Like most things in life, I have no control over choosing when the depression comes, goes or hits the hardest. This evening’s been one of the harder nights. Everything’s been touch and go lately, I’ve found myself wrestling between trying to hold on but wanting to let go. I don’t understand what’s going on inside of me and I resent myself for feeling so deeply sad when there are good things happening around me. After all, doesn’t that make me insensitive and ungrateful? I find it hard to understand how I can spontaneously go from high to low. I feel lost. The depression seems to forever be at the forefront of my every thought and no matter how optimistic I try to be, or how many positive things happen around me, it doesn’t fade away. With apparitions of loneliness and self destruction, slowly seeping in, I often wish I could stop feeling anything at all.
As I write this post, I’m sitting in the sand and I’m overlooking the sea. I wonder, have you ever taken the time to simply sit before the ocean and contemplate its magnitude and power? Have you ever pondered how the ocean perfectly reflects the might and glory of its very Creator? Yet have you ever switched on the news to see that another tragedy had occurred and the ocean in some way, shape or form was responsible for taking someone’s life? The ocean can be calm one moment and raging the next, as the depression is, so the ocean is unpredictable. Let’s chat about tsunami’s for a moment. I remember when the movie ‘Impossible’ first came out on DVD, it’s the movie that has forever changed the way in which I view the ocean. The storyline showed the turmoil and suffering caused as a result of a tsunami and the mass destruction was phenomenal. Tsunami’s wreak havoc and with each impact they causes great devastation. Similarly the to way in which a tsunami destroys cities, lives and homes, so the depression has sent an ocean of emotions to destroy me with such brutal and unapologetic force. I feel overrun and defeated by the series of waves that crash over me, each bringing me that much closer to self destruction and each presenting a different emotion. Guilt, sorrow, self-hatred, self-disgust, weariness, brokenness, shame, anger, resentment, anxiety, distress, pain, worthlessness, tiredness, feeling non valuable and unloved. Yet the worst of all, the suicidal thoughts. The heaviness and weight of each wave is overwhelming and the pressure is often more than I can take.
It’s difficult to explain the depression, sometimes I feel like I’m okay but the next I’m in the darkest of places. Each day is progressively worse than the last and frankly, I feel alone and unhappy. I feel frustrated because the thing I want the most is the detriment. All too often, suicidal thoughts come in waves with the intent of wreaking havoc and destruction. Such as a child nagging for the toy they saw at Kmart, as a dog whining for the fresh bone they so desperately desire, so the voices in my mind beg for me to take the next step.. “just do it, you want to die anyway, no one will miss you and everyone would be better off“. I sometimes wonder if anybody would notice if I silently slipped away?? Nobody seems to care anymore either way.
Heck knows I’ve tried everything to rid myself of the nagging voices that beg me to die. They echo through the corners of my mind. I’ve tried everything to rid myself of the dreaded feelings that manifest themselves within the crevices of my being, however they prominently remain at the forefront of my every dream, thought, desire and wish. Each hour I wake during the night, they’re there. Each moment of silence during the day, they’re there. Through everything, they’re there. My weakness and inability to be strong frightens me. Sometimes I try to be strong, I try to hold onto my resilience but then feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred flood in, this is when the voices begin to tell me that I might as well give up. I’ve gone as far as to write three letters and I’ve gone as far as to methodically design a plan. I now realise that my next step will hold all the weight in the world and for the past few days I’ve been standing stationary. I’ve been standing as still as I can, repeating mistakes and regressing down the familiar path of self destruction, anything to avoid the crossroad at which I stand.. life or death, seeking help or giving up.
There’s been nights where I’ve sat on the shower floor as the falling water ran down my body, colliding with my tears and the blood seeping from those fresh lines. I’ve quite literally sat there on the shower floor, holding a blade against the flesh of my wrist whilst through tears my starved brain attempted to calculate the force at which would result in fatality. There’s been moments balancing on the edge of mountains, recklessly wishing to fall. There’s been weeks where I’ve tried to destroy myself from the inside out, lungs filled with ashes, gasping for air as I’ve taken another sip. There’s days where I simply sit at the beach and envision myself wading out into the ocean, until my body is fully submerged and rather than coming up for air, I picture myself becoming one with the sea as my lungs and body are overrun. There’s been moments where I’ve stood in the chemist and googled the likeliness of overdosing on different pills. There’s been moments when hung over the toilet bowl where I’ve wished that if I pushed my fingers down my throat hard enough that it’d somehow kill me, I lose myself in the mindset of things and continue to force my fingers down regardless of whether anything comes out or not. There’s been times whilst I drive where I subtly take risks and still ponder the thought of veering off the road, if I drove into a tree would it kill me? There’s been times where I’ve consciously had to stop myself from thinking of the future that I don’t plan on being around for. I stay clear of mirrors to avoid seeing myself, I don’t like me and every waking thought is how much I don’t want to be here anymore. I spend hours just staring at walls, I drive to the beach and instead of jogging I sit in my parked car staring at the sun wishing I didn’t exist, I sit on the sand overlooking the sea and I simply wonder what the world would be like without me in it.
