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.
Fantasy Writer and Cartographer
Speculative Fiction Author
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I have people to kill, lives to ruin, plagues to bring, and worlds to destroy. I am not the Angel of Death. I'm a fiction writer.