Be someone's light, in the darkness of depression
I am in the process of writing a memoir that takes me from college dropout, to where I am today. Some family members are helping by reading parts of it and giving feedback. What is the most common feedback I get?
‘Wow. I had no idea’.
Of course, you didn’t. The almost suicide attempts happened in darkness. The self-harming happened in darkness.
Depression is a dark desolate journey. It robs you of all logic and drowns you in darkness.
I never wanted to end my life to hurt anyone. I wanted to do it to end my pain, and to stop being a burden on those I loved.
I had my back pushed up against a wall, darkness looming in on me, and no escape. I had nights of pain and days of emptiness.
Tomorrow wasn’t in my vocabulary because it meant nothing to me. What was tomorrow, another day of pain, another day of drifting through time with no desire to be there? I didn’t want tomorrow.
Depression is an illness. It can take anybody.
I have lost to it twice. I will live the rest of my life both with pride of overcoming it, but also fear of a relapse. I think I will always be more susceptible to getting it again. I can sometimes feel it waiting for me, waiting for me to let my guard down so it can play on my weaknesses.
People don’t die of suicide. They die of depression or whatever it was that made them feel backed into a corner with no way out. Suicide is not the cause. Twice in my life I have seriously considered suicide and gone to act on it. More often than not people are saved from suicide by the smallest of gestures or thoughts. The second time, I didn’t go through with it because Jenson’s (my little brother’s) rabbit had just died and I didn’t want to put him through it so close together. Of course, by the time that had passed, I had become more stable.
People fighting depression don’t need grand gestures. They just need to know they are not alone. A text, a smile, a favourite meal, an invite, can save a life.
I wouldn’t be here today without the incredible people in my life keeping that candle burning for me. They were my hope, when I had lost mine, they were my light when I was lost to the darkness. They picked me up when I fell and gave me a reason to fight.
People suffering with depression will be the hardest to stand by. They are likely to push you away, drive you mad and get angry towards you. But I promise you they need you more than ever.
Yes, those struggling need to find the bravery to reach out, but their loved ones need to make sure they are providing a safe environment for them to do so.
Reach out to those you care about. Touch base on their mental health. Life is tough.
Be someone’s light in the dark.