Trigger warning: depression
Depression is sneaky. Just when you think you have it right where you want it (controlled and behaving itself), it comes out of nowhere and sucks you back in. Depression and quicksand have a lot in common – “with quicksand, the more you struggle in it the faster you will sink. If you just relax, your body will float…” (Bonsor, 2001). After weeks of putting on a brave face, trying positive self-talk, and pretending like things were good again, all that struggling and false positivity made me sink faster and faster.
I’ve been thinking today about how dangerous it can be to pretend like nothing is wrong. I’ve exhausted myself and now I have no energy or spark. I’m fine – I’m not a danger to myself or others – but my motivation is at an all-time low. While I’ve been talking a big talk about learning to love myself and not wanting anyone else until I’m ready, the loneliness has been eating me alive inside. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not a loneliness that can be eased by friends or even family…rather it is a deep, gut-wrenching ache for my person, who may or may not exist.
My motivation is low because it seems silly to work hard and perform great self-care, when at the end of the day it’s just me. As crazy as it sounds, it’s exhausting to not have someone else to love, care for, and do things with. It’s exhausting listening to audiobooks just so I feel like there is someone else here with me. It’s exhausting to figure out how to cook dinner for only one person. It’s exhausting to have so much to share at the end of the day, but no one to share it with. It’s exhausting to have love and passion building up in me, yet no one to share it with.
I came across this audio clip on YouTube. Based on some of the comments, it is from a show called Teen Wolf. I’m not cool enough to own a TV or watch TV shows, but I’m sure other people have heard of it. Anyway, the video is stunning because it is just audio set to melancholy music. I imagine drowning in water would be very similar to suffocating in quicksand.
I also love this dialogue because it shows the difference between someone going through [insert whatever illness here: depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc.] and someone who has probably never been to that level of emotional and mental distress. Watch, listen, or read with an open mind. Feel what many of us feel on a daily basis. The female speaker makes some great points, but it can be extremely hard to reach out and grasp that kind of hope when you’ve been sucked into an invisible brain sickness. One might argue that the male speaker comes across as stubborn, fatalistic, and pessimistic. I call him honest…and a kindred spirit.
“I’m Fine” – Stiles Stilinski (acciostilesx, 2017)
“You know when you’re drowning, you don’t actually inhale until right before you black out. The instinct to not let any water in is so strong that you won’t open your until you feel like your head’s exploding. Then when you finally do let it in, that’s when it stops hurting. I’m fine. Yeah…aside from the not sleeping, the jumpiness, the constant overwhelming crushing fear that something terrible is about to happen.”
“It’s called hypervigilance. The persistent feeling of being under threat.”
“It’s not just a feeling, though, it’s like it’s a panic attack. You know, like, I can’t even breathe.”
“Like you’re drowning?”
“So, if you’re drowning and you’re trying to keep your mouth closed until that very…last…moment… what if you choose to not open your mouth? To not let the water in?”
“You do anyway…it’s a reflex.”
“But if you hold off until that reflex kicks in, you’d have more time, right?”
“Not much time.”
“But more time to fight your way to the surface.”
“More time to be rescued.”
“More time to be in agonizing pain. Did you forget about the part where you feel like your head’s exploding?”
“If it’s about survival, isn’t a little agony worth it?”
“What if it just gets worse? What if it’s agony now and then it’s just hell later on?”
I also came across this video, which is similar to the one above in that it is just audio and music. It touched me because I can relate on so many levels to this woman, whoever she is. Depression is devastating. I guess that’s what I want people to understand. Listen to these words. I hope they open some eyes and hearts to understand that mental illness is real…it’s powerful…it’s hard. This post in general is not me crying for attention. It is rather me crying for understanding. Try to suspend any judgements that she should be trying harder or should just pick herself up by her bootstraps. It doesn’t always work that way. Notice how she constantly refers back to sounding crazy…that’s because this society stigmatizes a very real struggle. That’s why I’m putting myself out here like this…not for the praise or compliments on my writing skills, but rather to help other understand that 1) you aren’t alone, 2) we should not be ashamed to tell our story, and 3) we aren’t crazy. If you know someone struggling with depression, give them a hug. It might be the one thing that gives them something to hold on to.
