I can feel it trying to set in again.. I’m resisting, but if it’s like any other time in the past, the resisting is futile. I mustn’t let this happen. It’s been months – months! The medication is working – it has been working for some time now. I can’t go back to that place.. I simply can’t..
The world around you fades to the point where you barely notice it. You retract into your mind and are consumed by your thoughts, feelings and memories. There’s a heaviness to this feeling. It weighs upon your soul so deeply that you can physically feel your chest weighted down. You feel the muscles in your face lose all sense of expression. You’re told you look sad by others around you. This is the first part of it. Part of you wants to say that you are sad – that you’re terrified. Terrified that you don’t know how long it will last and that it’s completely out of your hands. If you’ve ever been in a car accident and had seen it coming, this is what it’s like. You see where you are heading and you know it’s going to cause you tremendous pain. You feel weak. Your body starts to feel heavy. You want to fall to your knees and beg for mercy. Why does this keep happening? Will it ever stop? You become starkly aware of how this will affect your life.. How it will strain your marriage, your friendships and the relationships with your family – provided any of them still speak to you. With each cycle you find yourself more and more isolated than the last. You go into hiding – you have to hide in plain sight. If others see another cycle this might be the time that they give up like so many before. This may sound like paranoia, but these cycles have destroyed so many relationships, romantic or otherwise. It’s caused such strain that you can hear the irritation in the voices of those closest to you as you repeat the same things. You become irritated as they tell you essentially the same things they have in the past. The implication always being that this is a choice and if you just tried harder or changed your perspective that this would fade or go away. Your inevitable withdrawing socially is taken any number of negative ways, most commonly being selfish in some way. There’s no sense of being alone like that of being alone in your own mind with this. Even if you can muster the strength and energy to talk about it, there’s no way of describing how this feels to anyone. I’ve had horrific physical injuries that had years of lasting pain. Pain so terrible that I wasn’t able to even walk without heavy pain medications. That doesn’t even come close to the amount of suffering that you experience with chemically-based depression. It’s a double-hit of depression though. There’s the chemical component, but there’s the cognitive part to it too. The cognitive part is the guilt – guilt for simply being born this way. For being defective. For failing to overcome it. It feels like a personal failure on a deeply personal level. I’ve had a couple of people tell me to stop being weak with this. Weak? Live with this. Get through a day without finding a way to end your pulse and rid yourself of this mortal prison. This is by no means weakness. There’s shame with this too. Emotional suffering for most growing up in this culture is met with harsh judgments and whispers. You’re looked down on as if you’re less a person for having “those problems”. You hear people say such cruel things about those who suffer from mental or emotional maladies. You don’t hear such cruelty in relation to physical injuries. When you hear those close to you whispering or talking very softly as you enter a room and things go silent as soon as you’re noticed it strikes you at the very core. When your spouse is subjected to this it’s terrible. Terrible for them as others pass harsh or fearful judgment on you. They are damaged simply by proxy, as if living with you though these cycles time and again isn’t cruel enough. You don’t hate yourself, but you do hate the condition. It’s hard to know where the line between you and the condition lies though, so your hate is equally confused. I’m a valuable person. I’m a loving and loyal husband, friend and relative. I offer a lot to those close to me. When shit really hits the fan, I’m the one that’s called – I’m one of the most reliable people you’ll ever know. When the chips are down, I’ll always have your back. The thing is though… I cause a lot of grief too. Objectively I do more good than bad in the lives of those closest to me, but not by a large margin. Even my (current – third) marriage has been on the brink within the last year. Not theoretically, but where us splitting was imminent. If my wife hadn’t learned about how suicidal I was last fall she’d surely have surely left. I didn’t play the “if you leave I’ll kill myself” card. I didn’t tell anyone aside from one close friend.
So, here I sit.. Looking down into darkness wondering if I’ll lose my footing and take the plunge again. I don’t want to. I am resisting it. The sad thing though, I’m completely at the mercy of my biochemistry. With everything else going haywire in my body, the imbalance may be a direct result. I don’t know.. I hope this is a passing feeling. I hope that in the next day or two I’ll wake feeling fine again. The onset for me is so, so rapid. I may be in the thralls of this cursed condition by night’s end. This is the part I hate most. It’s chemical. There’s not anything I can do about it. I get to sit here and wait.
For anyone that’s reading this and are concerned, I’m not going to give up fighting. I’ll get through this. I always do. Having had medication that’s worked has reignited my sense of hope. I can carry on when it’s bad. I carried on through far worse times than last fall. Last fall was about losing all hope. I have hope now, and I’m damn resilient. I’ll get through this as I have every time before. If this does go full-swing though, I’m going to write about it. It’s for my own reference as well as anyone wanting to know what this condition is like. This started to set in a couple of hours ago. It’s odd trying to frame depression in the same context as being attacked, but that’s what it’s like when it’s chemical. It comes out of nowhere. You feel sucker-punched.