“You'll never know what's happening inside the heads of other people.”
― ETGAR KERET
The Bus Driver Who Wanted to be God & Other Stories
INNER CITY STORIES
“I’m that friend that has to walk behind the group when the path isn't big enough. I’m that friend that gets cut off in conversation. I’m that friend that gets left behind when I asked them to wait for me. I’m that friend that doesn't get invited to hang out a lot. I’m that friend that if I want to go to the mall or someplace with a friend, I have to be the one to invite people to make sure I get included. I’ll always be that friend”.
I'm not exactly sure how to start this, but I would like to go into it with an open-mind; yet let it be clearly stated from the outset that depression has no rules, boundaries, or exact definition. It’s different for everyone, and everyone who lives with it, will grasp the concept that it's your own unique emptiness. It should also be understood that this is no cry for help or a pity paper, just my thoughts. Furthermore, I don't care at all if you're a psychiatrist, the smartest person on this planet, or have studied people with depression, you will never know what it's like until you’ve experienced it yourself. My depression began as an emotional pain that wouldn't go away, and the sadness that hit me when my father went to jail. Him being my best friend and all, it felt like a part of me was ripped away. Not that I'm necessarily a control freak, but I felt like I lost hold of the handles. All I did was cry and sleep, and intentionally trigger it by listening to depressing music. I no longer had a genuine smile on my face, and my heart felt heavy every second, even when I thought I was “happy”. Now, looking back in hindsight, I realize I was not happy; those were just moments, temporary ones. To me, happiness is long-term and means you’re content no matter what. I’ve yet to experience that emotion. Since I got that phone call four years ago, I've been trapped in my own lonesome.
For the longest time, I would rely on others to make me happy; I even “faked it till I made it”. It’s ironically funny how I thought I was really suffering from depression back then, because it only gets worse. I don't think it actually ever goes away; medications are pointless, and let's be real, the people you pay to listen, don't really give a shit either. It’s their job. My therapist didn't really do much, although it was nice to let it all out; my thoughts were way too dark for her to comprehend. Sometimes she just stared at me with nothing to say, but was I surprised? Absolutely not. It was actually entertaining to some extent, because she made me feel like I was crazy or losing my mind. I read an excerpt once about this man Larry Brown who was depressed. After a year of therapy his psychiatrist said to him, “Maybe life isn't for everyone”. The thought that some people just aren't meant to get better came to mind. If that doesn't say something to you, not sure what will. The depression went away for a while, and at the start of sophomore year I actually believed the torment was gone for good. Little did I know, January of 2016 it returned, but because of school this time. It hit me like a bullet, because I was in denial for so long and had claimed it was just a phase, even though I was getting “warning signs” months before. I was stressed out over school work, grades, college prospects, etc. In reality it's not just a “phase”; it's a monster that never goes away. It always comes back, and this time it was deeper than before. These monsters don't sleep under your bed either, they sleep in your head. You can't drown them either, because they know how to swim.
Again, I lost control of the handles, and this time I really did want to end it. First attempt: I held a knife on point and slowly twirled it on my skin, right above my heart. I was too sensitive and broke down, and lay there crying on the floor. It really is disturbing how I wanted to take my own life, but at the time I thought it was my out. Feeling no improvement, I started to feel weak, and distant from everything. I no longer cared. Second attempt: I was home alone and it hit me again; I was so mentally exhausted from being attacked by something I couldn't see. I went into my bath with the intention of staying under until I could no longer breathe. I tried so hard, but eventually I came to the realization of what I was doing. I became scared of my own self. This time I didn't cry, not until later on at least. I told my guidance counselor and she called some lady to talk to me. Once again, she did nothing but aggravate me and leave me stuck with what I came in with.
