It starts little. It’s difficult to go to work because of anxiety attacks and a feeling that you’ve accomplished nothing. It’s your friends disappearing because you moved away and they’re married. It’s having a hard time meeting new people because most of your social energy is spent meeting a dozen new people a day for work and meeting more new people optionally is an exhausting prospect.

You drag more through the day. You feel sick all the time. You stay up late in the hopes it will postpone tomorrow, only to be more worn down the next day. You are okay with the idea that your life could end, but you don’t actively pursue it.

There is something in your life you hold onto. When you’re really feeling down, you think of that one light, that hope that keeps your heart beating. You think, “If I died, this would be bad.” Oh how you hang onto it. Every time you think, “Maybe today I could die,” you think of it with everything you have and it walks you off that cliff.

But the spiral doesn’t stop. You find it hard to do anything. Work gets attention, but not what it did. Fatigue is constantly on your doorstep. It’s not that you want to sleep, it’s that your mind just doesn’t want to do anything. Your hobbies stop. You stop even trying to reach out to friends. What’s the point? As soon as you can you’re in pajamas, staring at a screen, wishing it would end.

Now and then you get a burst. For a few hours there’s a bright light and you start to get caught up on dishes, cleaning, maybe a hobby. As time goes, these bursts are shorter and shorter, and you stop taking them as a sign that you’re almost out of the slump. There’s a realization the slump is never ending.

Then the one thing you held onto, that one light of hope, vanishes. It’s still available, it’s just when you call on it nothing happens. The light is meaningless and you rationalize away why it’s inconsequential. There is nothing keeping you from the thought that dying is okay. It becomes your hobby.

You think what it’s like for someone else to do it. Walk through a dark alley, have someone put a gun to your head, and they pull the trigger. You think of your own demise. How to do it. The ramifications. You are sitting on a chair with your family, laughing and joking, and in your head you are thinking of a dozen ways to end your life and you’re laughing because if you actually tried to speak at that moment, you would break down in tears, and when everyone goes to dinner, you stall a moment, sitting in that chair when everyone’s gone, and composing yourself so you can have conversation.

And you’re waiting. You realize there is a time bomb in your head that could go off at any time, and at some point it’s going to say, “It’s time.” As you desperately try to claw your way out of the spiral of depression.

Despite this, you don’t want to reach out. You don’t want anyone to know. If you do, they’ll think you’re just looking for attention. Surely, even though nearly every creative fiber is spent on how to die, surely you are exaggerating. Surely you won’t actually go over the cliff. But you know. As soon as the thoughts are pervasive, you know it’s only a matter of time unless you make drastic changes.

It’s only a matter of time until you cannot walk down from that ledge.

And you smile and joke in public.

But it’s only a matter of time until all those creative thoughts turn into action.

Praying that your battle with depression is going better than mine. I’m setting up appointments this week to seek help, and if you’re on that ledge, you should to. And if you just need someone to talk to, feel free to reach out to me. I’d be more than willing to listen.

10 Comments on “Depression

  1. I know these feelings all too well. Which is exactly not what you want to hear. I know I hated it when someone would tell me “It’s not that bad.” “Just smile.” “You’re not the only one going through this.” Because it doesn’t feel like anyone knows what it feels like and if someone does know, you honestly don’t *care* that anyone else feels this way because it’s happening to YOU and everyone else can deal with their own problems.

    Paul, you have done amazing things and you’re a good person. Don’t let the negative aspects of life pull you under. Fight it. Life will be stupid but life will also come back at you with amazing things if you keep your eyes open and pushing forward. People care immensely but most people don’t know how to respond to this kind of thing or are uncomfortable to say anything for fear of saying something wrong or offensive.

    I really hope you find answers and the things in life that will raise you up. Pray. Pray lots. I know it’s hard in times like these but go some place where you’re alone and talk out loud to God. Tell Him exactly what it is you feel and what you feel you need. Push through shame or fear or disbelief and just prattle away to God. It’s been my greatest help in my darkest times.

    I really hope you feel better, Paul. This is no way to live, I know…

    • Thank you. The weird thing is there’s a group of people I didn’t understand, and now I do. And it does blow, because you really don’t know who to turn to. There’s the fear that it’s not legit, that’s it’s just passing, but there’s also the fear of what if it’s not? If this is truth and I don’t act on it, then I die. But thank you. I will definitely pray on it. I’m also going to church hopefully this week to get some help.

  2. Hope is a funny thing. It’s like a thread going through a spindle – sometimes thicker and more substantial than other times, when it seems as though it might break. It won’t.
    You’re not alone, Paul. I’m not talking about all the sufferers out there who feel the same as you do, I’m talking about the guardian angel sitting beside you right now, guiding you to reach out to people who might help. Your good intentions are understood, and you will be rewarded for them.
    Hang in there, my friend.

    • Thanks Linda. I’m strangely feeling better, but still going to reach out tomorrow as I’m guessing the deep depression isn’t actually gone.

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