Amidst the epitome of my depression, in the quiet stillness, for my entire existence, I long to cease. “Be better, change, grow up, it’s not about you, no one loves you, you’re worthless, you deserve to die, you disgust me, snap out of it”; the voices drilled into my head. I don’t know what made me think I could be valued. I don’t know what to say, I’m devastated to have fallen this far. I’m so ashamed to even write these things down because in a sense that means I acknowledge the fact that they’re really there. They’re real. I feel so guilty and disgusted in myself, I’m ashamed and I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. In saying these things, I do feel that it’s time to seek help.
Oh seeking help… Over the last few weeks I’ve been advised and prompted to seek help more times than I can count. I’ve heard it from people around me and I get it, I really do, they only want the best for me and I love them for that but I don’t want to hear it anymore. I’ve heard it from the numerous online tests I’ve taken, all indicating to severe depression and all prompting me to seek help. I’ve seen it on YouTube videos, all those pre-video disclaimers urging viewers to seek help. I’ve read it all over my google searches, the national helpline is the first thing that comes up when you google anything to do with depression or suicide. Every self-help resource screams recommendations of seeking help. I’ve been told that if I don’t start eating healthy then my body will suffer, but don’t they know that the bulimia doesn’t care if I faint or blackout, it doesn’t care if my knuckles bruise, if I’m constantly ill or if I drown out my body by drinking nothing but 4 litres of water a day etc – after all isn’t that the norm now? I feel that I’ve been bombarded with the same questions and the same prompts. I realise the urgency and the necessity of seeking help but simultaneously I just don’t want to hear about it anymore. Seeking help will be so difficult and I already know that I won’t like it but I think it needs to be done… well thats what they all tell me? I’ve considered seeking help but I feel so overwhelmed by the process that lays ahead. Where would I begin? Do I begin with the bulimia? That’s been rough lately.. bleeding throat, tears streaming, bruised and calloused knuckles, burning blood noses, faint headed… Or do I begin with the depression? The anxiety? The self harm? What about the suicidal thoughts? I fear the process ahead and the need to re-explain or even try to explain what’s been going on..
I’ve stopped making plans for my future and I’ve decided to take it one day at a time, please don’t ask more of me than that because that’s all I can handle right now.
Can we talk about suicide for a second? The topic’s been playing over on my mind all too frequently lately. I spend hours on YouTube watching video complications about depression, bulimia, anxiety and suicide. I realise how terrible that might sound but I find them somewhat comforting, to know that I’m not the only one who feels this way but on the other hand they can be somewhat triggering. I hopped onto YouTube this evening and a suggested video caught my attention. This particular video was entitled, casually suicidal, it was a Ted Talk. I’d recommend taking 15min out of your day to watch it if you’ve got the time. The lady speaking was a University student named Sarah, whom herself has dabbled with depression, anxiety and suicide. She spoke about how social media, whilst being a credible way of interacting with others, had too become a platform on which people joke about suicide. She presented numerous examples of how people have created images or written posts that mock the idea of suicide. ‘Oh I’d rather die’ or ‘I just want to die already’, are two of the many phrases that so easily roll off the tongues of people. I hear it around town, I heard it in school, I see it said among teenagers and adults, when I had social media I saw it daily. It’s everywhere. The fact that people joke about suicide used to so deeply upset me and to an extent it still does, suicide is anything but a joke. I’ve found myself annoyed and angry at strangers or even people I know, all because they made an ‘innocent’ joke. Watching this Ted Talk caused me to consider another angle, whilst many people do in fact joke about suicide, some people say it but laugh as a cover up. What if the person cracking the joke is actually screaming on the inside for help? What if they only laughed to avoid the awkwardness that follows when you tell someone you want to die? We are all human and whether we mean to or not, we don’t always respond to situations in the ‘right’ way. Though is there ever a right way to respond to something like suicide?
