Friday, February 27, 2015

Living Through My Depression, and Learning Why

News flash: Depression sucks, and while some people use it for a fleeting emotion, for those of us who deal with it on a monthly, weekly or even daily basis, depression has a habit of changing who you are and how you respond to things.

This blog started off as my venting point, when the days were too tiresome, or the moods too intense. I vented, but still kept some of the pain inside, locked away from others out of a form of protection. When I have my really bad days, I would never wish the feelings on anyone, not even my worst enemy.

While I kept a lot of it inside, it was hard to really relate to anyone. Lenny doesn't really understand it, and when I recently had a bad week, I unintentionally took it out on him. He sat me down, and tried to have me explain what was going on. My attempt to explain that I didn't care about life at the moment didn't fly over too well.

I know there are a lot of resources out there, explaining depression and how it affects people, especially since the passing of Robin Williams. As a person with depression, I found them to be both helpful and inspiring, knowing that there are people out there going through the terrible darkness with me, knowing I'm not the only person who feels this way. Trying to explain that feeling to someone who has never felt it is like explaining the terrifying feeling of being stuck in that soul damaging blackness to someone with a flashlight. While my brain understands that the depression is a chemical imbalance of sorts, and that the thoughts I have are irrational and hurtful, I cannot help but have them. To explain to someone who has only had situational depression that there are days when getting out of bed is an extremely difficult thing, or where continuing to live seems pointless, even knowing there are things to look forward to to make what's going on a reason to continue living.....its like having third degree burns and a person who had a really bad sunburn once telling you just to put some aloe on it, that it will clear up real quick. While in that comparison, there's actual physical evidence that the 2 aren't similar, the comparison of the depressed vs someone who had a rough patch is just as ridiculous.

I have a lot to look forward to in my life right now. I have a good job, I'm working towards renovating a house that I will start renting from my grandmother, and I'm getting my life in order so that I can take care of the people who are important to me. Even aware of all of those things, on the bad days, my brain tells me that none of those things matter. In 100 years, who is going to remember that some ginger 25 year old fought through life's battles to make her own way? My brain tells me that nothing matters and life would continue on without me with barely a hiccup.

I am not suicidal. I don't actively want to die. But sometimes I don't want to be alive anymore. I have to force myself to do things normal people hardly think about: eat, bathe, clothe myself, go to work, sleep.

All of those things have taught me a lot about who I am as a person. They have become a part of me that, while making my life difficult, have also, in my skewed opinion, made me a much better person than I would otherwise be.

Even in the deepest throes of my depression, I have only been legitimately suicidal once, and it was that one time that truly helped define what I consider important in my life.

My Junior year of high school was the second most difficult year I have ever had. It was when my depression really kicked into overdrive and almost threw me over the edge into oblivion. Even with everything I have gone through since, I still cringe to think of everything that went wrong, and the one thing that could have gone wrong that went so very right.

I couldn't deal with all of the stress and how difficult my life at the time was, and started thinking of the ways that I could end my life. I had finally decided upon taking a bunch of pills, and was carrying them with me as I went through what I intended to be my last day. I went to my classes, did everything that was expected of me, so as to not arouse suspicion from anyone. I went to swim practice after school, where I was one of the coach's assistants. After school, I hung out with a friend, who had noticed something was wrong, but didn't press the issue. When I got home, I worked on writing a note to leave.

About halfway through it, another friend, who was having a difficult time at the time, called me, bawling her eyes out. I put the note and the pills in my backpack, consoling her until she had to get off the phone. She thanked me for being there for her, and said that she didn't know what she would do without me. Up until that point, I honestly didn't think that anyone would miss me when I was gone. I honestly didn't think that I made a whole lot of a difference in people's day to day lives. I went to bed and woke up the next morning, realizing that I had to make sure the people around me were ok before I could die.

I carried those pills and note around for 2 weeks. I stopped feeling the need to use them after a week and a half. I stopped carrying them around because a friend found them and demanded I flush them immediately. The suicidal urge passed, and even though I have not wanted to continue life many times since, I have always remembered that I am necessary in a lot of people's lives.

Going through all of that has helped me know a very important part of my character: I am always going to be more worried about other people than myself. My purpose in life at this point is to make sure that those around me are safe and cared for. Maybe that isn't the best quality to have, but it is who I am, and what got me through the hardest of times. It is what pushes me forward when things seem too difficult. It is what makes me awesome, and useful, and needed. It is what makes me, me. And I'm more glad to have that knowledge than a perfect, carefree life.