I’m Not Okay (Emotionless, 2017)
Why is this so hard?
This is so sick.
Like, why is this so hard?
Just say it.
I’m not doing great.
In fact, I can’t remember the last time I felt THIS BAD.
I think I’m having…I think I’m going through…
Why is this so hard?
I think I’m going through another depressive episode.
Why am I getting so emotional? Like, nothing has happened.
Literally overnight I went from being completely fine
To feeling really, really low out of nowhere.
And…I…it’s not…I’m not sad.
I know it’s not just being sad, because
Nothing in my life has happened
For me to be sad.
My life is good.
Nothing bad has happened.
There’s nothing that’s changed in the last two days
That’s caused me to feel this way.
And I recognize these feelings.
These feelings are the feelings I had when back when I was really depressed.
And it scares me.
There was always that fear in the back of my head that it would come back,
But I guess I just wasn’t prepared for it.
I don’t feel good about myself.
I feel really unconfident, let’s say.
I don’t want to show myself to the world.
It’s almost like a switch has gone off in my head.
I think so low about myself.
And I don’t know where it’s come from.
And I know it’s just in my head.
And I know that I sound really crazy right now.
But this is how I feel.
Like I’m always on the brink of crying.
I’m always really emotional
And I don’t know why!
Literally three days ago I was fine.
Which makes me sound so crazy!
And the sad thing is,
I know exactly what I’m feeling
Because I’ve been through this before.
If I need to fix this,
I need to fix it myself.
And I don’t know how to do that.
You know I hear words in my comments sometimes like
Oh, you’re so inspirational or You’re a good rolemodel.
And I think that’s why I made this video,
Because as much as that is incredibly flattering
And thank you for feeling that way,
I can’t help in my brain, read that
And feel pressure.
I read that and I think,
Okay, I need to be someone worth being a rolemodel.
I need to be, like, up here
So that I can justify people feeling that way about me.
And sometimes I don’t feel up here.
Sometimes I feel really down here.
And I feel like I can’t live up to that standard.
And I know no one’s forcing me to be a certain way
And that it’s me putting that pressure on myself.
But I think that’s why I’m making this video…
To show you guys that, you know what?
I’m not okay.
I’m not doing great.
And it sucks.
I hate that I cry all the time.
Every one of my videos I’m just crying all the time.
You know what?
This is the reality of having mental health issues.
This is how you feel sometimes.
I don’t even know what to say, other than,
This is how I feel right now.
And I don’t feel very good.
I just feel like I want to hide.
I want to hide.
I want to stay in bed all day.
And I want to hide away from the world.
If I’m to describe this feeling,
It’s like this sinking feeling inside.
And it’s just weighing me down.
And it’s just like this sad, sinking feeling
That eats away at you all day.
No matter what you do to distract yourself,
The feeling always comes back.
And it just eats away at you
And makes you feel so small.
A week ago I was this happy, confident,
Like, I was so passionate. I was happy.
I was loving life.
And now it’s just flipped. Like that.
And it just controls your life like that.
And I realize when I’m saying that, I sound crazy.
Because if you don’t have mental health issues,
You’re not going to get it.
And it does sounds crazy, I know.
If you said a week ago I’d feel like this, I would say no.
I don’t know.
This is…I’m just a mess.
What am I?
I’m so all over the place.
Yep…this is real life.
This is me being honest.
Acciostilesx. (2017). I’m Fine – Stiles Stilinski. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OC48yGWuVNY
Bonsor, Kevin. (2001). How Quicksand Works. HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved from https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/earth/geology/quicksand.htm
Emotionless. (2017). Free audio – I’m not okay. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVa4xJtrvtQ