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When Depression Makes You Hurt the People You Love

Editor’s note: If you experience suicidal thoughts or have lost someone to suicide, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

Staring up at the ceiling, I can’t help but feel empty and numb. The rest of the house is quiet and dark, everyone sleeping after retiring from a hard day. Yet I am wide awake, struggling and drowning. Even after a nice day meeting up with a friend for coffee, the demons of emptiness, loneliness, guilt and self-hatred continue to gnaw at me inside.

As if looking for reasons to hate myself, my mind begins to list off all the ways I disappointed people, both today and in the past. The list depicts vivid imagery of the accidental harmful words I spat out in impulsive anger. I picture the times I let my anxiety take charge of my social life, saying “no” to seeing the people I love instead of going out to see a movie or enjoy lunch. The demons make a great case for themselves.

In some ways, my depression seems so right. I find it hard to argue with the demons. Perhaps this is why they are so effective. While I don’t hate myself, I hate the person my depression makes me become. I hate the way I often avoid my friends, terrified to have fun because, what if I don’t have the energy or what if they don’t really want to hang out with me? I hate the pessimism that escapes my mouth, which couldn’t be further from the optimistic and positive person I have always known myself to be. I find myself thinking — and sometimes saying — “What’s the purpose of life?,” “I’m not contributing anything to the world anyway” and, when I’m feeling my worst, “I don’t deserve to be here anymore.” I hate the way I disassociate from life, losing touch with people I love, only making me feel more isolated and worthless. Most of all, I hate the way my depression and anxiety completely consume my mind, how it forces me and those around me to believe I really am the unreliable, pessimistic and careless person depression paints me to be.

Of course, if everyone with depression hopelessly succumbed to the demons inside their minds, we would quickly lose ourselves and any shred of hope toward recovery. We have to take a step back from the demons and realize the incredible amount of strength it takes to face these toxic, never-ending voices each and every day. Quite honestly, just acknowledging I am not the demons has been a huge step toward recovery in and of itself.  The passionate, kindhearted, and energetic person I know I am still exists inside somewhere. Knowing this, I can go to battle each day knowing I am not fighting a worthless war, but rather saving myself from the monster of depression that attacks far too many people each day.

Yet, throughout the battle, I know my demons have caused me to hurt so many of the people I love. They have caused me to fail to treat the people I cherish as the royalty they are to me. If I could reach out to everyone I have hurt because of my struggle, I would say I am sorry for not responding to your messages or canceling plans, especially when you were just trying to let me know you care. I care about you more than you know. I am sorry for being overly negative at times or for insulting you when you didn’t deserve it. I can’t always help when the depression is winning more than I’d like it to, but I promise I’m fighting against it everyday. I’m sorry I am not always the optimistic, energetic person you know. I want myself back too and I promise I will continue to battle the demons until I rescue my mind once and for all.

Still, laying on the floor staring up at the ceiling, I cover my face with my hands and let out a deep sigh as if I can breathe out the war going on inside my mind. I’d be lying if I said I suddenly feel better or that the demons have silenced themselves. I never know if the battle will be better or worse in the morning, or whether I will remain strong enough to separate myself from the depression the next day. But I am comforted by the fact that the person I am inside is worth fighting for, even if the demons lie and tell me otherwise. I am comforted because I have a support system, even if I don’t always see it, and they deserve to have the person they love back.

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 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via Any_Li.