The Depression Series - Beyond Discomfort
Have you ever prayed to die?
I have, many, many times.
Sometimes jokingly “Really Lord? if this is the plan, rapture us tonight!”
Sometimes angrily, “What the fuck am I here for?! End this shit already!”
Most often, begging, “Please God, I don’t want to do this anymore. Just take me.”
And that is the last of the “uncomfortable” truths. For too many days of my life, the one thing I wanted most, was to not be here. Although I’ve never considered myself suicidal, because I have never imagined myself ending my life intentionally, I sought death, dreamed about it, and waited for it. There were nights I was in such emotional chaos, when I could feel the pain from head to toe, that I just knew I would pass in my sleep. That there was no way that I would wake up.
But I did. I always did.
Heartbreak didn’t kill me.
My bad decisions didn’t kill me.
Depression nor anxiety killed me.
After everything I had been through, life was still happening. Whether I wanted it to, or not.
When looking back, what I understand clearly is precisely how much I was operating out of both the desire for destruction and the need for survival. Doing things with reckless abandon because I didn’t care about what happened tomorrow, while simultaneously doing only exactly what needed to be done to make it until tomorrow. It was a dangerous cycle of seeing how far I could go while always making sure I made to the next day. Although I cannot speak for every person with mental health issues’ motivation, what that showed me is how much I did not want to die, but how much I did not know how to live.
While I can own every decision and I recognize every mistake I made because of depression compared to just being young or irresponsible, many in my community have not reached that level of honesty within themselves. I have friends and family that I know are suffering from one or more mental illnesses, that will never seek help or relief. I know people who couldn’t support me through my journey, while going through their own, that still feel shame from suffering in the first place. Instead of congratulations, they have instead given themselves another stigma to overcome. I know people who are very aware of exactly what they are struggling with and have stopped their progress at that point. As though announcing their struggle excuses or explains away their need to seek healing.
When I see myself in so many people I often wonder, when did I stop asking to die? When did I start walking to the other side? When did I understand living with depression didn’t mean always suffering from it? Or that managing it like the chronic illness it is, was my best chance of genuinely being happy despite the fact that this would be an ongoing battle. Maybe, just maybe, if I could pinpoint exactly when the fear of life left me, I could give someone else the roadmap to freedom. But then I remember, there is no underground railroad to escape the darkness of your mind. There is no one remedy, solution, or procedure that would fix us all the same way. So, this series has been my earnest attempt to get somebody, anybody, the idea, the suggestion, the courage, to try to find their own light. Not as a love letter to my depression, but as a call to action for everyone else’s.
I have exposed a lot in this series. As much as I have said, there is even more I will keep to myself. There are triggers I avoid, there are memories I cannot share, there are people I will still protect. You don’t need to know every detail of my story, because you know every detail to your own. You don’t need to relive every moment that got you here, but you do need understand how it impacted you to help you move forward. You don’t need to tell me that you can’t do it alone, but if you need help, you must outstretch your own hand. Exposing yourself can be very uncomfortable. But does it feel worse than being unhealthy?
Thank you for investing your time and emotional energy through this series. It has been therapeutic, humbling, and inspiring. It has reminded me of my worst, and confirmed I am closer every day to my best. But it would be useless unless you take something away as well.
I hope you find help. I hope you find healing. I hope you find… hope.