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Despair Event Horizon

April 12, 2013
We are all of us failures—at least, the best of us are.
—James Barrie

I’ve kind of debated whether I want to touch this topic because it really borders on the ‘sharing too much’ line of blaghing for me, but I think I’ll give it a go because I hope to never repeat the same mistakes. And maybe if there’s someone out there going through something similar maybe this will help. I doubt it, but I doubt most things and end up proven wrong time and again.

 

The first hints that there was something wrong was when my father kept having these blood pressure spikes and no one knew what was causing them, but sure enough they kept happening. I think that’s when I had my first brush with the fact that yeah, he might possibly die while I’m trying to help and that scared the hell out of me.

After that I kept having these dark thoughts about the world ending and where everyone would be when it happened and how I’d react. Then the thoughts just kept coming after we moved and I just couldn’t get them out of my head. I gorged on food the whole time we moved and afterward. And then I became a hermit: I did not go out that much and I didn’t want to. But I also kept having pains that made me worry I might be dying. Pains in the arm, pains in the groin (likely from sitting too much) and just…not feeling good at all. That semester I decided to take 5 classes because why the hell not? I managed to completely bomb my Business Design class which was okay with me because I was able to replace that grade with another (hooray) but that time of year I just…sank.

The thing is it wasn’t so sudden and I didn’t pay attention to myself as well as I should have. My life was in the shitter and despite how much I tried to hide it I just kept failing. And crying. Failing and crying, that’s what happened. I remember crying pretty much every day for nearly a year because of how I felt about myself. I ached. I felt horrible. I didn’t want anyone to see me like this and fortunately not many did. Then the panic attacks came back and I just kept sinking further into the muck–to despair. I was reaching a tipping point, I felt, because I couldn’t find a way out. I had a respite that spring of 08, but it wasn’t much of one and I didn’t get my diploma as a result of it.

Then came the suicidal thoughts because why not? If you’re going to pile onto yourself you might as well include some sort of death. So for about a year I was stumbling and I didn’t seek help because I couldn’t muster the courage to accept it. I couldn’t bring myself to admit I had this really terrible problem that I couldn’t escape. I kept thinking, “This will end,” and it never did, but depression is stubborn that way, I think. You try to convince yourself that your problems aren’t really problems, but just a temporary thing when obviously it’s an issue. So, while I had these thoughts about ending it all and what a burden I am to everyone in my life I never tried to end things. But I think if it continued that my own fear about death would disappear and that I really would just end it–thankfully I had a few moments of clarity where I made an appointment for a therapist.

I cut off contact with the world and I remember quite vividly how my depression turned to anger. Anger that I felt this way. Anger at what a fucking waste of time this life was. And most of all: anger for people who didn’t feel this way. I came to resent them highly because to me, in my mind, why was it so easy for them? What the hell made them so special that they could just not be depressed and here I was stuck feeling like hell. This was my prison and to an extent I’m still in my prison only not really depressed, but still not quite how I was. The depression left a lot of scars that are really just now starting to heal over again.

Fortunately I made that appointment with the shrink and managed to gradually climb out of it. The process was a long one and I’m still not who I used to be and I don’t think I ever will be. How do you come back from that and remain completely unchanged? I don’t think that’s possible. So I’m working with the reality my depression left me: anxiety and panic attacks and various bouts of feeling like utter crap. I guess the happy ending to this tale is that I’m still here and I’m starting to thrive again. I think all it took was those moments where I realized what I was doing wasn’t who I am…that…I could change things.

I realize now that my own shames have kind of held me back all my life and that that is why I act the way I do sometimes and that shame and depression really are the swamps of the mind–eventually you will get sucked into the muck and never escape. I know sometimes I grovel (metaphorically) to people because I worry that they’re 5 seconds from hating who I am. And I realize that that gets annoying and I’m trying to change that. I also realize that I need to be more social and have found I like being social, it helps to keep me sane. I know these things about myself that at the time I didn’t see and was blinded to.

I’m also not going to tack on the usual, “If you need help then don’t hesitate to seek it,” not because I don’t believe in the message, but because that kind of shit is condescending. And of course the people going through depression, on some level, realize this. The best I advice I can give, though, is to have people around you that care about you. I was lucky enough to have family and friends who understood what was happening–even if I tried to hide myself from the world as a result. I’m extremely lucky that the friends I do have stood by me. Sooo…yeah, moral of the story, folks: have people that care, they’ll help you until you’re ready to confront whatever you’re going through. And if you’re never ready then in that case I highly recommend going anyway. You’ll be surprised what an unbiased, caring person can do for you. Or at least that’s my perception of it.

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