I was listening to people talk about the recent news of a man who decided to take his own life.
“But how,” they asked.
“How could someone like him do something like that?”
I never met the man in question. I can only tell of my personal experience. I can tell you what happened in my case with hopes that by exposing my truth, this explanation might possibly be enough to raise awareness and educate those who are affected. Also, in my effort to explain, I am hoping that this might reach a special someone, and they will know someone else felt exactly as they do.
So, here it goes. This is my truth and I offer it up to you with hopes that it may draw some understanding—
No matter how involved you are, you always feel distant. You’re afraid to invite yourself in social circles but you’re also afraid that you’ll never understand the compliment of being included.
You listen when people talk to you about your life. And at your wit’s end, you hear the suggestions people give; meanwhile, you wonder if anyone in the world has any idea what they’re talking about. You wonder if they actually knew what you’re up against — and you can tell that no one does, because if they did — then they wouldn’t say the things they say.
Beaten and broken, you listen with hopeful ears and a doubtful heart—and you follow the steps given to as a suggestion of help.
You do as people say, and although halfheartedly, you give what you can but you don’t feel as if you have much. Next, after you give it a shot, you find yourself asking the painful question of, “Now what?”
In the depths of depression, after you’ve tried to improve, after a momentary happiness, or after brief intermissions between chaos and sadness, and after the temporary distractions dissipate into emptiness, the usual returns, and the worst question to have is, “Now what?”
“What do I do now?”
You can tell no one understands this — and no one ever does, at least, not really.
You can tell because they say things like, “Just do it this way,” or “Just don’t do that anymore,” and the word “Just” stands out in your mind in bold, block letters, and this results in the lonesome, deep-down feeling of how they “Just” don’t understand. Isolated from the world, the inner whispers begin to make sense and become the only comfortable company you choose to keep.
I will use the term “They,” several times in this explanation because “They” means a lot in cases like mine. And it may seem vague in a sense, the word, “They” I mean. But it isn’t vague. Not at all.
In cases like mine, the word “They” means absolutely everyone else in the world. Also, the word “They” in this explanation will be used to describe those who begin their suggestions with the word, “Just.”
“They” say the word “Just” as if it were actually that simple. And I confirm this explanation to those who in their mind, deep down, believe that, “Yes, is that simple.” but it’s not. Depression is not a choice — it’s an imbalance
And that first word in the sentence—that word “Just”, it painfully stands out in your mind, as if to suggest the way you feel is something you can control.
“Just look around you,” is something I was told.
It was suggested to me, “Just look at the life you have,” and I could tell “They” didn’t understand when they told me this.
They “Just” don’t understand that assets mean nothing in cases like mine. I could have everything; I could have all the money in the world and all the toys it could buy, and still, I would feel as if I had nothing. Even in wealthier times, I walked passed homeless people and I swore they had more than I did.
Talent and money, looks or fame, and all the desired qualities mean nothing when you stand on the other side of a door, you step out into a world that seems so distant and foreign; you feel miles away from people who stand right next to you, the empty pit in your soul feels bottomless and the effort you give seems pointless — you feel severed away, like limb of yours had been cut off. You feel unfit with a misshapen view that distorts the way you see yourself.
You feel as if you were emotionally color blind and the world has lost its vibrancy. You feel that deprived angst, detached, and no matter how hard you try, no matter who you talk to, no matter how far you reach; everything you try to grasp is always a bit out of reach.
And there’s that word in your mind.
The word “JUST”
“Just do this,” or “Just do that.”
That word —
It just won’t go away.
Same as there are different depths of the ocean; there are different depths of lonesomeness. There are different degrees of depression and the depth in my case related to the roots of my depression, which were deep, and like a weed — these roots of my depression suffocated the possibilities of me living a happy life.
I thought about the suggestions I was given.
I thought about the things people said to me.
“Just let it go,” they would tell me.
“All that anger you have is going to kill you one day.”
I knew they didn’t understand . . .
Telling me to let go of my anger was the same as telling me, “Just don’t be afraid.”
or “Just don’t feel depressed.” This made no sense to me.
To me, saying, “Just don’t feel depressed” is the same as telling someone with a stomach virus, “Just don’t throw up.”
How could I “Just” do something when that something was “Just” so absolutely foreign to me?
