Depression for me started off as a realisation that everything in my life was fragile. That everyone was going to die, everyone was eventually going to leave in some way. That there’s no ‘happy ending’, no magic reunions. That we have this one life and horrible things happen to good people for absolutely no reason and that there’s nothing I can do to protect the people who I love from the bleakness of our own existence.
And then, the question why. Why am I here? Why do I have to stay here? I suddenly start thinking that actually, I don’t want to be alive, and actually, I want to do something about it. A body that doesn’t feel like mine, a mind that convinces me that it’s always going to be like this. The constant guilt that I deserved what happened to me. The nagging voice in the back of my head saying there’s no other way. Sitting in a Physics lesson dreaming about suicide.
The isolation. Minimise the casualties in the havoc that I felt was coming. Build my walls up so high that nobody can ever get in again. I don’t want to be better. I hate myself for still being here. Suddenly, the self-harm that has slowly spread across my body is no longer enough. I can’t withstand the thoughts anymore. And then suddenly I’m fifteen and I’m being rushed to the emergency department and having my insides pumped when I should be hanging out over the park or whatever it was that normal teenagers got up to that I never did.
A blur. Flashing blue lights and empty medicine cabinets and blood everywhere. My boyfriend screaming at me that I’m not only ruining my own life but I’m also ruining his and he can’t take it anymore. Awkward silences in waiting rooms full of other kids with those vacant eyes and heavy hearts. Breaking things and running away. Fighting to live vs. fighting to die. Crying myself to sleep every single night. Wondering how on earth things ever got like this when I had so much ‘promise’ as a kid.
Being so close to death that I can actually feel it. All willingness to live leaving my body. Complete peacefulness washing over me. And then, the anger. The anger of still being alive. Of being forced to stay. Anger with myself for not even being good enough at this one thing that could set me free. Mental health act assessments and being restrained by sweaty members of staff and being sedated and waking up in the middle of the night into a panic attack because for a moment you forgot that you must have two members of staff sat by your bedside in case you try to kill yourself. Again. Sometimes I feel like I might actually be dead and I’m just stuck in hell.
Acceptance for the first time in my life. That I’m unwell, that I have depression, that I’m young and I have things to live for. It’s always there, under the surface, but I’m resisting it. I take my medication, go to my appointments, try to tell myself that it’s alright to stay. Sometimes it snaps and all I want to do is just disappear. I get to university and it isn’t what I thought it would be. I didn’t make friends straight away. People aren’t as understanding about mental health as the friends that knew me ‘before’ were. I still feel lonely and I end up hurting myself worse than ever before and being dragged back into hospital but also falling in love and meeting my best friend in the entire world and having those nights where I just feel so fucking alive. I feel electric.
I still have depression. I struggle with it everyday, more than anyone probably knows. I think about suicide a lot and I dwell on shit that I need to let go and I make silly mistakes a lot of the time because I have this horrific attitude of ‘I’m not going to be around that much longer anyway’. I cry because this isn’t how things should be in ‘recovery’ and I cry because other people can’t deal with my illness, and I cry because I am just hurting all the fucking time.
But I’m more than depression, and I’m not going anywhere. No matter how hard things get, I’m still breathing and I’m still surviving, and I’m still fighting. I’m a daughter, a sister, a grand-daughter, a niece, a cousin, a friend. I’m someone’s first kiss, someone’s first love, someone who is integral to the memories of all the lives I’ve been involved with. And there are so many things I am and am yet to be, but lost to suicide is not one of them.