WARNING: If thoughts of suicide cause you distress or trigger you in some way, please do not continue to read this post. Also, please reach out to someone if you do have thoughts of suicide.
There are many grades of depression and everyone has a unique visual for how they would describe what their depression feels like.
I used to feel nothing, just complete emptiness and darkness. I had no energy, no emotion on my face, and I walked around with no color to my world. I was numb to everything that happened and couldn’t truly look at something or someone and feel an emotion. I was basically a zombie.
Then, my depression had me feeling like I was in a dark, empty and completely silent room. One of those noise deprivation rooms used for torture. I would sink deeper into the darkness, even though I didn’t think it was humanly possible to sink any further.
My anxiety would also ignite my depression even more because I would become easily overwhelmed and unable to do anything, like move one seat in front of me on a train. I would simply panic and say, “I can’t!” with my heart racing and my emotions becoming irritated because the ones next to me couldn’t understand.
I would spiral into more depression, thinking I was crazy and that the people around me must be so annoyed with me. I would think that everyone would be better off without me around and that everyone’s lives would be happier without me sucking the fun out of everything I’m a part of.
Now, my depression is a different kind of beast. It certainly isn’t like the first one, but it does have some of the attributes of the second one, including my anxiety, swirling around inside me.
Now I would define it as unable to remember what happiness feels like and wishing/desperately trying to find a way to locate anything to make me feel happy. I’m not feeling as overwhelmed as I used to be, nor do I have suicidal thoughts every day. It’s probably only once every other week, which is pretty incredible progress considering where I started.
However, even though I may not feel as low as I did before, when I do get low it happens fast and it really hits me hard. It’s like I go from 0 to 100 in a few seconds and can’t control my own thoughts or actions. I feel like a completely different person and it’s terrifying.
The best way I can describe those moments to you is by using a ball of yarn as a metaphor.
Think of a ball of yarn, twisting, turning, knotting up and spinning out of control. Those are my thoughts. Every once and awhile, a piece of string will pop out and become visible, so I try to grasp and hold onto it only to have it slip through my fingers. Sometimes, I’ll even have a moment where I’m able to look for one of those pieces of string, but those moments are brief and infrequent, and those strings pull away from me too.
Those little strings are “hope,” “happy thoughts,” “positivity,” and feelings that I am loved.
My thoughts are incoherent and illogical. Hell, my thoughts aren’t even my own. I couldn’t even write them down for you in moments like those or even try to say how I’m feeling because my head is spinning out of control and thinking so quickly, making me far too overwhelmed.
Thoughts of feeling worthless and better off gone are really all you can think about. You think that people are better off without you and that you are only making everyone else’s life miserable.
When people say that those who commit suicide are selfish, you have to understand that it’s not like they think about things like that in those moments. They don’t have the ability to process anything, let alone complex thoughts like, “Man, people would be really sad if I did this.” No one truly wants to end their life or harm themselves, they just want the pain to go away.
Picking up a phone isn’t even possible and, if I’m being truly honest, most people can’t actually do it because it takes far too much energy to actually act on their suicidal thoughts. You think about what you plan to do, but you don’t have the energy to actually get up and do it. So, if someone actually does do it, they must be at a very very extreme level or have a surge of adrenaline rush that is inconsolable while they are alone.
You should never ever think that a person won’t do it. Even when they message you and say something about doing it. You need to take action and physically go there to help them.
I know many people don’t want to talk about suicide, but sometimes those who are going through things like this need to talk about it. Think about it…isn’t it better that they talk about it out loud rather than internalizing it and having it spinning through their thoughts while they are alone?
Isn’t it interesting that those, who are feeling depression and suicidal ideation or thoughts, gravitate towards others who are/were like this? It’s because it’s relatable and it makes them feel like they aren’t alone or crazy.
We are all trying to find purpose and happiness in our lives but, for some, it takes a bit longer and the journey is a bit more rocky. Just remember that the next time you say, “They were selfish to take their life. Didn’t they think of their family! They just took a cop-out.”
No, it’s not like that at all. Until you walk in the shoes of someone who suffers from this disease, you don’t get the right.
One song that I always thought did a good job of explaining the mind of someone who has depression is Heavy by Linkin Park. Maybe you will understand or, unfortunately, relate.
If you unfortunately suffer from depression, how would you describe what it feels like when you spiral?