You Don't Need to Know the Pain of Depression to Help Me
When someone dies by suicide, quite often, one of the questions most people ask is, “Did you know?”
Did you know they were depressed? Did you know they wanted to die? Did you know they were in so much pain they saw no other way out?
Sometimes no one knows, or even suspects, how that person was really feeling. Sometimes a few people were aware, but if someone really wants to die by suicide, they can eventually find a way.
Like I’ve mentioned previously, a bout of difficult and painful circumstances led to me wondering whether or not my life was worth living.
For me, the only person in the entire world who knows how truly destroyed I was, was my partner — and despite the regular breakdowns he witnessed, I’m not even entirely sure he grasped the gravity of how seriously depressed I was for a period of time. Which is not his fault and nor do I hold him responsible for that — if the situation was reversed, I doubt I truly could have comprehended his pain.
However, I think that is the point — especially when someone asks, “Did you know?”
For me, at least, people knowing might not have made a massive difference. For me, those who made a difference were the people who weren’t there for me.
Every time they excluded me and rejected me, I was pushed further down the rabbit hole. Every time I went to the grocery store or the movies and they said or did something, I fell further. Every day at work I spoke and they acted like they didn’t hear me, made me feel like I could never climb out of the hole, that I’d be forever stuck in Wonderland, in a place where nothing was real or friendly or safe.
I didn’t need my former friends to know I wanted to die; I needed them to stop making me feel like I was utterly and completely alone.
While I still have bad days, I feel better most of the time. And that is the result of a variety of different people — the woman from a discount store who commented randomly how pretty she thought I was; old friends visiting just to say hello; a new friend constantly arranging double dates.
And, most importantly, a terrific therapist and antidepressants.
Each of these things reminded me I was worth something to some people; that I mattered. It gave me strength when I desperately needed it.
But I digress.
My point? It doesn’t matter if you know how someone’s feeling or not — at least not necessarily. What is important is how you treat someone.
At the end of the day, we all know how a day can change for the better or the worse because of one person; one bad customer can leave you raging all day, and your favorite home-cooked meal can leave you feeling happy and grateful.
Be someone’s positive change to their day — it’s all you ever need to know, and it may save someone’s life.
Follow this journey on The Melodramatic Confessions of Carla Louise.
If you or someone you know needs help, see our suicide prevention resources.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
The Mighty is asking the following: What is a part of your or a loved one’s disease, disability or mental illness that no one is aware of? Why is it time to start talking about it? Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.