June 18, 2015

Content warning: This blog discusses suicidal feelings.

I said goodbye to my children for the last time last night.Dean's blog As I laid them down in their beds I kissed them three times and said sorry. I told them I loved them. I had convinced myself I would not be here today, because I was going to take my own life. I had gone through such a stage of mental preparation that ending it all not only seemed like an option, but a logical one. It made sense. In my head I was apologetic. Extraordinarily so. I apologised for not being strong enough for them. I told myself they would be better off without me. I was apologising for everything. I was apologising for being me. In my head was every bad thought and black cloud imaginable. The storm was here again. I shut the door. My wife asked me if everything was OK. “Yeah, why wouldn’t it be?”, I replied.

Why are so few of those seeking help men?

I have long misunderstood depression. It is, of course, different from ‘I am depressed’ - the feeling you get at the end of bag of crisps, or when a crush you like doesn’t text you back. They don’t compare. It is an altogether consuming feeling of emptiness. It takes over your life. For many people it defines them: but it doesn’t have to. I can see them now.. Suicide statistics lit up like an ill-judged Times Square. With the male suicide rate at its highest since 2001, why are so many of us afraid to get help? And why are so few of those seeking help men? How wonderful it would be to turn off the neon signs, shut out the lights and dance in the rain. Until we were so tired that we couldn’t dance any more. Because we were happy. Because we were no longer afraid.

Depression will make you question what is real

As someone who has suffered from depression and anxiety I have wanted to write about it for some time, wondering what difference I can make - how I can contribute to the conversation. How I can write about my experience in a way that is less ‘woe is me’ and more about learning, about insight. What is depression? For me it is having just about everything and still wanting to throw it all away. It is the lowest of all places, the lowest of the low. Lower than Flo Rida in a lowrider. It is going to that place and attempting to fight your way out. It’s coming out of the other side with just enough of you left to tell bad jokes. Awful, awful jokes.

It’s an extreme sense of distance when taking part in conversation. Not being ‘in the room’. Looking into your children’s eyes and feeling sorrow instead of joy. Feeling empty. Feeling nothing. A racing mind. A sense of dread and panic, with or without reason. It’s physical, too. The weight of the world on your shoulders physically weighs you down. It’s a sinking feeling, a gasp for air. It’s a swift kick to the gut. It’s sweat. It’s dread. It’s all of these things, all at once or one at a time. Switching in quick succession. Depression can be hard to keep track of. It will make you question what is real.

After it’s done toying with you, it will start to kick you when you’re down. Just as you begin to rise you will fall. It will tell you that you aren’t good enough. It will take all the evidence to the contrary and violently shred it in front of your eyes. It will make you think you’re beyond help. That ‘help’ is a special four letter word reserved only for the privileged. A cruel process. An exam which you cannot pass, and one with no answers. You’ll give in, and the wave will wash over you. Each day it will begin again and you’ll try not to drown. If you can learn to do so, it’s the most beautiful of all magic. Your life: lost in the magician’s hat, yet you can find it. Depression itself is the true illusion.

I wish that anybody going through mental illness would never, ever be afraid of asking for help 

Depression is rarely something that just ‘goes away’. Yet rather than let it consume you, you can manage it. Taking the first step to getting help can be the most frightening thing of all, but I wish it didn’t have to be. I envision the ‘three wishes’ scenario. I wish that anybody going through a mental health problem would never, ever be afraid of asking for the help they need. I wish that mental health had the same level of respect as physical health. I’d wish talking about it wasn’t such a big deal. Perhaps these words are those first steps. It’s OK genie, you can leave now. Perhaps the message that I got help will encourage others to do the same. What a wonderful thought.

The next time you engage in conversation with someone, take an extra moment to be mindful of the words you choose. They too may be weathering a storm. It is rough out there. I said goodbye to my children for the last time last night. I’m such a hypocrite.

I’m still here.

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Comments

Take care. Best wishes to you

Take care. Best wishes to you and your family. Hang in there! I hope that things get easier for you.Writing this blog was very courageous of you and the honesty touched me. You are much more worthy than your depression tells you.

Heartfelt and accurate

This story rings very true indeed. I'm still here too. At its worst, I described the state I was in as thick, treacley blackness filling my head until only a very small clear space was left - and that was filling up too. For me as well, taking my own life appeared to be logical, rational and the only option. And I didn't even know I was depressed! But I know now that it was the illness talking. Thoughts about who is left behind don't even enter into it. It's not selfish - it's the illness stupid! I completely agree and hope that people get more open-minded about checking their own well-being and seek help when their thoughts change like this.

hang in there!!

Thank you for sharing your story, I know how hard that must be. I can only imagine the desperation you must feel to want to say goodbye to your kids and leave them, but you are stronger than you think, and by speaking out, you inspire others to speak out. My 15 yr old daughter recently tried to take her own life due to depression and we are still very raw about it. Thankfully she is now getting the help she needs in a mental health unit where she is safe....we still can't believe how close we were to losing her...and your family would feel the same. Please stay strong, seek out the support you need from family, friends and professionals, and I do hope things improve for you xx

Feelings!

Yes very very hard to talk to anyone/ being around people in general all you want is to be alone!!! And yet you want company!!! It's like a fog that get's thicker by the minute!!

