Posted in depression, health, suicide, wellness

That dark place

Warning: This post is about mental illness and about suicide.

I started writing this just before we traveled to Texas to join in a family Christmas celebration – my husband’s family, not mine.

I was off WordPress for a year, in what I call a “dark place.” I suffer bouts of depression, like everyone else, I guess, and then there are the really rough times, the dark days or months – once even a dark year. I’ve been diagnosed with clinical depression. I’m on meds and have seen therapists for years. No one seems to know what makes some times worse than others. The past year has been one of those dark places.

Oddly, I can go on with my life during most of the really difficult times, or a least a version of it. I do a good job at work, greet neighbors, run errands, smile, and then come home, close the door and give in to the depression – it takes all my energy to put on that false front. I’ve spent a good deal of my life pretending to be someone or something I’m not, wearing a mask to please others. I’m tired.

My childhood was abusive, physically and emotionally, yet I was the happiest kid at school, excelling in school work, teacher’s pet, the most popular, etc. I’ve perfected the ability to be funny, make people like me, make people happy. I understand, of course, that it comes from spending so much time trying to make and keep my mother happy so she wouldn’t hurt my younger sister and me.

I spent my childhood learning coping mechanisms, but they’ve begun to wear out as I’ve gotten older. The severe bouts of depression occur more frequently despite the help I receive from family and professionals. I also find fewer reasons to live as I age, and those really dark places lead quickly to the desire not to live any longer.

I’ve had a plan for that end, my end, for years, a rather macabre use of my great  event planning skills, I think. I made an attempt when I was twenty – a feeble one, one of those they call a “cry for help.” I’ve come close to but not followed through on two other times, one four years ago and one during this last year. It’s worrisome to others that the most recent two came so closely together.

I can give lots of reasons for wanting to die. Some are extremely feeble. For instance, my desire not to live any longer today is because I’m stressed by having to spend the holidays with my in-laws. Not for the typical “I can’t stand them” reason, because I do really like them. But, rather because I’m sure they wouldn’t like me if they knew the “real” me.

Rationally, I can tell you that is assinine. Emotionally, it seems like a very good reason. I have no desire to go into a situation where I feel I have to be someone I am not, cheerful and smiling. It’s not that I’m never those things, it’s just that I’m not comfortable having to be. Being someone I’m not is just tiring, but if I let down and they saw the real me ….

I also look back on my life now and wish I’d died instead of one of my best friends who died when we were 37, leaving behind two beautiful daughters (my Goddaughters)under ten. I see automobile accident victims and think, wish, it could have been me. Rationally, again, it’s ridiculous. But, it’s what I feel. And, the thoughts still come daily.

Another odd thing is that I hear about suicides among young people and I’m devastated. But, I’m fine with doing it myself. Even those contradictions tire me. Why them, not me? Why would a child want to kill himself? (There are chat rooms for children who are depressed and contemplating suicide; it breaks my heart.”)

blogs.longwood.edu
blogs.longwood.edu

The one thing I’ve learned is that there is no making any sense of mental illness. I’ve also learned, the hard way, that I can’t miss a dose of medications. Mental illness is an illness, just as is diabetes, or cancer, and it can be just as deadly. I’m living with a serious illness. Some times are easier than others. Some times are harder. Period.

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Author:

I'm a writer making my way through life and offering observations as I go. Old enough to know better but that doesn't stop me.

16 thoughts on “That dark place

  1. Very honest and brave. People who experience sadness, melancholy or any other “down” emotion but do not suffer from depression can find it hard to understand it, even when framed as an illness. Reading about it will not make it tangible for a non-sufferer but it can be illuminating.

    1. Thanks for your support. I struggle daily to see a brighter day, and sometimes succeed in small ways. One of the reasons I combined my blogs was because I wanted to start dealing with the issue openly, accepting that it is just a part of me that will likely always be there. I decided it would be safe here in the blogging world where identity is safe. Maybe it will help me deal with the “real” world.

  2. Wow, this was really touching. I could relate to some of what you said, especially about visiting people because they might see the real me. Depression and anxiety do have some common denominators it seems. Thank you for sharing these words.

    1. Thanks, sillyliss. It’s nice to know you’re still in my corner, even if my posts are not all humorous! And, I definitely believe that anxiety and depression are related. Take care of yourself.

  3. The downs come suddenly I think, not that anyone wants to prepare for depressive episodes, but the mask can never really be taken away, because we fear stigma, and it is an illness that takes us hostage with sometimes devastating results.

    This is a silent illness and writing about here brings more awareness,and hopefully understanding.

    1. Thank you. I notice you aren’t posting anymore and hope that you are ok. It is a challenge to get up every day and try to make it work – I’ve felt “hostage” more often than not over the past year.

        1. I completely understand, having found my way back here because I’m finally in a better space. Hope all goes well for you and that you and I are both around here for a while!

          1. It’s been a long haul, and not over yet, but for now, I’ve turned the tide, and wanting to win.

            You can check out my doings on my blog, yes think we’ll be here for a long while.

  4. You are incredibly brave, not only for sharing your story but also pressing on through the dark times. That you have made it to your 60s says you are strong and a fighter. After your attempts, you are still here. There is a reason for that. Keep fighting. It is easier said than done but don’t let it win. All the best.

    1. Thank you for the encouraging words. I hope you’ll stop by again and find one of my lighter posts! If so, it means you came back AND that I’m having better days.

  5. Well done for speaking out.

    So sorry you have been suffering for so long. Ive been in a breakdown for 4 1/2 years now and nothing has helped me. Short and long hospitalisations, tried a couple of dozens of medications, intensive therapy throughout, even ECT (electroconvulsive therapy).

    And I am even more depressed now than I have been through this whole day to day ordeal.

    It’s truly awful.

    I hope that you can get some respite and get real genuine joy from things soon. Keep on going…

    1. Thank you for writing. It is a daily struggle for all of us. I thank you for your good wishes and send them back to you. Whatever it takes, I hope you find relief, as well. Know my thoughts are with you.

      1. Thank you very much.
        Thinking of you too and all the people going through these awful things.

        All the best to you.

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