Sean Meade

@sean-meade | contributor
My name is Sean Meade I’m 24 and from Ireland. I suffered from depression for quiet a while, well a couple of years. I write to help others understand what I went through and to help others realize they don’t have to go through it alone.
Sean Meade

What Depression and Anxiety Tell You in Dark Moments

I’ll lie in wait. When the door is closed and the lights are off is when I emerge. You are alone. But you have me. I sneak in and you reveal your deepest worries and regrets. You confide in me. I reaffirm and show you reasons why these worries are true. They are fabrications and I love to spin stories, but I have your trust. I have convinced you that you are alone; I have you convinced you are the root of the problems around you, I have played on your deepest fears and I have even caused you to hurt yourself physically, just to gain relief from my constant onslaught of darkness. Some have been inspired by listening to others talk openly about me, and some have confronted me head on and sought help themselves. But I’m confident I have you. You don’t know any of this. You don’t even know my true name is depression. I’m comfortable here lying in bed with you. You continue to mindlessly sift through YouTube. All the while I do my work in the background. It’s starting to dawn on you what I am, but you haven’t named me, probably out of fear. We’re in bed again and you’re in so much pain, you’ve forgotten about the rest of your body. I have you stuck in one of my favorite stories. Your misery is inviting. Ha! You are having that thought again; I have reduced it to a tiny thought. I’ve done my work on it: “Seek help.”  You’ve wanted to go to the toilet for three hours now and you haven’t even made a move… do you really think you can walk all the way to the student counseling services? Shit, I need help. Anxiety wake up! It’s only 3 a.m., Depression. He’ll be alone even longer if you convince him to skip lectures and stay in bed. Ah, depression – what have you done? You’re supposed to keep him stuck, not piss him off. Look kid, you will have to get dressed to go there, otherwise people will look at you weird if you arrive in a tracksuit and a wrinkled hoody. The counselors will probably only laugh at you and tell you you’re wasting their time. Imagine if everyone you know in college finds out! That’s it — stay awake thinking about that. It’s really not worth it. Nice anxiety, I think you have him. Man, he’s still thinking about going. That’s all he’s focusing on. He’s held on to this thought all night. Jesus, he looks exhausted. So am I. Me too. Damn, he’s moving. What do we do? What can we do? He’s going to the counseling center. OK, while he’s waiting in reception we will convince him to leave. They already have his information though… We will have time to convince him to lie… Damn, she called him in… Shit, he’s broken down and told her… Be strong enough to seek help. Taking on depression as part of a team is easier than fighting on your own. There are people out there who can help. If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page. If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Sean Meade