Breaching the topic of suicide with someone would undoubtedly result in someone feeling uncomfortable or not knowing what to say. I’ve been there before, not too long ago in fact. I recall laying on J’s couch one night and she asked me what I wanted the most. Eventually prying it out of me, I whispered.. “to cease to exist”. I can still picture the look on her face, she wasn’t expecting that and honestly, I can’t fault her because neither was I. I remember the room felt as cold as ice and my heart dropped as I froze amidst the silent pause that followed. The silent pause was a natural response, had I been in her shoes I wouldn’t have known what to say. Though her soon to follow response was soft and warm, I remember immediately regretting the words that slipped out of my mouth and though those words remain true to this day, I feel that they’d have been better kept inside. At times I do have feelings of regret toward opening my mouth. At times I wish I never said anything to anyone, I wish I could take back moments where I let people in. At times I think it would have been better had I never been vulnerable, had I never allowed people close to me.. I would have minimised the damage I cause. I feel guilty for ever speaking, the depression is my burden to bare and I have no right to put that on anyone else. At times I think its time to bottle everything inside, to suffer in silence as to not burden those I love, time to put on a persona that convinces those around me that everything is okay.. that I’m better and I’m not sick anymore.
As I continued to listen to the Ted Talk, Sarah went on to share an experience where she shared with someone that she’d been feeling suicidal and how the act of sharing had created a distance between herself and the person with whom she’d shared. I to an extent related to her because I feel as though the fact that I want to die, does place distance between myself and those around me whether they know it or not. I’m unsure as to if its me stepping back to minimise the damage and protect them, or whether its them not knowing how to react or what to say. I feel very alone and the people I thought were there aren’t and maybe they’re just genuinely busy or maybe they’re fed up, perhaps I’m not wanted or trusted to be around, I don’t know. Socially I’m at a point where I want to push everyone away and distance myself as I self destruct. More often than not people may try to laugh suicide off and pretend they didn’t hear, or they’ll listen and not know what to say, they may even encourage you to seek help. Each person will react differently and no fault can be placed upon them because we are all human and there’s no way in knowing how we will react to a situation until we are in the situation itself. Statistics show that someone commits suicide every 40 seconds, I can’t help but ponder how easily that could be me. Becoming nothing but another number, forgotten. The Ted Talk finished and I scrolled down the recommended videos, suicide… suicide… suicide. Countless videos on preventing suicide, how to respond to suicide, triggering videos about suicide and how suicide effects people around us. I hopped onto safari and typed the word suicide into the search bar. Similarly to YouTube, the page before me flooded with hundreds of self help sites and at the very top was the national helpline. There’s an infinite amount of organisations and resources at my disposal, yet seeking help seems so far from what I want, let alone acknowledge that I need. I’ve begun to realise that sometimes it doesn’t matter how much you know, how logically you can think through or what you know is right.. what you feel just takes over.
I have to admit that writing a letter to my mom was the most painful thing, I mean what do you say? With each word I wrote, I pictured the brokenness I once saw behind her eyes. Things between us hasn’t changed much, I feel like we drift further apart as the time ticks over. She’s been so great with giving me space to deal with everything but she’s done it in such a bitter manner, today alone she given various sarcastic comments referring back to the email I’d sent her. It’s almost as if she’s mocking me, I know she probably doesn’t mean for it to but it comes off as insensitive and causes me to regret saying anything in the first place. “Snap out of it… I don’t like the way you’ve been acting… there’s a darkness around you and it doesn’t please me… you need to change… I’m not happy with you…” my mum words, these and many more circle around my mind, embedding themselves in the vulnerable corners. I feel like so belittled when I’m in my mums presence, as if I’m the greatest disappointment and inconvenience. It so hurts to feel that way. Heck, she’s my mother.. surely this isn’t how it’s meant to be? I sometimes stand before her and wonder if she can see that I’m literally breaking at the seams, I mean how could she not? I sometimes just want to yell at her.. to tell her that I hate myself and I want to die, to tell her that I’m falling apart and I feel like I’ve lost control, to tell her that I need her to hold me. I love her but it feels like the love’s just not reciprocated. I try so hard to be okay, to please my parents, to do what’s expected of me, to be the person Gods intended for me to be.. yet all I do is fall short.. I’m completely and totally incompetent.. I’ll never measure up and I feel like I’ll never be good enough to make them proud.
