Wash, rinse and repeat
Wake up, go to school, come home and go to sleep. Don’t smile, don’t laugh and don’t show emotion. Don’t let them know you care. Ignore the insults, ignore the voices and try to pretend everything is fine.
Wash, rinse and repeat.
For four years this was the cycle I operated in. Yes, there were good times; I’d say my life probably wasn’t much worse than most peoples’. The problem was that I was sick with depression. I thought my life was worthless and pointless and all the rest. I’d walk through crowds of people with my head down trying my best not to meet anyone’s gaze; I was sure they were all laughing at me. How could they not be? I had this voice in my head telling me over and over that I did not fit in, did not belong here.
I remember one time when I was about 16. I was walking along the street actually feeling pretty good. I was smiling at people and they were smiling back. I was laughing and they would laugh with me. Then, something just clicked. Nothing spectacular happened, one moment I was fine and the next I wasn’t. Their laughter was at me, not with me. They were smiling out of pity. I remember I rushed home as quickly as I could and when I got in the elevator to my apartment I just broke down. The tears came and they would not stop.
When I got in my apartment I remember thinking that this was it; it was time to end it. Crazy thoughts ran through my head of how I could end my life. Impulsively and in pain, my irrational thoughts led me down a path that I never thought I’d go. I had made my decision and now, almost in a surreal out-of-body sense, I was acting on those thoughts. Suddenly, it became real and then I realized I had to stop what I was doing. “I didn’t really want to do this” I thought. Finally, thankfully, my rational mind was coming through the depressive thoughts and with tears still trickling down my face I stopped myself before it was too late.
Then I just sat there. I leaned against the cupboard exhausted. Too weary to cry any more, too tired to even stand on my own. I stumbled to my bed to rest. I didn’t sleep, I laid there thinking. I did not want to die. I could see that. I could see it was my depression that spawned those thoughts. Rationally I knew they were ridiculous.
That was the closest I came to ending it all. I knew then that I needed help.
I went back to my psychologist a few days after that and told her what had happened. We talked about ways I could really commit to beating this thing. With a combination of medication and cognitive therapy (changing my thought processes) I learned techniques to quell the irrational thoughts my depression was bringing up. I learned to really focus on my thoughts and assess them for what they were. When I thought everyone was laughing at me I made myself stop and really consider it. Why would they? I learned how to counter negative thoughts with positive thoughts that were actually based in reality.
Know to deal with it
It took a while but I did get better. I still do get depressed sometimes and occasionally thoughts of harming myself come back. The thing is, I know how to deal with it now and I know the difference between depressive thoughts and ones that are actually based in reality. It seemed hopeless at the time, but I’m really glad I didn’t give up.