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Dear Friend, This Is Why I Can't Come to the Party

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Dear person I’m “bailing on,”

Currently I’m in bed, and I’m terrified to get up. I have depression, and days like today are the worst. When I lay here I’m safe, and right now I’m OK. But if I sit up, it’s almost as if I’m surrounded by clouds of dark and terrible things. I lay on my back looking up, but I don’t see the roof over my head. I see shadows, and they drift above me like a haze.

So now I have a choice. I can choose to forfeit today’s match, or get up and fight. Of course I want to fight back against this unrelenting, undefinable and essentially permanent monster in my head. So some days I do just that. But I feel so exhausted. All my energy has been used fighting with my own mind. I lay back down and relish my moment of relief.

Suddenly I start to sweat. I feel it. It brushes my heart, encouraging it to beat faster. Then it wraps its hands around my throat and holds me down. Now it starts to whisper all the things I’ve messed up, or missed, or forgot, and it gets louder, telling me I’m not enough, to just give in. I fight back, I stay still and I breath.

Now it’s mad. It tightens its grip on my throat and leans harder on my chest. Yelling at me, screaming at me that it’s no use, I belong to it now and I better be ready because “now I’m going to make you scream…” And in that moment every inch of my body lights on fire and my bones become cement and all I want to do is wreck my whole life, break anything I can touch, cut myself, burn myself. Anything to either change this feeling or give me a reason to feel it.

I fight more and it gets worse until I collapse. Broken. Defeated. My head returns to my pillow, the grip on my throat slowly loosens and I can breath. I lay there staring into the haze, hoping I sleep, or at the very least when tomorrow comes the haze will have gone away.

That’s most days for me.

So please, when I don’t show up, know it’s not because I don’t love you. It’s because I lost that battle that. And there is no pride, no glory, no relief.

But I’m trying. I’m surviving.

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.

Originally published: May 25, 2016
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