What Happens When Depression Fully Encompasses Me
My depression doesn’t just come and go — it breathes me in. It feels as though I have become depression myself. It fully encompasses me and I know nothing else but its sinking and tugging at my heart. Friends ask me to do something fun like try acro-yoga or go to Dave and Busters, and I just lay in bed and hope that sleep takes me away longer this time. My alarm clock rings and I come to the slow realization that I am awake and alive, my worst nightmare.
And so I cry. And it’s not the pretty girl cry that you see in the movies. It’s ugly. It’s a runny nose, soundless screaming, barely breathing type of crying. It’s the crying that seems like it will never end.
The crying is at its worst when I come home from work and I am alone. I walk into my apartment, headphones in and lock the door to my bedroom. I fall to the floor and bang my head against the door, half hoping someone hears me and the other half hoping it echoes in the silence, like a tree falling in a forest with no one around to hear it. And so I sleep. It’s 6 p.m. and I don’t even bother putting on pajamas. I cry myself to sleep and pray to a God I don’t believe in, asking for him to spare me the pain of waking up.
Sleep is my only escape. Consciousness is too painful to bear. I ponder why breathing isn’t an option. I take a bath to soothe myself, but I end up pretending to drown. I listen to music to calm me down, but I end up listening to Evanescence, full blast. I color in a coloring book to take my mind off of life but I end up stabbing the book with all my strength. I begin to crochet a scarf but then I throw all of it in the air, wishing it would stop taunting me. I read a book to distract myself, to bring me into a different world, but the lure is never enough. Before I know it, I’ve exhausted all my coping skills.
So I sleep my life away. I lose weight. I stop going to work and school. I don’t leave my bedroom for any reason but to use the restroom. I’ve been here before, which makes it hurt all the worse.
This is my life as someone with debilitating depression.
Depression can open its arms to anyone, it doesn’t discriminate. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza and chronic lung disease, combined. Why don’t we talk about it then? Why is suicide a taboo topic? Why is it so stigmatized? Why must we hide from our loved ones, teachers, doctors and even therapists, afraid of judgment or rejection of love?
Society has taught us that crying is a sign of weakness. It has also taught us that suicide is a crime. In our society, people don’t say “die” by suicide like they should, they say “commit” suicide. That brings so much shame and guilt into the matter. When someone is thinking of suicide, they are not thinking maliciously. They are not being selfish and they are not asking for attention. They are in desperate need of safety and professional help.
In order to reverse the stigma associated with depression and suicide, we must advocate. The time to talk about suicide is right now. Educate others, enlighten others, and give hope. We cannot stay silent.
A version of this piece originally appeared on Thought Catalog.
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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Unsplash photo via Maria Victoria Heredia Reyes.