There hasn't been a third attempt, not yet at least. Once you know pain and have been broken down into so many pieces, nothing surprises you anymore. This becomes your normal -- depression. It's gotten to the point where even if I wanted to kill myself, I couldn't, and if I did, it wouldn't solve anything because nothing is more painful than this. I've come to the conclusion that there is no end, and frankly, you just get used to it. My depression comes in waves; some days I’ll be okay, and others I’ll have multiple anxiety attacks and breakdowns in a short amount of time. It is what it is though. When I reach my low points, I’ll let my mom know and she’ll do all she can to comfort me, and bombard me with, “Are you sure you’re okay?” questions, basically meaning, will I kill myself? I feel like I'm spending all my time and energy trying to be okay, so she won't worry. I also think she thinks it's her fault, or that somewhere along the line she caused this. None of this is her fault; it’s nobody's, in all honesty, except maybe mine. It is consuming though when you are the one apologizing, when you're collapsed on the floor. Really how ironic it is, that you're the one who is hurt and yet trying to cover it up so others won't hurt because you're hurting. And what is “okay” or “fine” anyway? Because honestly, I'm not even a little bit of that. None of it is fair. To avoid everyone being concerned, which overwhelms me, I just fake a smile and pretend that everything is okay.
It’s actually funny, nobody really believes me when I say I’ve been depressed for almost half a decade, but I am. I'm just a very convincing actress, I suppose. That is where the problem is rooted: just because a person goes around smiling and laughing, that means they're “happy”. What am I supposed to do? Cry and mope around the halls 24/7? No, because if I do I'm craving attention, and if I try to hide it, that means I don't want any help. It's a never ending battle that you just cannot win. Take it from someone who has had lots of experience. Again, funny how things play out. It’s gotten to the point where I'm numb and don't even know why I’m unhappy. I’ve become a pessimist; I've currently lost all hope for a happy ending. Everyone is a disappointment and I am constantly being let down. I “suffer” from your typical “symptoms,” like anxiety, indecisiveness, over-analyzing every damn thing, hopelessness, irritability, insecurities, feeling drained, self-consciousness, etc. I mean you name it, and I'm probably that. I worry about every single thing, and over think everything because I'm scared all the time. I feel ugly and that I'm not worth it, that I'm a bother to everyone. Most of the time, I feel like if I met myself, I’d hate me too. There is just no point in telling anyone, because I feel like a burden . . . even if you say I’m not. At one point I felt like if I died, nobody would notice.
I feel like I can't do anything right, and that I'm not as smart or intellectual as I should be. As a matter of fact, I’m constantly on edge, and come off as defensive or harsh, but it's never intentional. I'm not mean, it's just who I am now and know no other way to express it. At the exact same time, I am very sensitive too. It’s funny because I recently got removed from one of my classes because I was told “I don't reach the standards;” for someone suffering with depression a comment like that is definitely a trigger. Feeling worthless, and then being compared negatively to others really doesn't increase your self-esteem, but who am I? It's crazy how I’ve become comfortable with disliking and criticizing myself. I don't give myself enough credit. Simply because of little things like that comment by a teacher, which reminds me to give up and quit. Yes, it may seem tedious walking on eggshells around people like me, but try to think before you speak and be even a little bit considerate. Just not to the extent where you need to censor things, like I have a disease or am delicate or as if there is something wrong with me. You never know what someone is going through. Don’t assume either.
I barely have any hope left; I’ve been “sad” for years, so don't tell me it gets better. At least not now it won’t. Why? I don't know, truthfully. See? There goes the indecisiveness . . . because I never know. I tend to just accept things as they are; I’ve been at my lowest, and don't think it can get any lower than that . . . I think. When my “I think things are getting better and I may be happy” moments are over, and I go into a “funk”, I just pretend like nothing ever happened and distance myself from everyone again. I don't talk to anyone, or make jokes, I barely interact with people in general. Most of the time I don't feel needed, I'm just here. Nobody ever understands me it seems like, and in truth I just can no longer explain. It’s draining to try and put your feelings into words, for nothing but a, “I don't get what you mean”. It feels pointless; living no longer has a purpose. Do you really know what it feels like to be in a crowd full of people, but still feel alone and empty? I'd rather just be alone; I've become obsessed with being alone, but that's different than being lonely. Trying no longer does anything; you just feel like you're trapped inside, screaming and not one soul can hear you. It’s exhausting trying to fight something that goes absolutely nowhere, and because of that nothing really scares me anymore. If there is one thing I do know for a fact, it’s that you can be breathing and alive, but not living.
If there is one thing I have learned from all this it’s that it challenges you and breaks you, and in the end hopefully you only come out stronger. I mean, I'm still here, right?