Depression feels like a long, dark tunnel with too little breathing room, too much discomfort and an impossible journey ahead. Luckily for me there is always a pinhole of light at the end of my tunnel. Still I become wrapped in a blanket of despair; choking on my own illogical self-hatred, all the while struggling to break through. Scrambling for air and light.
Depression is a sneaky bastard. You think you have the upper hand, that you are in control and then you wake up and you can’t remember if you have a purpose or if you matter. You know those thoughts make no logical sense, but depression does not make sense. It takes a powerful grip on your soul and sucks out the hope and logic to feed itself; to grow and take a foothold in every waking thought.
There is little to do to escape when it takes over. Exercise can help, but sometimes that gives you too much time to think and there are not enough distractions. Reading and writing have always helped me; been an escape and a release respectively.
Sunshine doesn’t really seem to exist. Even on the brightest days; all you can feel and see is darkness; depression’s invisible hand casting a gray shadow over everything and trying to keep you down.
You can’t seem to escape the notion that everything you touch is tainted; ruined somehow because you are a part of it.
I know there are people that think this is something we can help; something we can just shake off. It is real; it is not something that is simple to “shake off” and it is a constant battle against our own brains that are creating chemicals in an imbalance that causes us to see the whole world in a completely different way. That causes us to view ourselves in a completely different way. Skews our reality in way that traps us in a dizzying pattern of self-loathing.
Couple this with the sensitivity that tends to accompany depression and we are vulnerable to others perceptions of what brain health looks like; what “normal” should be and how we should feel in order to be accepted. Leaving us feeling more crippled than before.
Now, having depression isn’t all horrible. Sometimes I feel that depression has given me an insight into others so deep that empathy and compassion are second nature. Depression gives me a heightened awareness of others feelings, emotions, and well being.
Depression isn’t all bad. Each one of us has battles; we are all fighting something. Some days, my most difficult days like today; I wish people treated each other with kindness first and kept their judgement and contempt in check. I wish people didn’t throw around the word “crazy” so easily and weren’t so dismissive about depression and brain health. Sometimes it would be nice if the pace of life was a little bit slower and our priorities a bit more centered toward family instead of work and materialism.
Suicide prevention week just passed, but I write this to let you know each week should be suicide prevention week. Suicide rates in the U.S. continue to climb, even though we are not the country with the highest suicide rate suicide is still the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. But what is more shocking is that there are over 375,000 people a year that are admitted to Emergency Rooms with self-inflicted injuries.* Many of these meant to be fatal. We can do something. We can remind people that they matter. We can make an effort to be kind and less judgmental. So the next time you see someone hurting or down; drop what you are doing and reach out. Look up and smile; find something kind to say and let them know they matter. Help them find the light at the end of their tunnel.