Trigger warning: depression, suicidal ideation
I felt the darkness coming, but I tried to ignore it. While I was isolating myself from those who meant the most to me, I told myself that I was fine, that it was better this way.
I stopped answering text messages. I ignored all of my phone calls. I started deleting my social media accounts one by one. I began to feel that I added no value to this world, and the darkness of my depression reinforced this belief. I began to see myself as a burden. It was as though my mind began to show me how things would be much better without me in this world. I began to see life without me in it, and it broke my heart, but my mind had convinced me that I didn’t matter.
It was like I had left my body and I watched from above as I began to spiral further into depression. Panic attacks for hours. Anxiety attacks of a future that I believed didn’t exist. I felt the shift before I saw it as I began to plan my own death.
I began writing notes to my loved ones. I made a list and checked off each person as I wrote them their letters. I tried to conjure up a memory of a time prior to my spiral into darkness. I began to believe that such a time didn’t exist. I found myself struggling to find memories that didn’t involve me feeling like a burden to everyone that I knew. I began to question each friendship in my life. “Did they really ever love me? Did they even like me? Have I just wasted everyone’s time? Should I just go without a goodbye?”
These thoughts were loud and relentless, and I fully believed them. As the thoughts got louder, my will to fight seemed to grow less and less, until a couple of weeks later I was sitting on the edge of my bed ready to take my own life. My body felt heavy and my mind was chaotic; I cried, but I really didn’t even know what for. Wasn’t it true that this was the best option? Wasn’t it true that this was the only way out and that no one really cared for me anyway?
At this point, I picked up my phone. I had chosen not to write any goodbye letters in the end, but I still felt as though I needed to say something. I reactivated one of my social media platforms and started working on a post. I would type and then delete, type and delete. I wasn’t composing a goodbye letter, a goodbye post, or anything of the sort. It was just something, anything, that would give others a sense of how things had gotten so bad, how I had arrived at this decision.
Finally, I posted this: “I’m sorry for always being such a mess and a burden, but I’m so thankful to those who loved me through it. Never give up.”
It seemed to contradict what I was really feeling, because I felt so alone and disconnected, but those were the words I had chosen, and I took a deep breath and tossed my phone to the side. I was ready.
A few minutes passed and my phone started to go off. Notifications. I was annoyed and grabbed my phone to turn it off but one message caught my eye: “You are anything but a burden. Do you know how many you inspire every day? We love you!”
Then there were more messages, and then more. No one realized that this post was one that I had intended on being my last. Their messages continued to pour in and I began to see a little bit of light in the darkness. As I read through the messages for the third and fourth time, one thing hit me hard. What if I had chosen to not publish that message? What if I had chosen to end my life? I would have died believing that I didn’t matter. I would have died believing that I was alone in this world.
This is the reality of the darkness of depression, though. It clouds our thoughts and our minds; it can make us question realities and friendships. It can convince even the happiest of individuals that we don’t matter, that we’re nothing but a burden. Depression takes lives every day.
I was hesitant to write about this. I was hesitant to talk about it. The truth is that I still suffer from severe depression. Perhaps I always will, but I think it’s really important to show the realities that those of us with depression face every day. How dark it can be, how disconnected we can become.
If you or anyone you know is dealing with depression, know that you’re not alone. Know that there is help and there is hope. You can get through this.
To those that were the light in one of my darkest moments, thank you. You were the spark of light that reminded me of hope.