When Depression and Loneliness Always Walk by Your Side
Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
My eyes blink open to the start of a new day, and they are standing at the foot of my bed. I walk to the kitchen to get myself breakfast, and they are sitting at the table with me while I eat. I get ready in the bathroom, and they hang on my shoulders. I walk to work, and they follow. I go to bed at night, and they curl up next to me while I sleep.
They walk with me everywhere I go. At some points in my life, they have been in another room, on another block, or in a different town, but they are never too far away. At a moment’s notice, they can be back. Right next to me. Weighing me down. Fighting me. Tormenting me. Abusing me. Sometimes little to nothing will trigger their return.
They walk with me.
My depression has always felt like an entity which goes with me everywhere I go. It manipulates my movements, it whispers lies into my ear, it physically fights me. In the darkest moments of my depression, I felt out of my body, looking down at myself. I would see Depression assisting in my suicide attempts. I would see Loneliness curl up with me when I slept and whisper to me that no one would ever understand — that I would always be alone. They were there with me everywhere I went and controlled everything I did.
I’m in a different place now, in a healing place. I’m in a place where Depression and Loneliness can be gone for a while at a time, or at least not right next to me. Many years ago, at my lowest point, medication saved my life. It kicked this awful duo out of the country long enough for me to begin my journey to the other side of this disorder — to the side where I have more control, the side where I have tools (given by my wonderful therapist) to help keep them away for long enough to function, or at least long enough to get through the day.
Many days I feel like the battle I fight with them is a lost cause. Why keep fighting if they will always be there? But then there are days when I can’t find them anywhere, and I hold onto those. Those days I am given the will to keep going, to prepare for the next battle so I can win and win again.
Above all else, I have found that art has helped me through my journey with depression. Art in many different forms, but mostly film, theatre and music. I can remember sitting in my car the time I wanted to die, the time when living one more minute felt impossible, even though I fought for so long to stay for other people. And a song came on my playlist. “The Altar” by Nichole Nordeman. Her lyrics, “I’m at the end of myself. I’ve just dropped out of the running. I don’t recall when I last pulled the shades and said here comes the sun, here comes a new day. Someone remind me again, that joy might show up on occasion. Cause I’m sitting here with my hands on my head and my eyes on the ground, wondering if I’ll be found by you.” For a moment, I had some clarity. I cannot be the only one who’s felt this way, I thought. I guess I’m not completely alone. It’s amazing how art can do that for you.
I was inspired to write my film “They Walk With Me” because I knew that maybe if I shared my story — if I showed someone how depression takes shape in my life — they may feel like they are not alone. The film is a small glimpse into what it’s like to live with mental illness. My personal journey is depression, but it can be any illness. The disorder and its counterpart Loneliness have been personified. They walk around with the girl in the film, manipulating her movements, telling her lies and physically fighting her. But there is hope. There’s always hope. People need other people. My wish for this film is that someone who is dealing with a mental illness can see the power of reaching out and talking to someone. The power of asking for help.
Art saved my life. Maybe this film can save another life too.
Link to the full story behind the film and crowdfunding campaign here.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.
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