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A Metaphor for People Who Don't Understand Depression

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Most people don’t understand why some people try to put an end to their life. They think it’s selfish of us, or that we’re weak and don’t know how to cope with small things. But that’s not what it really is. I’m going to try my best to explain to you how we feel, to give you some insight into what depression and being suicidal really feels like.

Imagine you’re a fairy.

You see all your friends flying around you, laughing and chattering. You flap your wings, but only just about manage to lift your feet above the ground for a few seconds before tumbling back down again. But you won’t give up. You want to fly, just like the others.
You try day after day, week after week, year after year — you don’t give up until you succeed. And sure enough, all your hard work pays off! You gradually get the hang of flying and soon your flying alongside your friends, laughing and chattering.

You’re flying above the clouds, higher than anyone else enjoying the feeling of the wind underneath your wings. You make the most of every moment, as it took you so long to get there.

But then it’s all gone.

You feel a bullet rip your wing. You’re falling out of the sky at an alarming pace. You fall so fast that your friends don’t even notice you as you fall past them. “I just want to live!” you shout, before the ground comes rushing up to meet you.

You land with a crash. Your entire body hurts from the fall. You try to stand up, but the pain is too strong. You look around you and see that you’re in a large pit. You look up, trying to figure out how deep the pit is, but it’s so deep that you can’t see the top.

You try to flap your wings, but they’re useless now that the bullet’s gone through them.

You try climbing out of the pit, despite the unbearable pain you’re in, but there’s nothing to grip on to, and to make matters worse, it starts raining making the walls of the pit slipperier than ever. You fall back into a muddy heap on the ground, and weep and weep and weep.

This is what depression is for me.

But it doesn’t have to end like this.

Those friends flying above you, the ones who are true friends, will notice you disappeared. They would look for you and find you in the pit, and use their magic and strength to lift you out.

Depression doesn’t need to end in suicide. And if someone sent you this article to read, it goes to show they are trying to tell you something. Reach out to them, help lift them out of the pit, instead of backing away from the fear of taking responsibility.

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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Image via Thinkstock.

Originally published: December 21, 2016
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