Beasts of Depression

I have struggled with depression, anxiety and self-hatred off and on since childhood. There are a myriad of reasons why, but to go into all of them would take a lot more time and resolve than I am willing to give. So, to keep this as short and sweet as possible, I will try to not be as long-winded as I usually am.

I was 13 the first time I was Baker Acted because of suicidal ideations. My life was falling apart; my father abandoned me, my mother was homeless and I was living with someone who reminded me on a daily basis that I was not welcome.

For six straight months I would lay in bed contemplating suicide. I would set my alarm for early in the morning before everyone else awoke so that I could do it without someone finding me and reviving me. At one point the plan was to take all of the pills in the medicine cabinet and fall asleep forever. Then, it was to slit my wrists in the bathtub and drift off to whatever awaited my spirit — which in my mind couldn’t possibly be worse than what I was experiencing at the time.

For six months I kept these thoughts and feelings to myself and cried myself to sleep every night. No one knew and I never intended to tell anyone. I assumed that one day I would kill myself; I just didn’t know when.

One day after an unexpected experience at school I confessed all of this to a teacher. A few hours later I was on the way to a mental health facility where I was Baker Acted for three days. The stories of the other patients reminded me that although my life wasn’t exactly good, it was better than it could have been. I recovered somewhat and was allowed to go home. I still hated myself, but the beasts were at bay.

When I was 20 one of my very good friends died. The beasts returned in full force. For a year and a half I struggled with depression and eventually attempted suicide. I was Baker Acted for the second time in my life Thanksgiving week 2011.

For the next few years my life was up in the air at all times. I never knew where I would be sleeping on any given night and I practically lived out of my car. It wasn’t until I married my high school sweetheart and we bought our house that I finally found happiness. I was — and still am — the happiest I’ve ever been.

Four years later, however, the beasts returned seemingly out of nowhere. Nothing had happened, nothing had changed. My home life was stable and for the first time in my life I actually liked my job. None of that mattered: I was depressed.

Just like when I was young, I didn’t say a word about it. I went about my day as normal Robyn and laughed and joked and loved. I kept it from my husband (which is something I never do; I tell him everything — including stuff he’d rather not know) for months. He had no clue that every single night after he fell asleep I lay awake crying, contemplating death.

I wasn’t suicidal this time — I just wished for death. Here are some excerpts of some streams of consciousness from a diary I kept at the time:

I have always low key hated myself. I’m just not a good person and I’ll never understand what people see in me. Why would someone like *my husband*, a good, motivated, caring and energetic person fall in love with such a selfish, lazy, unmotivated asshole? I just can’t comprehend why he would choose me when there are so many other women out there.
I’m not suicidal, but I do wish to die. I won’t do it myself, but I’ll welcome death with open arms when it comes. I hate myself. I always have and it seems I always will.
I wouldn’t kill myself but damn I wish someone else would do it for me. Like, if someone could just sideswipe me on the way to work or cause an accident on the highway in which only I got hurt and died. I don’t want anyone else to suffer because of my mediocrity. There are already too many people suffering because of me, I couldn’t add to that list.
I hate myself with such a burning passion. I don’t think I’ve ever hated anyone as much as I hate myself. I deserve to die and I wish it would happen soon.

That is what depression is. Those are the thoughts I was experiencing non-stop, day-in, day-out. They were relentless. If I wasn’t focused on something else, I was having those thoughts. That is what leads people to finally committing suicide; if you tell yourself something long enough you start to believe it.

One night my husband noticed something was off and asked me what was wrong and it all came out. I was reluctant at first because he’s such a happy-go-lucky person that I just didn’t want to bring him down with my darkness and depression. That’s why I never told him in the first place; if I’m already suffering, what good is it to make others suffer, too?

We sat up until 2 in the morning talking, with me crying and berating myself and him calmly and quietly reassuring me that how I saw myself in those moments was not who I truly was. He has the patience of a saint, that man.

After that night the beasts retreated. All it took was to get it off my chest and for my husband to remind me of my good qualities. I am lucky, though; a lot of people don’t have that.

Depression isn’t sadness. It isn’t an acute disease, it is chronic. It may not always be front and center, but it is always in the background. Seething and scheming, it waits for its moment to return full force. The brain is an organ just like the heart or liver. Like your heart or liver it can kill you.

If you suffer from depression you are not weak or lesser of a person. You are dealing with a health issue and deserve all of the respect and sympathy of someone with a heart or liver condition.

It is common for those who suffer with depression to keep it to themselves, like I did with my husband. We don’t want to be a bother to people and we don’t want to be seen as “that person” who whines and complains all the time, so we bottle it up, which is highly dangerous.

If you’re depressed please reach out to someone. If you don’t have someone in your life who you feel you can confide in, call the Suicide Hotline or find forums of others who are dealing with similar issues. You are worthy of life and love and happiness. Those things you tell yourself about how terrible you are are not true. They are lies. Don’t believe them.