I was suffocating, I was constantly drowning in this invisible sea of misery. It felt like I was imprisoned in this deep, deep hole that I couldn’t crawl out of. There were days when it seemed possible, clawing at the walls until your nails bled and you saw the sky above you. There’s a brief moment of hope. Then misery would come back and strangle and take you down again. It was a dark, vicious, and hopeless cycle.
“I was just too tired. Even at twenty-eight, I felt like I’ve lived a thousand years. Sometimes I felt like I’ve been alive since biblical times. The only reason I continued living was to survive.”
I hit rock bottom. I just wanted some peace and rest, for it to be over- for this pain to go away. I started cutting myself, but there was a cowardly part of me that couldn’t cut deep enough, fearing people would judge me if they saw the scars and tell the world. So I would just slice enough that I bled with enough physical pain to take over. Death seemed so easy then. I considered jumping or overdosing since those were the simplest and fastest methods. I was ready to end it.
But I stayed on this earth. I cut ties, healed and I learned. I try to live a normal life, but that doesn’t mean the residual effects aren’t there anymore. I still feel the anxiety, the panic attacks that claw at my heart clutching until I can’t breath. The way your whole body tenses up so hard that every fiber of your being feels like it’s being squeezed until you explode. Your world tunnels in as darkness surrounds you. The haggard breathing and dizziness that comes afterwards with the sheets of cold sweat. Furious tears that dribble down your face. It’s not a side people who’s experienced normally show or tell people about. It’s not exactly pretty.
So if it were so easy to just say “it’s all in your head, get over it”, I beg to differ because I’m sure many people have tried to just “get over it”. The chemicals in the brain would like to say otherwise. It’s not like it’s enjoyable to feel like this. The monstrosity that is depression doesn’t let go of their preys that easily.
“Even when times get dark and painful, people should feel lucky to be alive at all.”