I am very happy.
I have a very lovely husband and 2 healthy kids. We have money – not a lot but enough to pay all our bills on time. I have great friends who are good to me.
I can get almost anything I want or need. I have access to great healthcare and education. I have security. I had a wonderful childhood. I know that I am loved and supported. I am privileged and I am grateful and about 4 months ago, I wanted to kill myself.
I was laying on my warm bed, under my solid roof, with my arms wrapped around my head, crying. I cried, heavily, from a place deep inside me. Right from my core, it spilled out in great having sobs that stopped me from breathing properly. I cried for no reason in particular but I cried like the world was ending. Just 20 minutes earlier, I had been making breakfast in the kitchen and now here I was, trying to find some sort of sanctuary on this bed. My husband looked on helplessly and my kids played and argued in a room close by. To me, they sounded like demons and that made me feel like a monster because I love them. I love them so much but their shrieks and shouts were torturous and I wanted it to stop. Right then, at that moment while my husband was standing at the edge of the bed – I decided, in a way that was outside of my control, that I didn’t want to be here anymore. Existing just wasn’t working out for me.
It wasn’t so much that I wanted to die, but I just didn’t want to live and the thought of simply not being here made me feel briefly peaceful before I pushed the idea out of my head again.
Am I suicidal? no. Not intentionally, ever. I always want to live but sometimes I don’t want to be alive. I’m not really sure how else to put that into words and when I try to explain that to people, they don’t understand. They cant understand. Because it seems so very black and white for them. They don’t understand what its like to be scared of yourself. to know you’re even capable of having those thoughts. They don’t understand that even though I know myself quite well, there are still times I am taken by surprise and that i’m not consciously making that choice, I promise i’m not.
But even after all this time, after all these years of battling, people don’t get it. They still think i’m just a bit sad and that it should be easy enough to cheer up. “Getting over it” should be simple I mean, really, what have I got to feel depressed about?
But I am not depressed, I’m suffering from depression.
Sometimes that feels like i’m trying to claw my way out of a deep dark hole and every time someone asks me for something I slump back down to the bottom and have to start all over again. Its exhausting and infuriating and i’m scared that one day my fingers will be too bloodied and my bones will be too weary and I’ll stop trying to climb out. I’ll just curl up on the cold ground and give up. And the reason that scares me so much is because it comes out of no where.
The desire to just give it all up is such a strong and terrifying impulse and it makes so much sense in that moment that it knocks the breath out of me. Fighting it seems almost futile. Ordinarily, I consider myself to be so strong minded that I can never work out how this thing got its claws in so deep so quickly.
Every time I’ve gone through this, I’ve come out feeling stronger. I saved myself. I made it. I wont be defeated. Every time I go through this, I feel like I get to know myself a little better so surely that means I can stop myself going back there again, cant I?
I thought I was at a certain point of acceptance with my depression, I knew it was there and I’d have to face it sometimes but I had some control over it, finally. I likened it to being visited by a relative you don’t like but you let in to your home out of obligation. You know what to expect from them. You know they’ll sit there telling you about how the world is a terrible place and that your children don’t like you. They’ll tell you’re looking old and tired and that they feel sorry for your husband. They tell you that your house smells funny and the cookies you baked are shit and it will all be hard for you to swallow but you grin and bear it because you know that eventually they’ll get up and go and you can shut the door on them. They’ve visited so many times over the years, logically you know they’re not staying for ever.
But every once in a while, when you least expect it, as your conversation is winding up and you’re putting your shit biscuits back in the cupboard, waiting for them to get up out of their seat– they wont. They’ll stay sat there at your table, unwilling to move. They’ll tell you that actually, your whole family would be better off without you – that they’re tired of dealing with your shit and they could be happier if you weren’t weighing them down.
Then they’ll start poking around your house and pulling things out of drawers. They’ll tear the wallpaper from the walls and rip up your carpet. They’ll pull out all of your souvenirs and burn them in a fire they will have started in your lounge room. Instead of leaving, they will systematically destroy your house and then tell you to jump in the fire so you don’t have to deal with the mess.
And as you’re trying to fight back and all your energy is going in to holding on to your head and you’re working really hard to keep that fire off your back; someone else will come and knock on your door. You’ll answer it reluctantly, trying to hide what’s going on inside, afraid that if they see what goes on behind closed doors they will judge and humiliate you because you know they wouldn’t understand because you don’t even understand and you have no way of explaining what’s going on in there or how it got this bad. Its all out of your control. How could you explain that you let this person, capable of such destruction, into your home? How can you explain that you didn’t have a choice? It doesn’t make sense.
But you can feel that fire burning behind you, you can hear that voice screaming those terrible things and as the heat becomes unbearable and the voice becomes deafening, you tell them whats going on. You tell them your house is being torn apart and you don’t know how to save it. You ask for their help to fight something that is inexplicable but they cant see the fire and they cant hear that voice. While trying to keep your wits about you and think straight, you try to tell them its really bad in there and things are really falling apart but instead of reaching out they take a step back from your front door, look over your house from the outside and tell you that “things look OK from where i’m standing, surely it cant be that bad”
Depression is not a mood. It is not an emotion.
It is an illness that I have to live with. Telling me to “get over it” serves no purpose. Reminding me that things “could always be worse” is not helpful here.
This is my reality.
Please don’t invalidate my illness, just because you don’t understand it.
The more support and awareness there is around mental health, the easier it becomes to ask for help.