Today I did something I never thought I would do: I took four of my brother’s super strong painkillers whilst sitting on the living room floor, another dozen to hand. I sat there, half dazed, suffering from one of my worst lows in a while, and I took them. I didn’t swallow them all in one go, I took them one at a time, methodically, thinking with each one how much I wanted it all to end and yet how much I didn’t want to die. And more than anything, how much I wanted people to understand how bad this gets sometimes.
As far as the doctor is concerned I have been having a mild battle with depression for a little over a year. The truth is that it is something that I have been fighting with on and off since I was sixteen and that none of those fights have been mild or easy. Because depression isn’t a sub-boss in a JRPG, it’s that motherfucker that jumps out of nowhere when you are two hours away from a save point and are low on potions.
Fighting depression is never easy.
Sometimes, it’s just really easy to forget that. Society at large rarely acknowledges how damaging and overwhelming depression can be. A lot of people think that it’s being down a lot, some see it that those who suffer from it are just being lazy or are finding excuses to not do things. I’m lucky enough that those around me aren’t like that but I have seen (and been made to read, through uni) people who think like that. People who are willing to kick those who are already on the floor where it hurts the most.
Because there is a lot of pain in depression. It might not be a chronic illness that robs you of your capacity to walk up and down the stairs, to make food for yourself, or to generally exist independently. But what depression does do, is rob yourself of the desire to do these things. I have experienced days where laying on the floor and not moving, staring ahead, seems as good a course of action as putting the minute effort it would take to get myself to a chair, or a bed. The second that desire, that drive goes, I feel like nothing more than a broken automaton. And I feel just as damned useless and worthless.
It doesn’t matter if the day before I whizzed through studying or wrote 3000 words. It doesn’t matter if all that needs doing at that point in time is load the dishwasher and read half a chapter for my course. It doesn’t matter if nothing is expected out of me. It doesn’t matter because it no longer can matter. When depression grips me, nothing matters. Everything is too black and too overwhelming and it feels like it would be easier and would hardly matter if I simply quit everything that I was trying to do.
I have days when I am so scared of failing at, well, just about everything, that I wonder why I ever attempt anything. If I don’t write
for more than a day, I’m obviously failing at it (especially around NaNo). If I don’t get good enough grades at uni or if I fall too far behind, I’m failing at being a student. If the house gets messy around me, I’m failing at the simple task of looking after a household (which is nowhere near as easy as anyone ever made it sound to me when I was younger). And then the fear fuels the depression and it feels as though I am simply failing at being me. And if that’s the case, there doesn’t feel much point in not taking those painkillers.
But I don’t want to die. I just want the fear, the down, the emptiness to stop. I want to go back to who I was before the depression seized hold of me. I want to go back in time and tell sixteen year old me that it’s okay, that things can get better and that he shouldn’t be ashamed. Because sometimes I think that if he had known that when his world felt like it was crumbling he may actually have made it out of the other side far stronger than I am now.