Wednesday, January 25, 2017

I will win.

Depression wins. Too often.

When I was struggling with depression, I didn't imagine a future for myself. I couldn't. It was impossible, in that mindset, to believe that there would ever be a future where things would stop being so shitty. It wasn't pessimism per se; it was just all I knew, this misery, this cloud that never lifted. A Plato's Cave of indifference. I could almost physically feel it--around my neck, on my shoulders, in my lungs, around my rib cage, on my eyelids. If things wouldn't stop being shitty, why continue into a shitty future? What if the future is even shittier than the shitty present? Even if I get over this shitty phase, another one will surely be upon me soon..?

Babies cry when they're even slightly uncomfortable because it's literally the worst thing they've ever felt in their short little lives. Crying doesn't seem to bring you the same catharsis as it did before, as you transition into maturity and learn about all the other glorious pains life has to offer.

Logic almost ruined me when I was depressed. My misery would beseech probability: if I've only been alive for 18 years and life is already this shitty, how much more shittiness is waiting for me in the next 18 years? Why extend pain--life--if I can just cut it short? I have no control over my emotions--why not take control over my life and what happens to it? I'm not good for anything anymore--what's the point of me staying around? Sure, in the short run, people might be sad, but in the long run, people will be okay, and they will be stronger for it, right?

Depression lied to me. It knew exactly which lies to tell me because it lived in my head, knowing what I would or wouldn't believe. It knew me. It was me. It knew everything I dreaded, everything I hate, everything I feared. It knew what happiness was, and it didn't allow happiness in. It didn't allow anything in, really. In a weird way, it actually comforted me and relieved me of a lot of my fears. Fear, after all, is a natural response you have to some stimulus that you think will threaten your life. Fear then rests of the assumption that you don't want to lose your life and that you value it. I didn't. I didn't flinch at loud noises. I didn't panic in emergencies. I stopped being afraid--and not at all in a courageous or willfully-determined sense. It was fearlessness in a most hopeless, void resignation.

Depression used my own thoughts and logic against me. I couldn't rely on instinct and emotions anymore; I had none left. It nested in my mind, and it fed on itself. I felt guilty for being depressed, and that guilt fed the depression further. I wanted to be able to magically obey my closest friends and start enjoying things and going out and liking myself again, but when I couldn't or didn't want to, I felt like a failure, and that shame fed the depression further. I know certain people got exasperated and annoyed with me, and even downright cut me out of their lives because they couldn't handle the burden of me being the way I was. That's what I was--a burden. This only strengthens the argument that I might be doing some good by committing suicide. I can't be mad at the people who left. They have their own problems, after all. They don't follow the same logic that I do. They don't know. And that made me feel even more alone.

Suicide in the face of depression is not cowardly nor selfish. Suicide is the logical answer that I arrived at when I was depressed. I was not afraid of anything, and I was only thinking of the good it may have ended up doing to others. I couldn't even think enough of myself to be selfish. Perhaps people would band together in camaraderie and mourning, and I would create something beautiful in the wake of my death. Perhaps people will be relieved that I am gone. But suicide is not to be romanticized in any way.

Depression is not just sadness. Please don't look at it as attention-seeking or determined pessimism. Please don't dismiss it as a phase or inferiority. If you would rather sneer and turn away and be absorbed in your own certainty that you know what's right for a depressed individual without even wanting to understand them, then it is you who are cowardly and selfish.

Stop the negative stigma of antidepressants and therapy and psychiatry and psychology to treat depression. Depression has symptoms; it has treatments that may not always work; it has fatalities; and it deeply affects and even debilitates people. It is like any other serious illness. We should treat it like one. And just like any other serious illness, depression requires medical attention. Suicide is, as Robin Williams says, a permanent answer to temporary questions and problems. It's so unfortunate that he could not let himself take his own advice.

I am winning. There are days when I feel I am losing, fading. But I will win, so long as I fight.

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