I’ve wanted to write this for a long time now. For too long.
I haven’t until now because of the nagging doubt that I wouldn’t be able to do my subject justice, that I would sound melodramatic, ego-centric, full of shit, wrong and to top everything, look like an ass. I worry that people won’t care about what I have to say or that if they do they’ll pity me. I worry that my grammar and syntax will be shit, and that I’ll finally reveal that I don’t really know how to write in English. I’m worried that you won’t like me.
I’m sick and I’m ashamed of it.
To quote Ze Frank “why would you want to tell someone that you’re unfit, unworthy, even rotten? [...] it [shame] grows in secrecy and claims territory and adds a but to all your accomplishments and gifts. I did that – but. They like me – but. It says: remember in the end the only thing you can count on is me, because I know you’re unfit, unworthy, even rotten. It gets angry easily, it hears blame in peoples voices where there isn’t blame. It equates disappointment with disgust. It measures friendship and love by what can be taken away and not by what is there. And that is what shame feels like. Shame is that secret belief that you are unfit, unworthy, even rotten.”
I have struggled with depression for three years now. It’s past the “oh it’s just a period you have to work through” and I have to admit that I am sick. There’s another side to my illness though that complicates this: I’m bipolar which can (and has) send me on a merry roller-coaster ride now and again. But I’m not going to focus on my manic side now. It’s a lot less pronounced than my depression and not the primary source of my struggle.
No. I want to focus on the absolute black-hole of a sonuvabitch that is depression.
Depression is a master con artist. It is really damn good at lying to your face and subverting everything you think you know. If you combine that with bullying (which reinforces that secret inside of you — that you’re unworthy), which I had the pleasure to endure when I was a teenager, you have a pretty good roadmap to disaster. There are no way-posts here and every time you stop and ask for directions depression kicks in and tells you exactly what you shouldn’t do. And you follow blindly on. The delusion leading the unworthy.
For me it’s been a an unconscious struggle. Which is to say that I’ve always felt unworthy (bullying took care of that with a neat little package), I just always took that for granted. With my narrow focus I thought everyone felt like that. That’s not true though. It’s not healthy to feel unworthy and believe that that is a normal feeling.
But, I coasted on that for a long time. Even felt happy, though in a shame-defined way. Though that was before the depression.
Now. Well what now?
To be honest, I don’t know. I’m finding it harder to describe depression that I thought I would. And I feel like I’m rambling.
Void is the word I would use to describe depression. For the most part a total absence of emotion, cognition and will. You loose interest in your hobbies. You neglect those that love you and you feel vindicated when they get angry because of the “buts” shame adds to everything. Depression and shame work tandem to strip you of everything. In the end you’re left with nothing but the prospect of a future devoid and memories altered by lies. That’s when things finally become scary. Because, ultimately, if everything is void why not end it? Would there, honestly, be a difference?
I’ll be brutally honest.
I’ve thought about committing suicide twice.
The first time was two years ago and the second just over a month ago.
This is precisely why depression is so scary. It leads you to the water’s edge and asks you this question. “Would you feel any difference if you ended it?”
My answer in those two instances was no. I honestly believed that I wouldn’t feel a difference.
I’m better now, if only marginally. I’m tired and somehow trying to stumble forward. It’s not graceful but it’s the only thing I have. To be honest I’m not sure why I’m writing this, and I’m even less sure why I’m posting this here. But it feels right. Or at least it feels wrong to stay silent about this. I can’t, and I won’t, suffer in silence any more.
Depression is fucking scary. It can, and will, leave scars.
But as Keanu Reeves said in the Replacements: “Pain heals. Chicks dig scars.”
Here’s hoping he’s right.