I am depressed. I’ve been fighting to admit it for weeks now, determined that this was not depression but rather one of my “phases” that would pass over in a few days. They have been common, where the whole world gets too much and I fall down a hole for a few days, but then bounce back. Mostly those phases are programmed phases anyway; abusers instructing me to feel that way, and as soon as I realise that, my head wakes back up.
So for the past few weeks I’ve been trying to tell myself the same. But, although some of it was apparently programming and therefore the intense/sudden need to kill myself vanished once I realised….the depression hasn’t vanished with it. I admit defeat. I think I admitted defeat in the doctors on Thursday when I showed no resistance to the dosage of my anti-depressants being doubled, and if anything I asked for it to be increased. For one normally skeptical of medication, this was a sign to me that deep down I know I’m in trouble.
The suicidal feelings are never far away. Sometimes they’re never far in front, either. Mostly they don’t leave me. I spend my entire day listening to conversations and replying almost automatically, but always thinking those scissors look sharp enough… or the window is open and we’re high up… or simply I wish I was dead.
I sit staring at emails, and replying, and go to meetings and talk, and do my essays, and go to my lectures….but I feel so absent from the world actually that it could be anyone doing these things. My mask is only on because I know it’s needed. I’m President of a large society. I need to be able to function. I will not let them all down by falling into a heap during a meeting with them. I’m a student at university. I need to be able to function. I will not let the group down I’m working with and leave them with more work. I just need to function. I no longer know if I want to function…I just know I need to. I need to keep going.
I cry my eyes out in the toilet, imagine all of the ways I could die, wipe my eyes and walk into a meeting….plaster a huge grin on my face, ask how everyone is, and make stupid jokes about nothing… leave the meeting, back to toilet, more tears.
I feel like I’m standing in the middle of a motorway and the world is rushing past me and around me. Loud…chaos…speed…colours blurring past me…I could be hit and nobody would notice. The world is a mad rush around me, a huge tornado and I’m the lost absent part in the eye of the storm.
My motivation is at 0. I just can’t motivate myself to do anything. Getting out of bed, even, is becoming a chore. I have to set three alarms now. One for waking up. One for reminding me to stay awake. One for getting out of bed. This latter one is often “snoozed” several times whilst I try to muster the willpower to get out of bed and face another day. Another day of pretence. Lalalalala everything’s just fine look at my smiley face because what fucking choice do I have, really?
It’s a new battle. When I was 17 I had a nervous breakdown, and that was strikingly different despite the similarities. It was intensely more painful, for a start. And confusing. And left me babbling and shaking in a corner on more than one occasion, and seemed to disable me even physically – I needed help walking sometimes and just generally was a mess. Equally, sudden programmed suicide modes are different to this as well; there’s a definite feeling of being knocked sideways with those moments, and the whole world looking entirely black, and pain being unbearable, and logic being lost….and a fear of dying, in fact (because it’s programmed rather than wanted) and a deep sadness when thinking about never seeing my friends again.
This? Not a nervous breakdown, and not programmed. Just depressed. I don’t feel sadness at the prospect of not seeing my friends again. I feel sadness that they have to put up with me like this. I don’t fear death; I dream of it at night time and wonder about it for most of the day. Will it hurt? I don’t care. I don’t feel totally knocked sideways or in unbearable pain. I just feel….finished. Exhausted. I am emotionally in an extreme amount of pain and feel weighed down by that, but mostly my wish to die just comes from exhaustion and that I cannot see a future from this.
My life will never be normal, and that realisation jolted me. I don’t know why. I always knew this. Not just the blaringly obvious headlines such as there’ll always be flashbacks, and I will almost certainly never be safe… but also how I live a life like that. Normal things like holding down a job. Would I ever be able to? I can just imagine the job interview – oh yeah and I may at any point disappear, either because I’ve been murdered, kidnapped, or have had to flee suddenly for my safety. Hope that’s alright. Yeah right. Also things like making new friends, or having a partner. How can that happen? There’d come a point where I’d have to explain that I am in danger and probably will be for at least the next few years, if not my whole life. I’d have to explain why, to some extent. Who would want someone who is unsafe on her own and comes from such a hideous background in their life?
I look at my essay title for my coursework and think why am I bothering? What’s the point? What can I do after my degree?
I am exhausted, unmotivated, in so much mental pain I cannot describe, and generally feel very sad. I can cry but mostly only if I’m on my own. I know I can ask my friends for support but now randomly feel unable to. I just keep going. It’s the only thing I can do, until a better option presents itself. Either suicide will take me, or the depression will lift, or I’ll continue living in limbo-land as I am doing. Who knows. Which would I want? I couldn’t tell you. Probably suicide, if I’m honest, just so this all ends…and I don’t have to live my life with the weight of my past on my shoulders, and the danger in the shadows right at my heel…
This is a new battle for me, genuine depression. I think I’ve probably been depressed for a long time, but mildly and mostly as a result of programming so it meant it somehow didn’t affect me so much. Dissociating emotions helped. I couldn’t afford to feel; there was no time. My life in the ring was a constant battle for survival; to truly feel my emotions would have got me killed. I had to protect the children. I had to find a way to survive. It was a very in-the-moment battle, for years on end. No point in properly looking at the possibility of a future, when we never knew if tomorrow would come for us. I was “lucky.” I survived. But it means I’m stuck in the wrong place. I want to be with the children and my babies…. what was different about me that allowed me to survive? Weren’t they worthy of survival? Why me? Everyday I feel consumed with guilt that it was I who made it, and not them… despite the fact they were far better people than me.
This depression isn’t so mild and isn’t dissociated. The reality of what I’ve gone through keeps hitting me in waves, and the horror of what was normal keeps staggering me. Grief is by far the most painful emotion and doesn’t leave me, and neither does guilt. My motivation to live is very limited. My motivation to keep going held together mostly by my role as President, madly, and a few loose strands elsewhere. The pain is overwhelming but I’m too faded to even try resisting it now. I’m just resigned to it.
Resigned, exhausted, in the free fall moment when someone falls off a cliff…pain, and just the acceptance that I’ll die one day and the pain will stop. Hope; limited. Fight; limited. I have no energy. I have nothing. I’m just on auto-pilot and just going through each day almost numbly, waiting for…what exactly? There’s no purpose anymore. My battle now is one against my own head, and against this illness which seems to have finally dug it’s claws in and taken me despite my heavy resistance for years. Hello depression. Finally you have me. Finally you’re breaking me.
In so many ways this battle is far greater and more difficult than being alone in a room with 8 armed men.
Because the depression tilts my head so that I want what it wants – to die. Right now I would like nothing more than to curl up in a cocoon, blind to the world, in my own black shell, and fade silently until there’s nothing left. I would like nothing more than to die peacefully, and this battle to be over with.