Trigger warning – contains discussion about suicide and depression
I’ve been sat in front of this screen for a while now. I feel like I need to get something off my chest, but I don’t know quite what it is. I swing from feeling great, to feeling lost, isolated, depressed and suicidal. I’m sure there’s a pattern here somewhere but I’m damned if I can see it.
I guess I’m frustrated. I’ve spoken of this before, but it’s rare that anyone asks a depressed/suicidal person how they are, whether they’re coping. It’s partly because it makes people feel uncomfortable. I understand that. But imagine how uncomfortable it is to feel like you want to end your life. Imagine what it’s like to have convinced yourself that everyone you know would be better off without you. Imagine what it’s like to plan how you’d do it. Imagine being that desperate for respite that you’d risk hurting those closest to you to achieve release from whatever level of hell you feel trapped in. That is how I feel. Regularly. I regularly feel as though I want to kill myself. The thoughts are less frequent now, but they’re still there, and I never really know when I’m going to feel like that. As a high functioning depressive, I can paint a smile on my face on the most desperate of days. You’d never know I feel the way I do. I don’t give much away. Perhaps you’d think I was a bit quiet – I’d probably just tell you I had a bit of a headache, and soldier on.
The fibro/fatigue make the depression worse, the depression makes the fibro worse. When I initially went to the doctors about my depression and suicidal thoughts, it took weeks for a referral to be made – the therapy I was offered? Self guided CBT. I’m sure it works out well for some people, but honestly, the self help book wasn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Any time I walk into my appointments in a good mood, they talk about discharging me again.
I feel invisible. Invisible to most of my friends. Invisible to my family. The friends who have been the most concerned, who have offered the most support, mostly exist in the virtual world of Facebook. The people I see on a daily basis hardly ask how I am. I don’t want anyone to ask if I’m ok – really ask, rather than the cursory daily greeting – every day. But once in a while would be good. People with depression need to feel like they matter. To someone. Anyone. To feel human. There are a couple of people in particular who have checked in with me virtually every day over the last few months. One of them has a knack of knowing exactly when I’m at my lowest ebb, and he has, on at least one occasion, been responsible for talking me out of my suicidal thoughts, and if I needed to call him at 2am, he’d pick up.
Thing is, if I’m going to do it, at 2am, I’m not going to tell anyone about it. It’s not like you go ahead and broadcast the fact that you are about to take your own life (which is why you can all be assured that I’ll still be here in the morning, because I’m talking about it now. As tired and depressed as I am right now – and yes, I am feeling suicidal – I am not going to do anything about it. I just need to talk/type at the moment about how I feel).
I’m upset, because I feel like I don’t matter to the people who I should matter to the most. If I do matter to them, I’m not seeing the evidence of it. I’m tired. All of the time. And that’s on a good day. On a bad day, which happens frequently, I’m exhausted. Some of the neighbours judge me for having a scruffy garden, I can see the look in their eyes as they walk past my house. My car gets odd looks because it’s pretty much dirty all the time. But honestly, I’ve got more important things to use my energy on than gardening and cleaning the car. Just mowing the lawn knocks me out for a couple of days, because I just don’t recharge quickly enough. The meadow I’ve cultivated looks at me accusingly. The front garden looks like it belongs to a geriatric hermit. I feel very alone. Those who want to help me, are too far away to do so. Those who are closer, who could help, seem to not realise that I need the help, or they just don’t want to help. I guess because they see me getting on with it, acting cheerful, they think I’m ok, and that I’m managing. I’m not. I’m existing, instead of living. So I’ve learned not to ask for help. On the couple of occasions I have, a panicked look sometimes passes over their face. It’s like I can see what they’re thinking. ‘What about all the stuff I have to get on with? Do I have time to help her? Will she expect help all the time if I help once?’ Or, help will be offered, without prompting, but the help never materialises, they just fade back out again and I don’t hear from them for weeks. I’m not sure which is worse, to be honest. At best, I can shrug it off, tell myself they are busy, they have their own stresses and strains to deal with. At worst, it makes me feel unworthy of any sort of love and attention. Like I’m lacking in some way. Undeserving of help. Or perhaps my mind goes off on a wild tangent where I go over everything we’ve talked about in ever decreasing circles of self esteem – did I say something to inadvertently upset them? Do they really just not care about me? Am I that awful a human being that no one wants to help? The other reason I don’t ask for help is that even though you might not be thinking about me, I’m thinking about you. Thinking about all that I know you’re going through, all that you already have to do, the ties and constraints which bind your time, and I don’t want to place any more of a burden on your already busy life.
Why is it so many people are so afraid to talk about suicide, and about depression? What’s more uncomfortable – talking about it, or dealing with the repercussions of not talking about it? A few moments of awkwardness or a lifetime of ‘what ifs’? I don’t want or need anyone to be an emotional crutch. I’ve got a dog and an unhealthy Ben & Jerrys habit that has that covered. I don’t want to foist my issues onto anyone else. I don’t want to be treated like a pariah, either. Some inconvenience to be ignored until I fade away. Insignificant, unnoticed. Sometimes I just want someone to listen, the way I try to listen to others. Sometimes, I just need a hug. It’s easy to underestimate how easy it is to be emotionally supportive of someone with suicidal depression. But it really is so easy. I can break it down to two steps:
- Give a shit
- Show that you give a shit
Anyway. Fuck you depression. Fuck you suicide. You can’t have me today.