10th March 2016, Prismacolor pencils on A3 cartridge paper
For pretty much my whole life I’ve had cycles of depressive moods. Every now and then everything in my life would seem bad and wrong. I’d cry in bed at night, maybe for a few nights, and then it would pass and life was good again.
I’ve never understood how these moods could get so bad that someone would want to end their life. But after going through a year of pain, I understand now. The depressive mood got so intense that I could understand why suicide becomes an option. Here’s my attempt at writing what the depression was like for me:
My world became a world of pain. It almost got to the point where it felt like nothing else existed but pain. The depression is like a cloud that covers the stars. The darker the cloud, the more intense the pain and depression is. The stars are the good things in life, and even though I knew they were there all around me, the cloud became so thick and dark that I could hardly see them anymore. And when the cloud stays around long enough, I start to believe the stars aren’t there. The darkness becomes my reality.
In this place of pain and darkness, all I want is relief. It becomes too much, too painful to deal with. And so death actually looks like a good thing because it provides relief from the pain. Suicide never tempted me, maybe because I could still see the faintest glimmers of stars. But for someone enveloped in a cloud where the stars have been invisible for a long time, I can see how suicide becomes the only light in a dark place—the only good thing when everything else seems bad. When all around someone is only pain and they only see more pain coming, no wonder people have suicidal thoughts.
Some other ways to describe how I experience depression are:
- It feels like I’m drowning or suffocating.
- It feels like I’m falling in a deep, dark pit
- It feels like I’m a ghost
- It feels like a disintegration of self, a loss of who I am.
- It feels like I’m trapped beneath a glass pane and I can see everyone else living their normal lives in the world above me. I’m banging on the glass for help but no-one sees me or knows I need help.
The best analogy I can think of is it feels like I’m trapped inside my skin and I’m trying to tear myself out but no-one knows I’m trapped or sees my struggle.
I used to feel guilty that I struggled with depression and I hid it, but that only added to the pain. Knowing it’s okay to struggle and being open about it takes away a lot of the pain. Simply expressing it helps a lot.
The most helpful words people could say to me in my depressive moments are: ‘You’re not crazy,’ ‘You’re allowed to feel the way you do,’ and, ‘I’m here for you even though you feel like this.’