I’m 20 and have been suffering with depression for the last six years. In that time, I’ve gotten somewhat used to explaining it to my family and friends in an awkward and painful manner. However, there are always leftover things that probably should be said, but have not found their way into the conversation. In a perfect world, I’d be openly honest about things, and have the ability to just spurt out words. But, it’s not a perfect world, so there are always leftover things I wish I could say.
I wish I could tell my family that a month of therapy after a suicide attempt didn’t cure anything. All I really did was stare at a wall and nod for an hour a week. When I moved across the country after that month, it wasn’t to get away from them. I thought a new change of scenery would cure me. I was so wrong and being 2,000 miles away and doesn’t feel any less lonely. I wish that, when my mom calls and asks how I’m doing, I could tell her the truth. Not the bullshitted “I’m okay, I guess”, that I usually respond with. “Okay” is a bold faced lie. I’m not really “good” or “great.” I’m barely “okay.” I’m still sad and I just don’t want her to worry more than she needs to.
I wish I could tell my dad that I feel guilty all the time. When he tells me how wonderful this second chance at life is, after going through a massive heart attack, I agree in an encouraging voice. Simultaneously, my inner monologue just says “oh my gosh, I just want to die. I want to die so much.” I just constantly feel the guilt of not being as appreciative of this life as my father is, but I can’t just say that.
I wish I could tell my roommate that I’m really not as lazy as I seem. The reason I sleep all the time is because sleeping is this pause from being completely miserable. When I’m awake, the reason I sit on our couch watching Netflix all day is that it distracts me from wanting to constantly die. I do really care about your day, but it’s so much easier for me to just say “welcome home” and call it a night. I wish I could explain how hard it is living with someone who doesn’t seem to get it. I can feel the judgement when she comes home from work and sees me lying on the couch watching The Office again.
I wish I could tell all my friends that it’s not them, it’s me. I’m bad at keeping in touch with everyone but I like seeing what they’re up to on Facebook. I look at all our old pictures and see the smiles from ear to ear, and I miss those memories. I’m not meaning to push them away, it’s just what I do as a way of coping. I don’t want to bring them down because nothing I used to enjoy is fun to me anymore. I’m not purposefully ignoring them, but I’m a mess. Every aspect of me is messy and I don’t know how to get clean. I don’t ever feel content. When we are laughing and I stop half-way and get quiet, it’s because the sadness has crept up and attacked all of a sudden. It’s a lot to deal with and I don’t want to put that on anyone.
I wish I could tell my teachers that I’m honestly trying so hard. This semester has been harder than I anticipated. I wish I could openly apologize for the paper I wrote that was half a page shorter than required, because I sat at a coffeehouse and cried into my cup of coffee for an entire weekend while trying to write it. I wish I could say that I’m sorry for not giving 100% to all six of my classes. I hardly have a sense of motivation, but I’m trying so hard. I wish I could tell them that I have to wake up hours before my alarm goes off, so I can stare at my ceiling and try to find the will, somewhere, to get up and make it to their class on time. I wish I could tell them that I may cry in my car on the way home, but I’m trying. I promise I’ll still plaster a smile on my face and tell stupid puns in class and try to get through the semester.
I wish I could tell everyone around me that I know how tired I look. The smile on my face isn’t honest, but it’s there. I’m tired, but I’m here. I see you noticing my half smiles and tired eyes, and I just wish I could tell you that I’m tired of trying with no sign of getting better. I wish I could tell you that I don’t feel like a person anymore because I don’t remember what it was like to have interests or to smile for the sake of smiling. I wish I could tell you that the reason you see me in the same blue and white plaid shirt so often is because it’s the only security I can find. It’s my uncomfortable comfort zone.
I wish I could say all of this and more. I wish I could tell people that, seeing others happy makes me feel so void. I feel guilt and pressure to be even a fraction as happy as they are. The pressure builds up so much, that I should be a diamond by now. I know people are out there who might understand, but onloading any sort of emotion makes me feel like such a burden to everyone. I wish I weren’t too afraid to say it to anyone. I’m trying really hard to be strong. Sometimes, it’s so difficult because no one is strong for the strong ones. I’m trying, I promise that I really am.