Depression, suicide and self-harm.

Depression is something I’ve dealt with for many years. It’s something I don’t believe I’ll even truly beat. It seems it will forever be present in my life, and may always be an obstacle for me to have to try overcome. This is a burden I’ve come to accept, though accepting it does not make coping any easier in my experience.

I do my best to hide the truth of how I am and it’s clear, from a statement someone I consider a friend recently made, that I do a reasonably good job of it. I honestly try not to burden anyone with how I am, though I do fail at that quite often. I write a lot about my depression, most of which I keep to myself or destroy almost immediately after finishing. Mostly when I do share my thoughts, be it in a blog like this or as a series of tweets, it’s done in an attempt to give others an insight into what it’s like to suffer with depression and hopefully help them deal with it better should they or someone they care for ever find themselves in such a situation.

As with most illnesses, when suffering with depression you can have good days and bad days. I’ve had days where I’ve been truly happy and I’ve had days where I’ve been in a state of utter despair. I’ve had days in which I’ve been truly glad I’m alive, and I’ve had days where I’ve regretted not dying in my sleep. Sadly, for me, the bad days seem to far outnumber the good days.

Death is something that has never really scared me in the way it seems to scare some. In fact I don’t think I can remember a single point in my life where I’ve actually been afraid of death. Some people will be familiar with my feelings on death already but many are not. I’ve found my stance on death, especially that of my own, often makes people somewhat uncomfortable. I don’t fear my death, in fact I’m completely indifferent toward it. The prospect of dying, be it in 50 years or in 5 minutes, doesn’t worry me or make me even remotely sad. I’ve said it before,”dying doesn’t worry me, what worries me is the fact that you could tell me I’ll die tomorrow and I won’t be sad”. I can’t say for certain that this indifference towards my own death is related to my depression, though it seems like a safe conclusion to make.

As well as being indifferent toward my own death, I have been suicidal. In fact, if I’m truly honest, I still am to some degree. I’ve been extremely suicidal in the past, to the point of making an attempt on my own life. And I’ve had suicidal thoughts as recently as the past few weeks. Thus far I’ve been able to control those thoughts and not attempt suicide, and I don’t believe I will make an attempt.

Whilst coping with depression and suicidal thoughts I’ve become both emotionally and physically numb at times, these periods of numbness have lasted anything from a few hours to a couple of weeks and even months. This numbness had led me to self-harm, both in the past and recently. My self-harm has never been done for attention, despite what some people like to claim. My scars are not visible under normal circumstances, and even when swimming most of my scars are still not visible. No, self-harm for me has never been for attention, it’s simply a coping mechanism. A way to prove to myself that I can still feel something outside of pure numbness or crippling despair.

In my case self-harm has taken many forms. From intentionally placing myself in dangerous situations, to deliberately scalding and burning myself. The most common form of self-harm for me has been to take knife and razor blades and cut myself, quite deeply more often than not. The pain experienced has often been the only thing that let’s me know they’re is more in my life than numbness or despair, if only for a moment. It may be difficult for someone who has never experienced sever depression, and especially self-harm, to understand but for me the pain experienced when I’ve self-harmed is actually an oddly comforting pain.

In the many years I’ve suffered with depression I’ve experienced a lot of feelings I can’t really described, I’ve considered and attempted suicide, I’ve self-harmed quite severely and I’ve had my emotions cause me to completely crumble. I do my best to stay positive but sadly I fear that someday I may lose the battle with myself again and make another attempt on my own life. I’m not at that point currently, but I’ve been there before.

I’ve not written this looking for attention or for sympathy. I’ve written it in an attempt to give anyone who reads this some kind of insight into what depression is like and what someone suffering with depression may experience. I truly hope, that should you ever find that someone you love suffers with depression, this gives you some kind of insight into what they’re going through and hopefully it can help you figure out the best way to support them.

I would like to make it clear that I am open to talking about anything I’ve written here and, if I can, I’m willing to answer any questions that anyone may have.

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Depression is real, you’re not being selfish!

Having recently read this blog post, in which the author states that depression is not real and that people are not depressed but rather they are just being selfish, I felt I had to respond.

As a person who suffers with quite sever depression I can state, in no uncertain terms, that the author of the above post is completely wrong. With the exception of stating that doctors see depression as chemical imbalances in the brain which cause negative thoughts, which he immediately states is not true, almost nothing in the post is even remotely true.

Depression is not easily explained, it is more than just a “state of sadness”. It is a place of complete despair, a place completely devoid of happiness. And while yes when a person is depressed they may state reasons such as feeling their life/career is going nowhere, or that they lack friends, this does not invalidate how they feel. Nor does it mean that depression is not a real illness. To suggest so is not only unfair to sufferers, but is deeply offensive!

The author of the above post also claims “doctors will prescribe you medication to correct the chemical imbalances, thinking it will therefore correct your thoughts”, what he fails to mention is that along with any medication a doctor may prescribe they also recommend therapy. Never have I heard of a doctor prescribing medication alone, it’s definitely not what my doctor did.

About the only thing stated in the above post that I agree with is that you should try appreciate the small moments in life.

Opinions like the those expressed in the original post help contribute to the stigma surrounding mental illness that is present in our society already. When you tell someone that their depression is not real and they are simply being selfish by being ill, you are reinforcing the myth that depression is something that we should be ashamed of. Opinions like this will cause people to withdraw into themselves further and will stop them seeking help for fear of being ridiculed or mocked. Depression is a serious illness, people need help and support when they suffer with depression, they do not need to be told they are being selfish.

If anyone reading this feels depressed, or is considering self-harm and possibly suicide, please know you are not alone. Many people suffer with depression, it is nothing to be ashamed of. Please contact your doctor or local self-harm and suicide prevention hotline.

Death.

I fear not death,
I never have,
It scares me not to leave this life,
I’ve considered it many times,
I’ve tried and failed,
I may try again,
I make no promises either way,
I may succeed or fail once more,
On my desires I am tore.

Time.

Time? Such a strange entity,
An hour of happiness seems lost in a moment,
A moment of grief lasts an eternity.
The greatest moments of life fade so quickly,
And the worst of them freeze in place,
Often our perception is like a broken clock