My Worst Depression
My loved ones will ask first, “what triggered it?” I still can’t pinpoint one specific event or traumatic experience. I’ve had issues with depression most of my adult life, but this, even the onset felt worse because it was so elongated. Nothing caused it; my recent circumstances just exacerbated it. It was slowly getting worse and I ignored the signs. I have been telling myself for months that I’m tired, I’m exhausted— but I just wanted to get to that one more thing, and then I’d be set. But that one thing never came, or it took too long to unfold. I really felt the fatigue in my body as I geared up for my book launch party. I was tired. But a different kind of tired. The anxiety had been running for a while now too. I knew that, I could feel that I was unreasonably restless. And I felt overwhelmed, motivated but overwhelmed. It was slowing me down but my natural tunnel vision helped get me through. I left the city soon afterwards to go home but I must’ve left myself in NY because all I wanted to do was sleep. Went away for over a week, and most of what I did was sleep, because, “I was tired,” I kept saying. When I got back, I felt the feelings of anxiety, fatigue, and overwhelm rush back and it crippled me. But this was also something I had experienced before. This city is hard, it does that to me regularly. I’d usually find a way to improve whatever was discouraging me and keep moving forward. I tried moving forward and I would be up and moving, but at the most, a day later, the drowning feelings would come over again. It was too much. I felt sad, I felt so sad and so drained. If I could describe those first few weeks, I would use those two words; sad and drained. I was tired and I couldn’t stop crying. What made me sad? What me made feel drained? I was sad about how hopeless I felt about my future. What’s the point of even trying when I have so much more to go in life? I was discouraged to the point of not wanting to even live. For the first time in my life, I didn’t want to be alive. How did I end up here? How could I be feeling so hopeless that it felt easier to not be alive? This is when I knew it was bad.
Part of depression is the disserving conviction you have in your darkest thoughts; the insecurities, the parts of your life, your relationships, and your world that you wished were better. The conviction leads you to believe that no matter how hard you try, your parents just do not love you, your friends don’t care about you or support you— that it won’t get better. I am miserable and my life is miserable. I am actively seeking evidence proving that I am not loved, enough, or worthy and will discard the rest. Part of feeling suicidal is the tipping point where you just don’t feel like you can do anything about it anymore. And that’s where I was. I knew I was getting worse because I felt a need to let go. I wanted to just stop trying and surrender. How long could I go without the gym before it started showing? How long before I stopped responding to texts before someone became worried? No one cares anyway, what does it matter? I am still struggling with wanting to be around others. I want to be away from those I love even though I long for love and affection. It’s a constant battle between withdrawal and a need for the right atmosphere of connection; safe connection where I’ll be understood. Sometimes going to my family and close friends has made it worse because my lack of progress or lack of functionality in their eyes has brought me even more shame and self-criticism. I’ve also found that distractions don’t help, and when those around me try to distract me, it makes it worse. Why? Because you want me to pretend like this isn’t happening. “Let’s go be happy.” I can’t. I need to talk about this. Sometimes it’s too much, I’d rather just be alone. I just want to grieve the hurt inside of me that I feel so much. Yes, my childhood traumatized me indelibly, but I’m also choosing to see it that way. My memory, as good as it is, seems to hold onto the pain much more closely than any of my other experiences. And that goes for my entire life. Do I just take longer to heal? Why am I naturally inclined to focus on the pain and the wrong people have done me? Or maybe, I never learned to express the pain so it never had a chance to be resolved.
Grieving loss, feeling sad about change or someone hurting you are normal parts of life. When you don’t feel the pain, express yourself, and let it out— then over time you begin to change the way you think about things and you hold that pain in. You develop views about the world, about yourself, and these negative thought patterns you put in place to “protect you.” No one around you can feel your pain for you or know what it’s been like for you. It has to start with you. Take your time, withdraw, be with yourself, and feel it. I have done so much crying in the past few months and it has felt so good to just feel what I’ve ignored for so long; to weep. To not have to be strong, to hold myself and just let it out. It’s been so empowering to be able to comfort myself. I don’t always know why I’m crying, but I know I’m healing. All the pain that has accumulated has led me here. I just kept going. I’m letting out the pain I felt as a kid from my bullies, the unconditional love I never felt, anyone that ever took advantage of me or hurt me and all I did was just be strong and keep it moving. Part of feeling the hurt is knowing what about those experiences really traumatized you. Understand yourself. Dear friend, if you are connecting with these words, please start talking. If you don’t feel like talking to those around you, they aren’t the right people to be talking to. Find safe spaces, people that are comforting and want you to open up. And not describing what happened, but what really hurt you and the thoughts you keep holding onto. I mourn the childhood I wished I had. I grieve the loss of my expectations not being met. My life is amazing, and once I realize that for myself, I don’t have to live it in any other way than the way I choose. Expectations and “I-should-be”s will lead shame and guilt to bury you. The most helpful piece of advice I’ve gotten is @davidchoe saying if you’re going to kill yourself, kill the idea you have of yourself. The WAY I’m living is what’s killing me. And it doesn’t have to. I deserve to be happy and to understand myself more so I know what it is that will continue to bring me joy and happiness.
Please be aware that this isn’t a cry for help, and that I am committed to myself. I am really grateful for the loved ones supporting me and owe it to them the fact that I’m able to write this out to you. I’m putting this out to anyone that could benefit from some perspective in order to understand themselves or someone in their lives. Thank you @junipershot for sitting down with me and giving me the space to talk about this war within my mind with you. We need more safe spaces amongst men to do just that. If you are struggling and losing hope, reach out to the suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. If you would rather reach out to me, please message me and we can talk. God bless you ❤.