Depression creeps on you quietly.
I remember the day I started this blog. It was cold and windy. Nevertheless everyone I knew were full of enthusiasm for the Christmas holidays which were to come. They were out shopping, drinking wine, celebrating the fact that the lectures are about to be over for a while. They didn’t care about the exams which were to follow that Holiday because they were too busy with making plans about that horrific night in which you are obliged to get drunk, say goodbye to one year and graciously welcome another for which, of course, you already have massive plans.
I remember how I hated every single one of them, how I tried not to listen to those idiotic words which were coming out of their mouths every time they would open them. I remember how I only wanted to stay at home and get lost in those two beautiful and magical worlds of books and music, the only existing phenomenons on this world which were able to help me shut my brain and forbid that organ to overtake my entire body and soul.
Depression finds what you love and destroys it.
I remember the day music stopped helping. It was December 22 in 2014. The day I started this blog. So I wrote about it, about music I mean. I dedicated an entire article to an artist which I still consider to be a bloody poet with a voice of an angel whose products of talents and creativity are one of the few reasons why I’m still physically present on this Mother Earth of ours. The artist also known as Ed Sheeran. I was always grateful for him and many other musicians who understood. At the time I wasn’t quite aware of what they were understanding, but their music was there and it was helping me to cope with the nightmares which were, paradoxically, starting every time I would wake up and get out of bed. The nightmares of every day life.
I remember the day words of wisdom from one of the books I was reading at the time couldn’t help me escape the outside world and isolate me from the voices around me at a cafe. That day I got home and wrote my second post on this blog, about the people who were representing the fact that this world will always have a market for ignorance, vanity, stupidity and coitus. The people who are proudly living as a part of the majority praising their lack of originality and individuality with every breath they take. You see at the time I wasn’t aware of the saying “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by assholes”, which didn’t stop me from making that assumption all by myself. I wasn’t feeling well, certain people, or “oxygen thieves” as I refered to this social group in my previous post two years ago, were going on my nerves, therefore it was their fault. In my head being in their surrounding was the cause of all of my misery.
“That is all I want in life: for this pain to seem purposeful.” ― Elizabeth Wurtzel, Prozac Nation.
I remember the day I stopped writing on this blog. It was Christmas. I didn’t have to go to University, I had no obligations whatsoever, but I didn’t know what to do with all the spare time. See in normal circumstances I would either read a book, listen to the music, go for a cup of coffee with my friends before the big family lunch, or simply watch the TV. I’m pretty sure either “Home Alone” or “Love Actually” were on, after all it was Christmas. But these were not usual circumstances. I simply wasn’t functioning properly.
There was a tree in our house, my mum was decorating it and somehow I made myself get out of my room to offer her my help in that activity. I remember her saying how I shouldn’t bother, how she knows I always hated decorating Christmas trees, which is still true ’till this very day, but somehow I managed to interpreted those words as:”I don’t need you here. You’re not even capable of putting stupid decorations on even more stupid tree”. My poor dear mum’s words got lost in translation thanks to my possessed brain.
So, naturally I got back to my bed, the only thing which gave me comfort at those and many more days to come, put a blanked over me and started crying. I felt unwanted, unneeded, like I was ruining everything for everyone. And you don’t want to ruin Christmas! Don’t you all know what happened to Ebenezer Scrooge, Oogie Boogie, Jack Duff and Grinch? Just to mention a few…
There were gifts. I got plenty of them, books mostly or, money specifically reserved for buying books. But I couldn’t read. All of a sudden things I loved the most became my worst enemies. I remember staring at that pile of books, an activity which I would do daily for the next years to come, with such a desire to open them. I got to the point in which I didn’t even want to read them, just touch them and flick through the pages, but somehow doing that seemed as the hardest thing to do. So, I cried again. It is amazing how much water can a human being get out of his or hers system though the eyes. I’m pretty sure I, myself, ran Niagara falls over these three years.
“We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be.” ― Patrick Rothfuss,
There was loads of food as well. All of my favorite meals put right in front of me. So, I ate, or at least I was trying to. Luckily, no one noticed my lack of appetite. The signs of the previous three hours spent in nothing but crying passed unnoticed as well, thanks to the huge smile on my face and humorous comments I made. That’s one of the tactics I had developed in order for people not to realize how unhappy and empty I was. Put on a smile and make fun of everything and everyone, including yourself. That was my self-preservation system.
I had developed and accepted the social mask of a clown which I was putting on my face every single day, long before that Christmas. To be honest I didn’t do that every day. That mask was reserved for those occasions when I was forced to leave the house and/or be surrounded with people. In my defence, I wasn’t trying to be “the life of the party”, nor did I have any intentions of deceiving people of whom I really was. The truth is that mask was me, or at least that used to be me. Unfortunately things changed. I was lost in a despair and tormented by my brain.
Another misfortune is the fact you can’t keep that mask for a very long time. I had it on my face for about three years, but some people will notice that things are off. And that’s when you become a true liar, or that was just me. To all those: “What’s wrong with you?” questions I would make up a perfect story. It was always something about not feeling very well, which made people assume my head ached or something like that, then there was the “weather change” excuse which I used frequently, the lack of sleep one, which in fact was true, I had a lot of trouble with that one, in one point I ended up sleeping three nights per week like Keith Richards in the 70s. So I wasn’t a real liar. I just wasn’t telling the truth entirely.
