My grandmother came to visit me the other day at my house before she left to go on a trip and I politely told my dad that I wasn’t anticipating seeing her.
I didn’t anticipate the visit because I didn’t want to deal with the questions about how I am doing or feeling.
Luckily my experience with her was much more pleasant than I thought it would be, but it did end with her saying, “But you don’t get the thoughts as much as you did before right?” As if telling me how she expects I should feel.
I politely said, “Sometimes.” And left it at that
She has no clue that this is a battle that doesn’t just go away overnight. That moving on isn’t that simple.
Often when you suffer from depression or mental illness and your family and friends are witness to your ordeal or maybe a recent dramatic episode you may have had, meeting them always seems to start with, “So how are you doing, feeling any better?”
And you politely say yes because you know deep down you don’t know what else to say because you know they won’t understand that what you have been battling isn’t something that just comes and diminishes even if things have gotten better.
I have first hand experience with suicidal thoughts and even though it is hard to admit, I know many others have had experience as well.
There are many different reasons that could drive someone to become suicidal and I won’t speak on specific reasonings because I don’t know the reasoning for every person and it’s a personal and sensitive subject. I just know it is a serious one and for me, my thoughts have come about from the magnitude of my depressive illness. The thoughts are much more severe if I am not medicated.
And it isn’t just thoughts for some. Some of us have had full blown attempts in the midst of our illness (myself) or a true intention to die.
It is truly one of the most scary and debilitating experiences ever. It is a fight daily to see if this day or moment is worth living and if you will ever get through your pain while the world spins on and moves and others thrive. Most importantly, it is a fight in your head to survive.
When we think about depression or suicidal thoughts, we often see it as a surface issue, especially if we are not experienced.
We hear about it and think, “Wow, that is an issue with them, and that is really sad. I wonder what would even drive someone to think that way?”
But dealing with it first hand means that you know that a good day means you are free of those thoughts at least for a moment and you aren’t haunted by that tumultuous feeling.
Depression does get better, but suicidal thoughts come with it and they are a burden and heaviness that cannot just go away. It puts a tremendous psychological toll on the person experiencing it, often coming with loneliness and shame.
It often takes therapy and coping strategies to manage these thoughts because what drives them is usually fear, shame, hopelessness, and pain beyond human understanding.
It stems from the feeling of not being able to manage what the brain has done to one’s emotions and ability to function.
It stems literally from the heaviness of depression weighing you down daily both physically and of course mentally. And this is what some may fail to understand about your condition.
So if you are still struggling, please know that getting over these thoughts will take time. And it is a process to even grapple with what took you over the edge and that often, thoughts may come back and you may be triggered to go there again.
It will take work on your part through therapy, medication maybe, and other strategies that you will eventually use to develop a lifestyle for you that will help you to manage your struggles better in the future.
Most importantly, you are not alone, as cliche as it may seem to say.
Often in life when we battle big things we think we are the only ones who have been taken to ruins beyond our understanding, but you are not. You may even be friends with someone going through the same thing, but they are not vocal enough to even express their experience.
But you being a voice for others is giving other people the opportunity to share what they have experienced and to admit that they too have struggled and still struggle to cope with internal darkness.
My experience has often caused me to be extremely bitter. I have loathed it and sadly most of the time my dark thoughts come about from the belief that it may never get better for me and because I have experienced what I have, perhaps I wasn’t meant to be here. But I am and I write to share my story and to heal.
It will take time, a lifetime maybe, but the darkness you have experienced will be used for good and you will thrive beyond your tragedy.