The other day, a friend asked me what they could do to help whenever I am depressed. And it’s a funny question because, WHEN I am actually depressed, I don’t think I am worthy of helping. It’s also a timely question because I’m nose diving into a low after weeks of blissful stability.
My lows are not only sleeping for days, though that is definitely involved. They mostly consist of such a dearth of love for myself that if I saw it in my own family I would be terrified. The things I say to myself go behind playground bullying and hinge more on horror movie. They paralyze me.
So, to answer the question, when I am depressed, when I am in a low; I need to know that I am loved. I need to know that I am worth fighting for. I desperately need to know that people care about me. I also admit that this is a tall order and not for everyone. But if you’re able, even if I push you away while I’m down here, reach down to me until I start to reach up.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the Germanwings tragedy from a few weeks back. I can’t seem to let it go. I know my family and friends love me, but in the back of my mind, I linger on the thought: Do they think I am capable of that? I know my husband felt the same way after Sandy Hook. Those people who know he has Aspergers; did they look at him differently now? Even subconsciously? Were they extra careful with their words? More tender when they spoke to him?
Mental health is a serious issue not only here but worldwide. People are sick and because of it, people are DYING. I’m so tired of people being ashamed of their depression, of their loneliness, of their quirks. Talk to someone and get help. Learn to accept that this is a part of who you are. Sometimes there are dark moments, but you don’t have to live there all the time. Tell someone you love what to watch out for so they are aware. I have a team of people who throw lines down to me when I dig myself down too deep.
Stigma will remain until we crush the life out of it. It’s up to us. We can’t change if we don’t talk.
Recently, someone close to me revealed that in the recent weeks, they had briefly considered ending their life. I don’t mean they had stared down the barrel of a gun, or even stopped momentarily in the painkiller aisle at the grocery store and considered, “Which one would help me go fastest?” It was a fleeting, preliminary thought, but enough to make this person actually ask the Internet how to end their life in a quiet, pain-free way.
Do you know what Google says when you ask it this question?
This was enough to give them pause.
This message, posted at eye-level. Above the pro-suicide blogs, the nonsense articles about the “best” ways to remove yourself from life. This.
Hearing this story makes me feel like I’ve lost balance. It’s completely thrown me off because everything I thought I knew about the last month or so of my life is wrong. Every conversation I have had with my buddy has been veiled in a pain that I understand so well that it wrenches my heart out of my chest to know they kept it from me. And even worse, that I didn’t see it.
But what good does it do to throw myself into that black soul-sucking pit as well? Bad back or not, the only thing I can do it throw down a rope and slowly try to pull my friend up and out. Hopefully, along the way, I will gather friends, family and counselors behind me to help.
I just want you to know, that the hole in my heart would never heal if you were gone.
This is an article that was published on huffingtonpost.com a couple of months ago that I found to be really interesting. Of course, I related to the first bullet point: that people with concealed depression try to look okay. Of course we do. We try so hard to pretend that we are fine. Before I started this blog, and really, before I started being honest with myself, I was so scared that someone would see how deep my pain ran and I would become even more isolated than I already was. But the point that really stuck out to me was number 3: “They may have trouble with abandonment.”
Sometimes I find myself bugging my friends too much. Texting them at odd hours, or way too frequently than what is deemed polite or normal. And when I don’t hear back, I create scenarios in my head in which I have failed them and they have finally become tired of my endless neediness. I worry they have abandoned me. In my heart, I know they are busy. They have lives, kids, jobs; and endless slew of appointments and obligations that keep them from mindlessly reassuring me that they love me all day. However, this is in my heart, not in my head. My head tells me that they have finally seen the light and have realized that I am nothing if not clingy and weird. That I cannot go a day without a pat on the head or a nod in my direction.
It can be so difficult to be friends with someone with any kind of invisible illness, and I am so grateful to those who really have stuck by me throughout the years. And I have also come to forgive those who have had to walk away. I understand now that some people have had to disconnect for their own sanity and have had to put themselves first. As I have grown I get that now; I would do the same.