What Depression Feels Like and How to Help a Friend With Depression

How do you describe depression to someone who has never gone through it? How do you give them a bit of insight? Is it even possible? One analogue I have come up with was a friend (bear with me). Imagine having a friend (your mind), Throughout your whole life you go through everything together. You take on the world. You go through ups and downs. You support one another. You trust one another and you tell that friend everything. They give you advice. You start to have accomplishments and failures. You learn and you keep going. This friend is someone who has your back. You don’t even have to think about it. It’s like breathing, like second nature, hell this friend is part of you and you are part of him/her. If you have someone in your life, like this think about that person. If you have ever had a relationship like that or close to it, think of it for a while. You attack the world together. Things will happen but you bounce back, get up and dust yourself off. Your friend starts to suggest you should let go of some things you love to do. Starts saying these activities or clubs (whatever) are “a lot of effort to keep doing” or “Don’t you think you should spend that time on your job instead” or “What use is that activity in the real world?” Just little hints that an activity (or whatever you love to do) should take a back seat. That the world is a serious place and as such you should act accordingly. Then you let those things slide; after all, you trust their judgement. It’s so gradual you don’t even see anything wrong with it. Then this friend you trust and have been through so much with focuses on your worries. Every worry you tell him/her about they will respond with the mentality of “That is possible and even likely” or “Yeah I know and it is even possible for [insert even more dramatic outcome] to happen,” then lists off half logical and completely fantasized reasons that it is possible. Side note: I guess I was kind of naive in the sense that, why wouldn’t your own mind have your best interests at heart? After all, it looked out for me for so long. Avoiding things because they are difficult (even if we love them) is a way to avoid heartache in the future. Which makes sense — you want to avoid pain. Some pain is not avoidable, however, and some even necessary. The pain I avoided in secluding myself was delivered tenfold when on my own with my overly active depression. So your friend has basically convinced you to drop things that matter to you (that make life worth living), the tough things that give you confidence or lessons to learn from. You start to spend most of your time on your own with your friend because he/she is the only person who understands why you are hold up and don’t socialize. Then you start to realize that you are unhappy, maybe even before this. You start to realize that where was once fun and life, is now just empty. When you do laugh, it is either to cover up the hollowness you feel or it pains you because it makes you realize how empty you are. So here is where the analogue fails. My analogue includes a friend there with you. But with depression there is no one there. Well, a more accurate description is: it feels like no one is there. You tell yourself no one will understand your logic. Although, I think avoiding pain is the most basic of human urges. The trade-off is not worth it, though. The emptiness, the pain of loneliness and the self-loathing for not doing what you want to do. It was a hard experience for me to go through, but it can be done. It is a tough and long journey but it can be traveled. Two things I will advise people to do if they relate to this post is: Be brave and be as honest as you can with the people around you. Talk until it is uncomfortable. Then say one more sentence. As much as you wish (well, I did), no one can read your mind. You have to be honest with people and some of them will even help you. The second piece of advice is that it is your journey and no one can do this for you, although they can support you along the way. You will learn so much. I also know that if you are suffering from this, you are incredibly strong. It is torture. But I know you can survive and thrive. To those who have seen this in someone they love, I will give you this advice: People with depression often feel like a burden to those around them. You may not feel that way towards them but in their mind it is reality. So pity does not help. Pity is useless to them. Action speaks louder than words. You need to take action because a lot of depressed people may be immobilized. You need to tell their parents; forget about what you think might happen. If you are worried, that is a sign it’s serious and the alternative could be a lot worse. Make an appointment for them: Tell them you’re going to make an appointment for them on a certain day. If they say not that day, work with them to find a day. They may be more relieved then you think. If they react negatively you have to tell them that you are worried about them and let the conversation flow from there. Don’t shy away. I would recommend having this conversation while they are in a depressed state because it is harder for them to deny it. Truth above all else. Take a deep breath and tell them how you are feeling. I believe honesty (as massive a cliche as it is) is the best policy.

Sean Meade

Dear Depression, Please Leave Me Alone

Old friend, I can’t remember how long we’ve been together. However, I remember the sleepless nights we kept each other awake. When I would ask questions, you would always answer the same. I remember the countless times we spent lying in bed together. I remember the things people used to say about us. When we went out, they acted like you weren’t even there. Maybe they asked, but you always told me they would never understand us. I started talking about you to other people. I’m sorry to misuse your trust, but I have realized you lie. You give bad advice. Some people still act like you’re not around. Others I have driven away because you love them, and some people have actually stuck around, although they don’t understand. I hate talking about myself. After all, you have taught me I’m worthless. I still think at times you are right. What is the point in fuelling my body? I still think I’m worthless for not being a success. I still think I continuously make the biggest screw ups that any human being can possibly make. This is how I know you’re a liar. How could I be worthless and still screw up to that degree? I am asking you to please leave me alone. It’s not that I don’t love you, but you hold me back. I have so much I want to do. Actually, I just want to experience life more without worry or anxiety, without the worst case scenario stopping me. I want to be able to say no to things without feeling like I’m letting everyone down. (How egotistical is that anyway?) Seriously, I feel so bad when I can’t do something someone asks me to do. It’s a sickness. You cause all these things and although you have given me an amazing contrast to see the world, I can only see that contrast when you are not around. How about an hour a day? Just give me my life back. Look depression, I get you were my way of protecting myself because people are complicated. They are easily offended, but I have learned it’s their problem. I shouldn’t be ashamed to be honest. Some people actually like it. Some are not able to handle it. Look I’m not saying I’m not grateful. You have shown me how strong I am, but our relationship is toxic. So I think we should spend less time together. Talk to you in a few days. We’ll see how things are then. I think we both could use some time apart. Regards, Sean