They “Just” don’t understand, I thought
In my explanation, using the word “They” is a deletion in thought. There is no accuracy to this word or explanation. It is general and widespread, pointing at literally everybody because nobody understands. This defined my feeling of isolation. By using the term “They” it described how alone I felt.
Of any subject I write about; this one is very personal to me. It is raw to the touch, which is why I expose myself to take away the sting. I exposed this yesterday in conversation with a client because I needed my client to know the word “They” does not have to mean what it does.
“But it does mean everything,” is how I would have responded if someone told me this.
My client was quiet as I delivered this explanation.
The word “They” meant everything.
I wished it didn’t.
I wished I could have explained myself then.
I wished I knew the words to explain myself.
I wished I could have told you.
But more, I wished I was brave enough to tell you.
When I say “They” is used as a deletion or distortion of thought, in my case, I said “They” because this was my interpretation. It wasn’t accurate by any means. This was my perception of how I saw the world. Everyone was against me — everyone and everything.
This reflected my fears, thoughts, and an ongoing list of insecurities. Using the word “They’ was nothing more than a generalized view, explaining what I saw when looking at my reflection in a mental mirror.
It wasn’t “They” it was “Me.”
My view of me and my own reflection was terribly distorted. I could not see clearly; nothing seemed vivid and I felt cheated. I felt robbed of any advantage, and I submitted to this: If what goes around comes around in this life; then I supposed this is where I was supposed to be—at the bottom of this cycle, either alone or in unwanted company, or with the only company that would have me.
In cases of dreams, I have had several nightmares that woke me up and made it difficult to fall back to sleep. I’ve had dreams in which I was trying to speak out, but I could not. I wanted to scream out, but I couldn’t — and no matter how I tried or struggled to scream at the top of my lungs — it felt as if I were under water, drowning, and trying to yell with all that I had.
As far as I was concerned, I wanted to scream out. I wanted to break something because if I did, maybe then, someone would notice. I wanted to shatter this feeling and I wanted to break free but I couldn’t. No matter how I tried to get away from this; I just could never get away from me. I couldn’t stop the world from turning. I couldn’t stop the feelings. And obviously, I couldn’t follow the suggestions that began with words like, “Why don’t you ‘Just’ do it this way?”
I could tell that no one understood me.
I could tell because they would say things that proved they didn’t understand.
Who is “They?” you ask
“They” is everybody.
“They” is a representation of how I felt. And again, the mental mirror I saw myself in was a distorted view. I saw myself as ugly. I saw myself as imperfect and unfitting.
The problem is it wasn’t “They”
It was me.
And I knew it
My attempt to end my life was done to stop the momentum of a thought process that had spun out of control. It’s not that I wanted to die so much as I wanted everything to stop for a minute — but nothing ever does.
I needed to stop the world around me, but desperate, and with no way to defend myself from the mental tailspin, with no strategies in place, and with no faith in my ability to endure or improve or to someday be well—I saw no other way out.
Suddenly, the unthinkable act of a final desperation became understandable. It made sense. This is what depression does.
It was suggested to me that I “Look on the bright side of things.”
I was told “look at all the things you have.”
I was told “Just look around,” as if it were obvious.
But that’s the problem with depression — the obvious things people see was unapparent and not obvious to me.
A famous musician killed himself the other day. And the world mourns him. Meanwhile, there someone out there in the real world that feels the same way and no one even notices.
So what did I do to overcome this?
I built a strategy on a daily basis.
Once I decided to take power away from words like “They” or stop using phrases like “Just,” and once I decided to focus instead of allow myself to be distracted, I began to see a different reflection in my mental mirror. Instead of focusing on left or right; I decided to look straight ahead and focus on the “Me” I had in mind
This was not easy. I needed to literally scale away the layers of an old thought process, one layer at a time. I admit, there were times when I thought this was pointless. There were times when I struggled to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There were days when getting out of bed was harder than running a marathon. I had no drive or desire. However, I knew deep down the only way to counteract these feelings was to counteract the behavior. This is how I replaced thought with action. And when thought replaced action, I benefited with the feeling of accomplishment. Each day, I did something to replenish the emptiness. And if I’m being honest — I still do it
This was the reason “Why” I did what I did
And this was the strategy I used to overcome it.