Disclaimer for any caring person who may read this: I do not want to kill myself or be killed or die or not be alive.
I often wonder why I don’t suffer from depression. Wait–this isn’t as depressing as it sounds. What I mean is, because of the extremes of my emotions and my somewhat non-evolved, childlike way of dealing with them (which involves, basically, experiencing them as powerfully as possible at whatever moment they happen to erupt into my chest), I FEEL things deeply all the time. Anyone who has known me for longer than a few weeks can attest to this fact. And sometimes, what I feel is a crushing weight of a dark cloud not so much hovering over me but sitting on me. For a few minutes, or hours, it will seemingly be too heavy to handle.
But it never lasts for days without patches of relief. Even when I am going through something that seems like it is unending, I know it’s not, really. Because it always eventually goes away, and I’m always aware of the promise of its disappearance, even while in the grips of its torture.
I don’t know that much about depression, but I do know depression doesn’t just “go away.” It doesn’t finally, when you’ve become too tired of it, and you’re sick of having it around, or you’ve decided you’re fed up with it for good this time and refuse to wallow in its shadow anymore, just head off toward the horizon.
So when I read these articles about people whose despair doesn’t listen even when you scream at it, even if you whisper softly into its ear, I wonder what the difference is–why, for people with depression, the cloud isn’t something you can just push away, and why, for me, it is.
The depictions I’ve read, from both celebrities and relative nobodies, are so scary that when I read about how people can be paralyzed by this disorder, I immediately want to become a sunny-outlook type of person so the illness cannot see me as a possible target. Which is of course moot because if there’s one thing the death of Robin Williams has driven home into people’s hearts, it’s the fact that depression doesn’t care if the world sees you as a cheerful person.
I googled “how to kill yourself” yesterday because, thankfully, I never had before. I have never been in such a dark place that I wanted to give back the gift of my existence, and I wondered what would show up for those who have.
The suicide prevention hotline was pinned to the top of the search results page, so that was a relief. Other than that, it was a mixture of both positive, “I’ve been there, too, and this isn’t the answer” articles and actual instructions on killing oneself. Not exactly a recipe for success.
Not that I think Google should go around manipulating search results in order to possibly save a few lives. Actually, if doing so would save even one life, I guess I do think that. But only because I don’t know what else to do. Are there certain words I can write to reassure you that your life is of value even though you can’t see it right now? Is there something specific I can tell you to convince you help is available for you? Can I say anything that will make you understand that even though I know I don’t know what it’s like to feel how you feel, there are people who do, and there are people who no longer feel that way, who have found ways of dealing with the illness other than leaving this earth?
Perhaps the best thing I can do is the same thing Google does.
If you’re feeling like life isn’t worth living, in the US call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.