Archive for March, 2014

Depression Stories

What was depression to me? It was so many things: apathy, melancholy, nihilism, lethargy, hopelessness, and escapism.

I suffered from social anxiety issues since I was in elementary school, but it wasn’t until high school that my depression really set in. And let me tell you, when it got comfortable, it settled in bone deep. I didn’t suffer from depression, I was depression. I existed within a miasma of unhappiness. It seeped from my pores, and I expelled it on my breath. Often times I was sure that my heart would simply stop beating, the physical sense of oppression was so heavy. It got to the point that I forgot what happiness even was. Instead, I became a connoisseur of negative emotions. I learned the difference between the apathetic, dry sort of depression and the poignant, almost narcotic, misery. I wallowed in anything that made me feel even the least bit alive, and elevated these activities to romantic proportions. I developed a taste for melancholy music, clove cigarettes, and metaphor, desperately imagining myself as the tragic protagonist of my own movie. (Basically, I was emo before it was “cool” to be emo.)

During this first period of depression, I ended up meeting my first boyfriend, who ended up being an abusive asshole. I wasted four years with that prick, from age sixteen to age nineteen. Speaking now, from a medicated place of happiness, I can’t understand why I stayed for so long. But, depression eats you alive. Things can only get so much worse before it all feels the same. I think a part of me may have actually relished the occasional jolts of fear and outrage he made me experience. It reminded me that I still had feelings.

When I was finally able to leave him (my brother found out and beat the ever-loving shit out of him), I was in a fog for months. By this point, I had no friends and no hobbies. I was also broke, because I had moved out of my mother’s place and into the shitty attic of my brother’s house. I would spend hours after work, just lying on my mattress and either shivering or sweating (there was no a/c or heat up there). I wouldn’t eat, and really couldn’t sleep. The only thing that gave me any sort of pleasure was writing journals- it helped me externalize my feelings and made me feel productive.

Eventually, I reconnected with some people I knew from high school, and things got better. Much better. I started doing things! I hung out! I did things that I wanted to do! I made stupid mistakes and had a great time doing it! Basically, I stared having feelings again. Then, I started feeling happy for the first time since I was a little kid. It was amazing. Those were great days. It was like waking up for the first time. Like feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin after an impossibly long winter. I felt reborn.

But it didn’t last.

A year or two after that, I had a falling out with these friends and started to spend a lot of time alone. I worked full time and didn’t go to college. I had my own place at this point, so I basically lived in silence on my futon. I’d spend the hours after work sitting there with my nose stuck in some book, not noticing that my happiness was leaching away with the fading light. At some point, I noticed I was no longer happy. But it wasn’t the depression I was used to. It wasn’t the poignant suffering I remembered from being a teenager, or the fog I experienced after my first break-up. No, it was. . . nothing. It was boredom. Just extreme, soul-crushing boredom. And it was slowly leaching away my will to live.

Never before had I considered suicide, but now I started waking up disappointed. Not disappointed that I woke up alone (because I did have a series of short, ill-advised relationships), but because I woke up at all. I had no goals. No ambition. No friends or pets or even plants. It was just me and my books.

Then, I was laid-off at my new job.

I managed to get on unemployment, and actually ended up making more on it than I had been at my previous job. Had I been in a better frame of mind, I would have had a great time! But now I had nothing to do, and no desire to do anything anyway. My new past time became fantasizing about suicide. About how I could do it so it looked like an accident. Or, how I could do it so I wouldn’t make a mess. Or how I could do it so it would cause the least distress for my family.

I just wanted out. Nothing mattered to me anymore. There was no meaning to me, to life, to the universe. It was all an endless pit that would result in the heat death of the universe anyway so why the fuck not?

So, I wrote the letters. One to each person I cared about, telling them how this wasn’t their fault and trying to explain myself. I sealed and signed the envelopes. I wrote my own eulogy. I put together my own playlist. I left all this on my coffee table, went into my kitchen and grabbed the sharpest knife I had, and took it with me into the bathroom. I took my phone out of my pocket, flipped it open at looked at it. And I kept looking at it. You see, my plan was to slit my throat over the bathtub, then call 911. I didn’t want to be saved, but I didn’t want my family to find me like that. I figured it would be easier for them that way.

But, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t, because I knew it would never be easy for them. No matter what I did. And while I didn’t want to hurt anymore, I didn’t want to hurt anyone else.

I couldn’t live that way anymore, but I couldn’t stop living.

So, I made a decision. And it was the best decision I ever made.

I started taking care of myself again. I started working out and eating better. I started taking massage therapy classes to give myself something to do. I got a job and got off unemployment. I started going to college. I started seeing the therapists at the student center. Then I started taking medication. I started feeling better, and I started making friends. Then I started liking life again. Then I started liking myself again.

Then I met my fiancé, which just made my life even better.

___________

I was lucky.

I still take medication, and I still sometimes feel melancholy for no reason. I am also incredibly afraid of feeling bad, because I know how easily bad can go to worse. But I am so thankful to be alive.

Had I taken my own life, I wouldn’t have known how good life can get.

So, to anyone reading this, if you are thinking about suicide, please get help. Talk to someone, get on medication, start doing things that make you feel better, start being kinder to yourself.

And if you can’t do these things for you, do them for your friends and family. If you take your own life, you make not be around to feel pain anymore, but everyone else will suffer because of you.

So please, get help, because it gets better.

Nostalgic about Nostalgia, an inner monologue

My brain: “Hey, remember when you used to remember when?”

Me: “Uh, you mean when I was miserable and I couldn’t stop thinking about the time when I was just melancholy?”

My brain: “Yup!”

Me: “Yeah, I remember those feels. It has certainly been a while since I felt those feels. . .”

(Interlude of reminiscence.)

Me: “Wait. Are you fucking kidding me? Do you have me being nostalgic about NOSTALGIA??”

My brain: “Tee hee.”

Me: “Asshole.”

Hypothermia of the Heart

I can barely remember the last time I wrote something simply because I wanted to. I simply haven’t had any ideas or thoughts I’ve wanted to express, which, I suppose, is a good thing. The only time I ever feel like writing is when I feel a particular way. Writing, for me, is a way of intellectualizing emotions that I don’t want to feel. Through abstraction I am able to distance myself from my discomfort. It becomes something to manipulate, rather than something that is manipulating me. But when I am happy, no words will come because I do not call for them. It is only when I start feeling that dreadfully familiar weight on my chest that I feel the need to chase the cursor. Words and sentences become handholds, something for me to grasp as I attempt to extricate myself from my own negativity. It is as if, by pinning those feelings to a page, I can remove them from myself. And here I am, writing again, even if it is only a paragraph. A part of me is ashamed of this. What did I do wrong that I must feel melancholy again? But it rarely is a matter of doing, and simply a matter of feeling. This winter is finally getting to me. Consider this paragraph a plea to the seasons for change. Bring me warmth and sunshine, flowers and breeze. I can’t take any more of these icy streets.