December 19, 2013

Warning, some readers may find this post triggering

I have depression and anxiety. I have had suicidal thoughts for the past year and I self-harm. But I am still here.

I had a friend who supported me

At the moment, I am struggling. Words simply cannot describe the intense pain, despair and hopelessness I feel during these periods of 'darkness' - like I'm screaming on the inside and fighting for every breath. I become a paradox - unable to think clearly yet acutely aware of every thought, restless yet paralyzing tired, desperate to be alone but hoping someone will talk to me, not wanting to live another day but terrified of death...

It's hard, really hard. The one thing I'm finding harder than anything though is the stigma, ignorance and frustration being lobbed at me from certain people who are supposed to be my friends. A year ago I was in a similar state - surrounded by darkness and unable to see an end to my suffering that didn't involve suicide. I had a friend who supported me and held my hand and believed in my future even though I insisted there wasn't one.

Today that same friend ignores my texts

Today that same friend ignores my texts and blames me for my illness. I'm told that if I wanted to get better and change I would; that only I have the power to change how I feel and improve my life; that there is no point talking to her because there's nothing she can do to help. I feel sad - firstly because her words imply depression is a choice and I am choosing to stay unhappy and secondly because it feels like a huge rejection.

Though I have made a conscious effort to try and avoid talking to her about how I feel, at my worst the words just come tumbling out. I admit to self-harming and not wanting to live and feeling alone. Each time I am filled with remorse because I am so ashamed at having to admit even after a year of therapies and medications I am not better yet. I also hate worrying people or putting them in an awkward or uncomfortable position. I have apologized time and time again for both these things, even though I know it isn't my fault and that I am ill. But essentially I am frightened and desperate for somebody to listen to me - I don't know where to turn to or what to do next and I miss having the support and compassion they showed a year ago. The hardest part is that I have few others to turn to.

Just be there for them when they need you

I wanted to write this blog for anyone who is struggling to deal with a friend or relative with mental health issues. We know you don't have the answers and you can't make it better. We aren't asking for help in the form of an action plan or solutions. We don't care about you saying the wrong thing or not saying anything. Honestly, we just want someone to listen when we need to talk and to not judge when we mess up. Just be there for them when they need you. I know it must be so frustrating to see them suffer,but we need you, really we do.

Fortunately I do have another person to turn to at the moment who is beyond kind, patient and understanding, and for that I am thankful. So I keep on living and keep trying to recover. One day depression will let me go, and I will be a far more compassionate and empathetic person because of it.

A poem to end - a response to anyone who trivializes or underestimates how difficult it is to live with severe depression:

Your Words

Your words
Were darts laced with cyanide
Their target my poison riddled mind

Your words
Were the sharpest of knives
Cutting into my already scarred skin

Your words
Were the strongest of punches
Shattering my already broken heart

Your words
Crept into my muscles
Causing them to cramp and ache

Your words
Managed to extinguish
The only light in the darkest of caves

Your words
Were just words
Not meant to hurt me, but

Your words
Were unbearably painful
And they refuse to stop haunting me.

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