TRIGGER WARNING – This article or section, or pages it links to, contains graphic language and information about depression and suicide which may be upsetting to some people.
There is one death by suicide from depression every 12.3 minutes in America.
In other words, depression kills more than 117 people every day.
It almost killed me.
You may have heard my story about me reaching my breaking point many years ago where I thought suicide was the only answer.
What you may not know is that I still battle this disease. Every. Single. Day.
Some days are better than others.
Some are great.
And some feel like someone turned off the light and all that’s left is the cold, ugly dark.
I’m afraid of the dark.
Not the dark that happens once the sun sets each day.
The darkness that lives inside of me. That threatens to take over. That consumes every breath and makes me feel as though I’m suffocating.
The darkness that constricts my heart so tightly that I wonder if it will just stop beating.
The darkness terrifies me.
And even though I am terrified, I refuse to let anyone help me.
In fact, not only do I refuse help, I lash out at those around me who try – saying and doing things that my true Self would never say or do in a million years – just so I can push them away.
I can’t stand the thought of being misunderstood or rejected by them. I can’t handle the pain of them giving up on me during those dark moments.
So, I turn away from everyone and turn back to me. I go inside of me. Inside of my heart.
I wrestle with the dark. I punch. I kick. I scream and cry. And for the longest time, the darkness wins.
And then, there’s something. A glimmer of hope. A ray of light. A touch.
A loved one that says, “I don’t fucking care what you say or do… I love you and I will not leave you. I’m not going anywhere.”
And it’s that one sliver of light in the midst of toxic darkness that helps me fight back.
That gives me a reason to continue my Earth journey.
That helps me live to fight that darkness another day.
Depression and suicide could not be more misunderstood.
No one brags that they beat suicide like they do when they beat cancer.
No one goes in to have their depression removed and fully heals in a few weeks.
Fifty percent of all Americans suffer from major depression and never seek help for it.
And those are just the people we know about.
In fact, no one talks about it at all.
And that’s the problem.
Because when you are on the floor with the darkness caving in, swallowing your body, mind, and heart, you feel as if you are the only one in the world who feels this way.
You feel so alone.
And that only makes it harder.
“Why not go ahead and kill myself? No one understands what I go through anyway”, I say.
I think no one could possibly understand what it’s like to have your mind try to murder you. Over. And over. And over again.
But I have a feeling that I am not alone.
That it’s not just me that has to struggle, fight, kicking and screaming sometimes, for just one more day on this planet.
I also know the shame that comes with admitting this. I know what it’s like to suffer in silence. To put on a smile so no one sees your pain.
And once you do come out of it, once you survive and beat the darkness again, your ordeal still isn’t over.
You then have to turn around and see the destruction you left in your path. The loved ones you hurt when you were just trying to survive.
But try telling someone that you were “just trying to survive” after you’ve broken their heart because the darkness pushed you to the limit and it was either you or them.
I’m tired of feeling shame around this monster called depression.
I’m tired of seeing the darkness win and loved ones around me take their own life.
I’m tired of not speaking up. Speaking out.
I hope you are too.
People like me need to hear your voice.
I need to know I’m not in this alone.
I need to know that it’s possible to survive and not feel shame because of something I can’t always control.
And if you’re not ok speaking up right now, maybe those people who are will inspire you.
Until then, keep fighting the good fight. Know you’re not alone. And no matter what, if you have fought the dark demon and you’re reading this, you’ve won.
Here’s to winning.
This is not a “how to” blog post. I don’t have this figured out. However, I will share some things that have helped and continue to help me in the coming weeks and months. I hope you do the same.
For now, just starting the conversation is enough. In fact, it’s everything. Will you join me?
And if you know someone that this blog post could help? Will you share it with them? So we can all have a voice? So we don’t have to feel alone anymore?
Talk to me in the comments below.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255
Dedicated to Davyd Whaley, my dearest friend for whom the darkness was just too dark.
And to my beloved Zak, the one suffering in the darkness with me, refusing to leave, helping me to find the light.