I so deeply value love and affection, a hug speaks more than a thousand words. However, she’s just not that type of person, she doesn’t like touch and I respect that even though it’s so hard to go days or weeks without a hug from your own mother.. I mean I don’t hear the words “i love you” either and sometimes I wonder if I’m even valued by her, let alone by my father. It hurts to see my mom hug other people, she hugged her best friends daughter in front of me yesterday and I felt so disheartened because it’s been so long since she hugged me.
In a season where I feel so alone and worthless, I simply want to be held. I know that’s really selfish of me but I just want to be held and to know that I’m not alone and that maybe I’m even loved. Of course that’s too much to ask.
I have felt so alone. I could be in church, at work or in my own home, surrounded by people and still feel deeply lonely. There’s been fourteen people this year whom I have lost, whether they’ve moved or we’ve grown apart. With all these people leaving, I was left alone. I’ve felt that I had no one to turn to, especially with the way things are at home. I live with my family, yet I feel like I go unseen and unnoticed. My relationships within my family circle disintegrates by the minute and theres nothing I can do about it. Over the course of a few months I found myself entirely alone. I often wonder why God allowed me to build relationships with these people, only for it to bring to me immense love, followed by deep pain and confusion. I’ve taken on the lies and often wonder what’s wrong with me? Why do people continuously leave me? Perhaps I become too much, they give up on me, lose hope or simply can’t be bothered? I fear this with J, she knows so much of me and that frightens me.
It’s the beginning of fourth term and I’m exhausted. My GP doesn’t want me to go back but I need to. I feel more rundown than I did at the end of last term. The devotion today spoke about how we as staff are called to pour into the lives of our students, through love and ministry. I don’t know how I’ll go about giving when I have nothing to give, I’m already so tired. I spent a lot of today sitting in training and staff meetings, whilst subconsciously staring into space. I didn’t want to be there and in mentally, I wasn’t. Social interactions peak my anxiety, the idea of pretending to be okay and forcing laughter, making small talk and everything that comes along with it simply tires me. I genuinely don’t know how I’ll make it through the his term, let alone my three week teaching prac that begins next week. I just want to run away! Cliche, I know. I fear that the depression will overshadow my performance, that I’ll once again fall short and that I won’t succeed. I fear that I’ll be too exhausted, drained and simply unable to work.
I was recently told to, ‘Keep pursuing Jesus and trust His guidance through all the deep pain, He wants to meet you there.‘ I want to do this. I want to press into Jesus, I want to trust His guidance and I want to continuously pursue Him but I simultaneously feel like I’m drowning and He’s watching me from the side line. In saying so, I recognise that any distance between my Heavenly Father and I is distance I’ve placed between us. Distance placed out of shame. Second Corinthians twelve verses eight to nine reads; “Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” I understand the logistics behind what the verse reads but if I’m honest, I don’t want to boast in my weaknesses. I want to run from them. I want to hide from Jesus because I’m ashamed of the way I’ve behaved. I can’t count the amount of times I’ve cried, screamed and begged for God to take the pain away. Yet it remains, I wonder if there is something He is trying to teach me? Part of me feels that if He cared then He wouldn’t allow me to suffer this way, but then part of me reminds myself that He does care and sometimes He allows us to go through hardships for a reason. I just wish I knew why. Am I reaping something I’ve sown? Will this season ever end? Will I ever wake with the will to live again? Will things get better? I feel lost, I don’t know what’s expected of me and I don’t know how to free myself.
Last Sunday TR shared a message before communion and I sat there crying. Our new theme in church is reaping and sowing. She told us that the seeds we have sown and will sow, seeds of sin and destruction are the seeds that Jesus reaped when He bore the weight of sin on the cross. He took it all upon Himself so that we might reap seeds of joy and eternity in heaven with Him. I felt so conflicted given my actions, thoughts and behaviours during this season of depression. I was least deserving of grace, yet Jesus so freely bestowed it upon me and He continues to on a daily basis. With each short coming, so comes an outpouring of grace and forgiveness. I weeped because I felt overwhelmed by guilt as I realised the depth and magnitude of my Fathers love for me. Deeper than and more powerful than any ocean.
Tonight, as I sit between the grains of sand upon the shore whilst overlooking the sea, I fall before the feet of my Father. I repent and pray to be held by Him. In the arms of my Saviour, I know that despite how I feel, I am stronger than this depression and I’ll see the sunrise just once again. Perhaps I’ll even wake without the thought of wanting to die.
– c x