What you do with the seeds of knowledge I offer is up to you – a free verse about living with depression
This is something new that I am trying out – the following is completely unedited, free-flow writing written exactly from where I am at in the current moment. Its purpose? To give one perspective on what life with chronic depression is really like, in order to increase those without depression’s understanding of it. Also, to show those with depression that they are not alone.
Honestly, it is a little nerve-wracking to put my honest words out there, but I truly believe that knowledge is power, and sharing my experience is one way I can try to contribute to the overall discussion of mental illness, mental health, and mental wellness.
Just a forewarning, I do use some strong language (especially when I am not feeling the greatest), and triggers include: depression/suicide/self-harm.
Photo by Velizar Ivanov
I’ve been low. Quite low. The pressure digging into me.
The pressure to keep my head afloat.
It’s difficult for me to feel accepted.
When I am depressed, I am ashamed.
When I am uplifted, I am still ashamed.
Of the me that should be somewhere that I am not.
Of the me that in some parallel universe, probably has a part time job,
probably their own business,
probably some form of success that is recognizable,
I hear about spectrums. Black and white. “There is a gray area,” they say.
I agree. I wholly do.
It makes sense that there is always, unless we’re talking about a computer reading code,
A gray area.
If only I could program myself into feeling that I am enough.
That I don’t need to be productive 100% of the time.
That I don’t need to constantly be growing.
That I can breathe.
When they say to take your own advice, I cringe.
There’s nothing harder than doing so.
When we give advice, oftentimes we are telling others to do what we cannot do ourselves.
Repetition is key.
Be kind to yourself.
Be kind to yourself.
Be kind to yourself.
It’s hard when,
You turn on the news, and suddenly
There’s people talking about celebrities committing suicide (rest in peace)
and some off-handed and vaguely familiar and almost obligatorily tacked on;
“If you see these signs of suicide, reach out to help. A sudden increase in mood from a low state. Giving away prized possessions. Saying goodbye. Talking about death in general. ”
“If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the suicide hotline.”
But you know?
When a person is the one who is depressed, and they hear these things on the radio, read these things on Reddit…
Our first thought, unfortunately, is not to actually reach out for help and call that suicide hotline.
We’re not going to sit there and say,
Yes. I am suicidal. And wow, I should write down this suicide hotline number.
Our first thought is,
Why is this something that is only talked about when those of higher status in society do it.
You see, when a person is depressed,
They become a cynic.
Everything passes through a mental filter that is so clogged with shit and yet we have no energy to replace it.
When we are depressed, we see no point in anything.
“Why clean? It’ll just become messy the next day anyway.”
“Why talk to friends? They’re all too busy to deal with my non-rational problems.”
“Why shower? The rest of me is disgusting anyway.”
“Why draw? I suck anyway.”
“Why should I even be awake? At least when I’m sleeping, I don’t have to be myself.”
As much as these thoughts don’t make sense (and they may not, but they are valid nevertheless and your thoughts are valid no matter what),
That’s the reality.
We battle mental demons just like every other human being.
It’s just that ours sometimes become so overwhelming that we, as a mental defence mechanism,
We stop feeling anything.
All emotions hurt.
We stop letting others in.
They’re going to hurt me anyway.
We get trapped in a mental spiral.
Why am I such a useless, pathetic, lazy, selfish parasite?
Sometimes for hours on end.
Sometimes for days.
We fantasize about suicide.
Some of us self-harm.
Some of us prepare suicide plans.
And then, some of us act on our thoughts.
Luckily, I have so many amazing supports around me.
My friends, family, psychotherapist, student accessibility counsellor, psychiatrist.
And I feel empowered to keep building my mental health up.
To keep fighting.
To share my experiences and my knowledge with others.
But I am not always okay.
I am not always at 100%. (Are we ever?)
Just like you, I am vulnerable.
You and I, we may have different experiences, different backgrounds, different educations, different appearances, and different connections.
But You and I,
We both have our mental health.
I may have depression, and perhaps you do not,
You have mental health, and it is up to you to take care of it.
For fuck’s sake, TAKE BREAKS.
I sit here, and I see so many people around me riding a bullet train to hell while I sit here already broken from riding it,
and for what?
To get to med school faster?
How many of you actually know that being a doctor is what you want and not just what everyone else is doing?
To get a 4.0 GPA?
Been there, done that, and you do not feel any sort of accomplishment from it. You’re DEAD tired. And you immediately look for the next hoop.
To prove something to others?
No one cares in the end.
Why do I see so many people speeding through life?
Tell me “I have no time to take breaks” one more time.
Why do I see so many people getting burnt out trying to get somewhere faster?
We live very long lives now, and a difference of two or three years when you reach that milestone seriously. SERIOUSLY. Makes no difference at all.
Why do I see so many people pushing other people down to get higher than them?
I notice that shit really easily, and I can never understand it.
You are not lagging behind.
Your journey, your story, your LIFE,
Is NEVER effectively measurable by others’ standards.
I cannot sit here and preach that those are easy words to swallow.
But I’m not here to forcefeed you.
I’m just here to lend you my time, and my words.
What you do with the seeds of knowledge I offer is up to you.
Always remember to BKTY (be kind to yourself), and it is okay if sometimes you find it difficult to do so because we are all human,
Thank you for writing this. Thank you thank you thank you.
Thank you thank you thank you for taking the time to read it, Justina! 🙂