I’ve been suffering from depression since my early twenties. I’ve been fighting with it, I’ve been angry at it for ruining my life, I’ve tried to embrace it as part of me, I’ve tried to accept it by actually accepting myself with the dark side and all.
It hasn’t been easy, that’s for sure. From contemplating suicide to forcing myself to enjoy the “little things”; from complete darkness to envying others for having everything that I don’t and can’t have.
I’ve never felt quite at home in this world. I am a stranger in my own life and to my own self. Human relationships have always been extremely difficult for me, especially with the opposite sex. I have one really close friend and she’s a blessing. But with others it’s always so damn complicated. My own family have called me a weirdo (and honestly, they are right), so how can I let strangers meet that weirdo? Do I have the right to pull them inside my world of darkness and unhappiness? I think I don’t. I’m a loner, by choice – I like to think – but more probably because of the circumstances.
It cannot be stressed enough that people in general do not understand what depression is. They think it’s laziness, lack of will, lack of positive thoughts and so on. They think it can be conquered with a few simple tricks. And to be honest, I’m tired of trying to explain it. I just say „You’re lucky you don’t know.“ Because that feeling of utter emptiness, the pain and the eternally grey-coloured world is something I wouldn’t wish to anyone. It’s like being alive and being dead at the same time, with periods when you wish you really were dead.
A few months back, I had a very difficult period. I was sleeping for most of the time and balancing between not eating and binge-eating while awake, until, one sunny Friday afternoon, I made the decision to end it all. I already mentioned that I had contemplated suicide before but this time it was a done deal. I deactivated my Facebook account, I logged out of my email accounts and I deleted everything from my phone. I also wrote a note concerning my finances, addressed to my parents and sister. The decision was to take some sleeping pills and slash my wrists. I did my homework, there are pages on the Internet describing various methods of suicide. I wanted it to be hazy and sleepy…. and as painless as possible. But, since I am sharing this story here with you, I am obviously still alive. What happened was that, after taking the sleeping pills and preparing myself to get into the bathtub, a voice in my head started screaming that it wouldn’t be fair to just do such a thing without saying „I love you“ to my best friend. I had so much to thank her for. And that was the turning point. She realized something was seriously wrong and contacted my therapist who made me promise to stay alive until our next appointment. It was a difficult promise to make, since everyone has the right to live and to die the way they choose, but I made it anyway.
I don’t know if I’ll ever beat depression. I don’t know if I’ll find happiness and finally see the wonderful colors of the world around me. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel truly lucky to be alive. I don’t know if I will finally meet someone who will love me for who I am and the way I am. But even if I fail at all these things, will it really be a failure? Can a life lived ever be a failure? I’ve seen the darkness staring at me – it stopped scaring me the moment I stared back. I’ve been unhappy, desperate and lonely – those are emotions and instead of chasing them away like annoying flies, it really works if you just accept them for what they are. Sit in silence, in the dark, be as unhappy as you can be, but don’t avoid emotions. Stand up (not necessarily literally) and face them. Happiness and sadness are very similar, in fact. They pass, at one point or the other. And without sadness, who would actually know what happiness is?
Davorka is an EFL teacher from Croatia. She teaches teens and relieves the stress of her job through writing short pieces of texts, mainly about personal experiences. She is 35, single and living alone.