Stunning

This is just so stunning. The description of depression, though it varies from person to person, is so accurate. I want to send it to everyone who knows me and say IT'S THIS. THIS IS WHAT I AM GOING THROUGH, as I also experience depression and anxiety. I'm so happy you didn't go through with the plan that night, for if you did I wouldn't be reading these amazing words, and your children wouldn't have an amazing dad to see everyday, and your friends wouldn't have an amazing, exemplary, courageous friend.

Mind fog

Dean - Your description has been me for 5 years after a nervous breakdown. I always find descriptions of mental illness and specifically depression and anxiety hard to put across but you have 'hit the nail on the head'. I always take great comfort in knowing that I am not the only one going through the this hell. It's a lifelong process of recovery but getting help was the best thing I ever did.

depression

Hi, I had really bad post natal depression after having my daughter nearly 20 years ago and had a bad bout of depression about 8 years ago. I didn't really tell people about it back then because people didn't understand and thought I was crazy. I found talking to someone really helped and she helped me understand why I got depressed and what I could do differently. Telling people if something bugged or upset me and not letting things build up. Now, I don't hold things in, I know I can't control everything and have friends that understand and are there for me. Take care, talk to people, ask for help and support and know that people care about you x

depression

Hi, I had really bad post natal depression after having my daughter nearly 20 years ago and had a bad bout of depression about 8 years ago. I didn't really tell people about it back then because people didn't understand and thought I was crazy. I found talking to someone really helped and she helped me understand why I got depressed and what I could do differently. Telling people if something bugged or upset me and not letting things build up. Now, I don't hold things in, I know I can't control everything and have friends that understand and are there for me. Take care, talk to people, ask for help and support and know that people care about you x

Thank you

Dean thank you for being brave and sharing your story. I have shared this in the hope that it may reach others and give them the courage to ask for help.

Dean's Blog

My husband lost the fight and did commit suicide on March 4, 2015. So much more to my story. I commend you for seeking the help you need. I'm glad you are still there for your kids. Keep fighting the fight. Never give up! You are needed! Keeping you in my prayers!

Thank you for helping

I never comment on things like this but I thought I had to say thank you. Never has a blog post rang so true. Even yesterday I was struggling, dealing with my issues in quiet putting a smile on to stop people knowing whats going on. My girl friend sent me this blog post out of the blue and ive finally got round to reading it. Reading this was like reading about myself. At times I have the issue were I feel like its only me feeling the way I do, but im glad to know im not. I can never thank you enough that a bunch of words can mean so much to person. This post has really helped and once again thank you.

Depression

Dean is an inspiration to me. I have battled depression since last year but in the last few months I am winning. Ask for help from your family, your doctor and talk about it. People who have not had depression cannot understand how it makes you feel. I felt worthless, useless and full of guilt. Medication and counselling have helped me now and in the future. I can talk about the future now but in my dark days there was no such thing. Please believe there is a future, no matter how low you feel now. I have taken hope from the many comments I have read from this and other sites. Read about depression and how it affects so many people, try to understand it and take strength from people who are winning. This is not anybody's fault. It is an illness that can be treated and that you can recover from. It won't go away over-night but talk to somebody. Don't try to deal with it on your own. It's an often used saying that if you broke your arm you wouldn't carry on as if nothing was wrong. You would seek help, so do the same if you have depression. Talking, walking and medication have helped me. It can help you too. May you find strength and help to carry on.

Thank you....

I'm a father and just starting to seek help for my depression. Your words are incredibly brave and touched me with their sentiment. Thank you for having the courage to speak out and help those of us in a similar situation. Thank you...

response to blog

Amazing blog an descriptive to the point it reminded me very much what being at the very bottom feels like although I'm not a dad. The way Dean writes is the way a supportive, descriptive book should be like in my humblest of opinions. Stick in there Dean.

Thank you for sharing

Dean, thank you so much for sharing your story. I can completely relate to the thoughts and feelings of depression you describe and have experienced them many times. Your words ring very true and the images you use really do seem to capture in an almost uncanny way what depression really feels like to live through. Even in the darkest places and times there is also hope and your blog captures the glimmer of hope as well as the sense of despair of depression, the hope that somehow we can keep going despite all the odds and that's an amazing achievement in itself, something to celebrate. I am a father too and have had depression for almost all of my life - I think I would say that depression doesn't always quite 'go away' or evaporate in the way we think it might, or hope for, but we do learn to handle it, to know its character inside out, all its little moves and strategies. We become more aware of when it is preparing to strike, and we learn to arm ourselves fully against its combative onslaught. To build our flood defences in preparation for when the tidal wave strikes. Talking about it is the first important step to recovery. I wish you well in every sense of the word and thank you for sending this inspirational story.

Dean...

Having recently posted my first Time to Change blog, I know how hard it is to try and find the right words... and how you can be affected by recalling long-suppressed memories. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story Dean; you write with truly remarkable clarity and courage. Sending my best wishes.

Support services

Hi Db, what's been going on for you? If you're experiencing mental health problems or need urgent support, there are lots of places you can go to for help. They are listed here: https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/mental-health-and-stigma/help-and-support Take care, Dom at Time to Change

Thank you...

I NEVER post anything, but....You describe what myself and many others experience with such clarity; knowing you arent the only one on a ship that feels like its sinking is helpful - keep it afloat - i'm a dad of 2 - i won't give in.

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