I Am Not A Burden, Just Because I Have Depression

David Cohen
David Cohen

My heart is telling me I need to leave and get out of town. My stomach is so nervous, it is threatening to wage a war and force me to completely shut down. This stupid blinking line is taunting me, saying I’m too scared to write the about ripples of 2016 that shattered me. Why is it so hard to write? Does the truth really set you free or just help you leave?

The only thing I can force a smile for this past year is the fact that I am opening up a new side of vulnerability. To me, vulnerability doesn’t mean to tell you about the different emotions I suffered this year. That isn’t scary to me. Being vulnerable is talking about what caused those emotions and your reaction; taking the time to see the significance in the different situations and share.

Some people call that being an advocate; I call it being a friend.

When I say I’m your friend that means I don’t care to go to doctor appointments, your child’s recreational activity, or stay up all night with you. I want to hear the same stories over and over if it shows you love. One of my favorite quotes talks about how we aren’t on this Earth to perfect unconditional love. So when I say I’m your friend, I’m here to show you the broken love, the hurting love, the “please don’t push me away” love.

I would have given anything to hear that from a friend last year.

I tried to kill myself this year. I ended up in the hospital once as a preventative measure and then again after an attempt three months later. I tried to kill myself this year and that is easier to understand than how the friends who were “trained” to understand, didn’t.

I died in that emergency room. I can’t tell you if my heart ever stopped—but to them, I died.

I had every resource possible, an encouraging counselor, friends, and a boyfriend that cared for me. I believed that since I was a big advocate for mental health, that dying by suicide would prove just how complex all of this is. Being a burden was exhausting and I needed a way out. You may be thinking “that is a symptom of depression”. But no, I was. A close friend sat me down and said she couldn’t enjoy the best year of her life because I kept dragging her down. Someone else claimed I “stopped trying” and “gave up”. I was told how “I kept looking for someone to rescue me”. It took me six months to realize all of you were wrong.

You were wrong because I am not a burden.

I am a human who was dealt some adverse circumstances and after months of asking to let you in, I did. I was not ruining your life; you didn’t have boundaries to distinguish me between a friend and client. And no, I sure as hell didn’t give up.

If you had stuck around, you would know that I pulled the trigger with the barrel empty, then ran upstairs because it scared everything out of me. Come over to my house; the bullet is still on my bedroom floor. You would know that after I took a bottle of sleeping pills, I told someone, rolled out of bed, put on my shoes, and walked myself to the ambulance. You would know when I was in the ER, I took the liquid charcoal, stuck a straw in it, and drank that whole bottle (normally they force a tube up your nose and down your throat). You would know that in between losing consciousness in there, I thought about seeing my friends again and fought a little harder. You saw what you wanted.

And I’m sorry, but you didn’t save me; I saved myself.

The reason I am not writing about their side is because none of them would talk to me about what happened. The last conversation we had I told them I need to hear what happened from their perspective because I was too “sick” to really see what was going on and when they are able to talk to me, I’ll be waiting.

I’m still waiting.

So what is the point? Why am I telling you about my depression and trauma? Why should you care? I need to share that it is NEVER okay to call someone you clearly know is struggling a burden or just cut them out because you don’t know how to deal with the situation. Keep inviting them out even when they bail. Ask them to go on an adventure with you. Simply ask them, “Even if you can’t feel it, how can I love you today?” Most importantly, it is unacceptable to think you don’t matter. Of course, you do. I know you matter because I’m learning that I matter too.

I hope this year you remember to love
Love well, love hard
Love until you are broken
Love until its messy
Love those who ask for it: with words or not
Love yourself because it’s a trend I hear
Believe in love still; and still, believe in love
Without it, what good is a new year? Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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