I have been quite open about this affliction with all of you. Some days it shows more than others. I've received a ton of support from so many of you. You keep an eye on me, you notice changes in my writing, you "feel" something is off about me on occasion.
I have always been moved by this support. I regret some of my postings about the issue. I regret the way I've behaved here on a number of occasions because I was in such a hole and lashed out online. I regret that once, when I was in a particularly dark place, I unpublished nearly all of my diaries. That one especially perturbs me.
And in a way, that sums up my existence as a whole. A string of regrets, behavior that I can't control and that I fear defines me. As a logical person I know that I am more than the sum of my mistakes. But my demons are very particular about the way they turn off my lights. They convince me that I am unloved, unworthy, nothing but a fuck up who has only by chance survived this long and I don't deserve that fortune.
You all know far more about me than most people offline do. I can be vulnerable and honest with all of you. I can't extend that to the people that see me on a daily basis.
I remember a diary (sorry I haven't been able to find it to give it proper attribution) that asked what would people here be most surprised to know about us in the real world. I answered that most people here would probably be shocked by how professional I am in real life. The first thing everyone always says about me is that I'm smart. "Scary" smart to some people. "Funny" usually follows that. I get "pretty" a lot but I don't acknowledge that.
And when I hear people describe me in positive terms, I disregard them. I have never been able to accept these terms without thinking "If they really knew me....."
If it seems contradictory when I state that I am a very logical person yet unable to view myself positively, it is. I do not like myself; I try to love myself and usually fail. I know I am intelligent and witty and attractive, but none of those things register as a positive. It's just a nice little mask my demons gave me to constantly change the subject.
I know that it's hard for people to understand depression if they've never experienced it. I even understand why some people think that suicide is cowardly or selfish. I don't agree with it, but I understand it. It's often impossible to explain this existence to people. I have yet to be able to do that successfully.
I speak of "my demons" because there is no other way for me to describe my affliction. The way people view me in mostly positive terms is completely at odds with how I view myself- and I know that how I view myself is illogical. But I can't change it.
No matter how hot I look, no matter how smart I appear, no matter how many times I blow someone's mind with a song or story, I know that internally I am frail and ugly. The demons always tell me that I am and, what's worse, if I try to argue with them they replay so many examples of how awful I am. Hence the constant regret. I can't name the last positive thing I did but I can rehearse every fuck up in excruciating detail. I know that I've done positive things because I have parents, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, friends and coworkers who adore me. But I don't know why they do.
My demons make me think this is some sort of fluke, a joke the universe is playing on me, a ruse to keep me alive so that the torture continues. My brain acknowledges love. My soul believes I am unlovable.
And the ultimate irony is that although I've attempted suicide many times in the past, the very act of living is something that I feel I must do in order to pay penance for the awful person that I am. I know it doesn't make sense, but the sweet relief of death, of no longer being tortured by my own fucking thoughts, is something that I don't believe I deserve. I will let this world keep its claws grasped around my neck for as long as I have to because I deserve nothing better. I don't deserve a break.
None of this is rational. This is a nightmare that I will never awake from.
And this is my life.
Depression is an enigma. This is my depression- it will be drastically different than what others experience. And since all of our demons are so tragically particular, we all explain it differently.
In the end, those that don't experience it will never truly understand it. Those of us who live it will never truly be honest about it.
The only thing anyone has to know is that it's real, and it's a reality for far too many of us. So stand with me today.
Stand with Dennise:
The few years following our wedding turned out to be challenging ones. Dennise found herself in the midst of a serious depression. I won't go into any details here. But she was in a place where I felt like I couldn’t reach her. I didn’t know what to do. I tried jokes. I tried logic. I tried affection. Eventually, I realized it didn’t matter what I tried. This was depression.Stand withMrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel:
Thank you for a lovely post. As a lifelong depressive, Robin Williams' suicide has left me good and shook.Stand with 4CasandChlo:
A disease which takes a person from the worst depths of depression, anxiety and self-hatred and suddenly bless them with a natural high with a love of life, a yearning to be out "doing things" and often at least somewhat productive and helpful, ask that person to now take medication to get them out of that state? My God, how cruel can it be?Stand with ArchTeryx:
I've fought suicidal depression much of my life.Stand with everyone who commented in this lovely diary, and everyone you know who just can't seem to "snap out of it."
The demons are never very far away, especially during times as hard as I'm going through right now...savings nearly exhausted, no job, SNAP and Medicaid. Hell of a place for a STEM Ph.D. to be in, and it feels the sense of worthlessness and failure.
What got me through it in the past was my friends. They stood up all night with me, the computer on one side and a vial of poison on the other, and they convinced me to stay.
Stand with science as it struggles to understand this chemical imbalance. Stand with your favorite author who sits at a typewriter and bleeds.
Stand with your favorite comedian who soon learned that being funny builds a perfect, impenetrable wall.
Stand with me because the world is cruel, and I don't often know how to be kind.