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When You're Tired of Being Brave Facing Depression

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The other night when I was going to bed, I told my fiancee I wasn’t sure I could “do another day like today.”

He quickly asked me what I meant, and I had to run away because I wasn’t brave enough to say it out loud: I can’t take pain like this again for one more day.

He didn’t run after me because he knew I wanted to be alone with my tears. I had been crying all day long over this excruciating pain which I can only describe as pain over my pure existence.

See, when someone does not suffer from the lowest of lows of depression, there is no way to truly describe what’s exactly “wrong” because it’s not one of those quick fix problems like, “Oh, I am sad because someone said something rude to me, or “I’m sad because the girl or boy I like doesn’t feel the same way.” It’s not something that’s easy to articulate.

Really saying what’s going on in your mind is sometimes too embarrassing. It sounds a little “crazy” and doesn’t make any sense.

For me, fantasizing about “going away forever” gives me a sense of comfort, like I have a choice whether or not I will endure this type of pain again. If you can tell yourself you’re not strong enough or too tired to do it anymore, that sense of admitting defeat allows you to see you can wave the white flag of surrender in a way that could have permanent consequences…but you’re only thinking about it.

There is nothing pretty about depression. It’s one of the ugliest things I’ve personally ever witnessed. It’s certainly not attractive to talk about it, especially because of the stigma the majority of the population has about mental illness in general. That is why most everyone, like myself before I began writing to help heal this perception, goes into total isolation and shuts everyone they love out of their life.

It’s the isolation that can kill you. The hours, days, weeks or months you spend hiding out. You can’t let anyone see you this way. Such cruel labels we fear when it’s our brains that have turned against us and not the other way around.

When there’s a suicide in the news, people make comments like, “She seemed so happy” or “He was such a good father and brother,” but they are baffled at why they would take their own life before coming out and asking for help. It’s because depression and mental illness steal the joy from you and blind you from your blessings.

It seems as though people who don’t struggle with depression feel as though they can relate or judge because depression is usually described as “having the blues” or “sadness lasting for weeks” when in reality, it’s much deeper than that.

If I were to be 100 percent honest about what it feels like, I would tell you that it feels like a horrible nightmare you can’t wake up from. It’s like being forced to walk down the worst neighborhood in the world with people throwing knives and shooting at you but you have no protection. It’s a broken record player in your mind you are tied up to all day and night repeating the worst possible things you could ever imagine someone saying to you.

I believe people can relate with sadness and desperation, but the difference is when I go to low levels of sadness, my only options appear to be “disappear and escape.”

When you love someone who suffers from depression or any mental illness, you don’t need to tell them you can relate because you really can’t. Please don’t tell them to snap out of it or that they should be grateful for all the great things they have in their lives. We know that and hearing it makes it worse.

What you can do is remind them that this dark place will pass, because it always does. And that you love them no matter what — their dark side as well as their light side.

Follow this journey on Happiness, Love and Light.

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: February 19, 2016
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