There were times when I would just snap at those “What’s wrong with you?” people. There was something in the way they were pronouncing that “you” word. As if I wasn’t allowed to feel down, because I had “no real problems” in life. Then I would had to play on the PMS card. If someone tried to track my period, I’m pretty sure they would be stunned by the fact that, judging by my frequent use of the PMS excuse, I probably had it once a week.
Don’t get me wrong, I was never one of those jolly, positive people. That’s not my thing and frankly I’m not a fan of those. If you’re extremely happy in this society you’re either deceiving yourself or your IQ is probably lower than 2, which obviously means you’re even more screwed than I am. But sarcastic, witty, humorous and moderately happy could be words used to describe me, or what I used to be, before I started this blog.
Oh, this blog. It was a cry for help. If people, the society in general, music and books had failed me, there’s no way writing did it as well. For crying out loud I’m a journalism student. Writing is one of the rare activity which helped me reach that inner peace we’re all seeking for. Putting words on paper was always a catharsis for me. So, if only I start writing and get everything out of my system, things will be alright. Right? That was the logic which led me to starting this blog. I will go back to being my normal self and all that wretchedness and agony which were haunting me for no reason will be gone! Oh, what a fool I was!
I remember that Christmas, the day I was about to write my third post on this blog. Wow, I almost got to three posts, what a hardworking person I am, huh?
I remember that blank page, the fear of it, the pain which was becoming stronger with every blink of that devious cursor which was staring at me from that petrifying white page. Not only my precious words which were saving me through music and books were gone, but my own ability to write left me as well. That was the end of this cry for help of a blog. But you see I didn’t just give up on some not that developed blog. I gave up on life.
“Depression is the inability to construct a future.”- Rollo May.
I guess now is the time to tell you a little bit about myself. You know how there are several areas in life by which the majority of people measure you’re success in it? Well, I was and somehow still am passing with flying colors in every single one of them. I am one of the best students at my University, I have a great job which I love, I am in a happy long-term relationship, I have great friends, real friends, those whom you can call in 4 in the morning for no reason, I come from a good family, which happens to be wealthy as well, I have loving, carrying and extremely supporting parents, I also happened to be quite popular on social media, which, unfortunately for all of us, happens to be one of the important criteriums in today’s day and age. I could go on and on. You see I have everything, a perfect package. Oh, and I’m healthy of course, at least physically. You don’t really think of your mental health, particularly not when it fails you real hard.
So why was I feeling down? I had no reason to feel that amount of sadness. There was no trigger, nothing bad happened to me or anyone that I love. Everyone I knew praised me for being so “succesful”. I guess that’s where the shame came from. I was lying to them and myself by playing this role of old me for a very long time.
All of a sudden I became useless, not good enough for anything. I was bailing on my friends, the real ones, not those “oxygen thieves” I mentioned. My bedroom felt more safe than the outside world, by which I include even the living room, so my parents were also affected by my behaviour. Then the guilt came. Not only my shattered brain was destroying myself, but it was hurting the people I love. I was hurting them! And just when you think there’s no more tears left in you, that the emptiness and melancholy finally took every part of your heart and soul, you start crying again.
At that moment you know. You don’t even have to search the Internet for the symptoms you’re having, you just know. Even before hearing that infamous sentence “You need help”, you know. You don’t even have to go to the doctors to be informed about the fact that you can get medication and therapy but “It’s all up to you”, because you already know that.
“Until you’ve had depression I don’t think you’re qualified to talk about it.” – Geoffrey Boycott
There are only two things you could do.
You can choose the easier way and just end it all, which leads to hurting the ones you love even more than when you were doing it alive, which can also lead to them being captivated by a depression. You could be the trigger for them and make them go through the same things you did. And you don’t want that, do you? Of course you wouldn’t be alive to see them suffer, but alive you have the power to put a smile on their faces, which you can’t do from the grave.
That leads us to the second option. FIGHT! I have to admit it is a harder choice. You’ll have to go to therapy, which is something I’m not very good at, so I can’t give you advice about that. I guess I had that social mask for far to long. You’ll hear a lot of clichés. People will tell you stories about some other characters, for whom I assume are fictional and completely made up, who overcame such obstacles in life, so if they could do it, so can you. After all “it’s all in your head”. It’s not like you’re “suffering from a real disease”. Just don’t let this get you down. People are jerks, and if you hadn’t realize that by now, than it’s about time you do.
What no one will tell you is that you’re a bloody hero. Yes, you didn’t save a baby from a fire and maybe you’re not doing that great at your job or at school, but so what? The amount of effort you put in getting out of the bed is equal to all of those heroic characteristic. Finding the strength for moving on and living with depression, not to mention trying to beat that son or daughter of a bitch and the devil, is much harder than getting a promotion or straight A’s. This is something people struggling with depression do on daily basis. That’s why they’re fucking heroes. Taking a shower may not sound like a hard activity to some, but trust me when I say this, every single activity is a nightmare. And if you’re doing it even though you’re feeling desperate, you’re more than a hero. You’re a fighter. And what do fighters do? They beat that son or a daughter of some bitch and the devil, also known as depression.
It’s not you’re fault you’re brain decided to play with you and mess you up. You wouldn’t believe how it screwed me. But I’ve embraced my inner madness and I just wrote a third post on my poor blog. It did take me almost two years but it has to count for something.
Now excuse me, there’s a book waiting for me. 🙂