Scars from cutting

I’m fucking depressed, but it’s going to be okay.

Right this very second, as I type these very words, I’m depressed. I’m normally some varying degree of depressed that ranges from can’t fake a smile for the kids or wife, to life isn’t so bad so I’ll put on a happy face. Yet depression is always with me. A monkey on my back.

“Yet depression is always with me. A monkey on my back.”

Telling me how terrible of a father and husband I am. How bad I am at my job and how I’m falling behind and everything is on the verge of collapsing into full chaos. Mix in some imposter syndrome (which is really depression in disguise for me) and I’m ready to never to get out of bed again.

I’ve suffered from depression for as long as I can remember. As a kid I was always depressed. I went through my worst bout of depression when I was around 19 years old. I started cutting really bad, attempted suicide twice, and was subsequently hospitalized twice.

I’ll never forget the second time I was hospitalized. I had to see a doctor for evaluation for committal or release and what he said to me did quite a bit of damage. It really messed me up for a long time. He said, “Kurt, you’re a 19 year old kid from New York, there are a lot of people out there who have it a lot worse than you. You shouldn’t be so depressed.”

I had never felt so ashamed or guilty in my life. Here is a doctor telling me my depression is not valid. That it’s not okay for me to feel this way and I should just be able to turn it off. Well I couldn’t fucking turn it off and so I decided that if I couldn’t turn it off I would just block it out.

When someone wants to block things out they generally turn to drugs. I was no exception to that rule. I had experienced drugs already but I started using extremely heavily, everything and anything that would take my mind elsewhere. Lethal dosages had me hospitalized a few more times. I couldn’t hold down a job, everything I did seemed to be the wrong choice (big surprise considering my drug usage). Needless to say by the time I was 22 years old my life was a complete train wreck.

I had become a master of self sabotage. Every opportunity to pull myself out of the muck I would find a way to fuck it up. Depression makes you feel worthless, and when you feel worthless its easy to make decisions that negatively impact your life because you feel your life isn’t worth anything anyway. The guilt and shame of those actions only deepen the depression making the cycle continue while getting progressively worse.

Eventually I hit rock bottom. I had pushed away anyone on this Earth that cared about me. I had no money, no job, a terrible drug addiction and I was considering ending it all. I don’t know what made me do it, but I decided to get help this time. Thinking back, I remember feeling like a ghost. Like the whole world was continuing on and I was just watching it happen from the sidelines.

“Thinking back, I remember feeling like a ghost. Like the whole world was continuing on and I was just watching it happen from the sidelines.”

I was tired of feeling like that. Like I was already dead but still walking the Earth. Haunting my loved ones. I hated feeling like that. I hated feeling like that more than I hated feeling depressed. Enough I guess to finally reach out after years of suffering in silence.

So I brought myself to the hospital and you won’t believe this but they almost didn’t accept me! The nurse literally said, “Honey, most people don’t come here on their own. If you think you need to be here then you probably don’t.”

I nearly lost my shit. I actually did lose my shit. I told the nurse that if they didn’t admit right then I was going to go walk right out into the middle of the fucking road and I wouldn’t stop trying to kill myself until I succeeded. I think the tears and the screaming were enough to convince them and I was admitted to a mental health facility.

I signed up for every therapy group they offered. I attended AA and NA meetings. I tried various religions. I looked and looked for happiness but I never really found it. I kept thinking of depression as this thing that I was able to just get rid off. It should just stop and not affect me anymore. What I didn’t realize at the time and it took me many years to figure out is that depression may come and go in it’s severity but my brain is wired differently and as such I’m always depressed.

You know who helped me come to that realization? Another patient at the hospital. I’ll never forget her. She was the best help I ever had in my recovery. She was bi-polar and would get admitted regularly. She came and went 3 times during my stay and she would always share honestly with me and tell me all about the advice doctors gave her and how she felt about her conditions and depression. We stayed in touch afterwards for a few years but we slowly lost touch.

Seeing her so able to talk about her issues really helped me understand its not something to hide or be embarrassed of. I met many nurses, employees, and doctors that understood depression very well and who helped me a lot as well.

I struggled for the next 6 or so years seeing therapists, still attending AA and NA meetings. I worked a bunch of different jobs and tried to find something I loved. Eventually I found programming and as much as it saved me, it also constantly triggers my depression.

I love coding. I have always loved puzzles and building things and coding let’s me do both at the same time! However, it’s also an extremely vast field and even in areas where I specialize (specialize may be a strong word lol) I still feel so very inadequate compared to my peers! I’m sure many of you have heard this described as imposter syndrome. It’s a great term, but I feel that it buries the real issue. Why do you feel like an imposter to begin with? Generally when I feel like an imposter it’s because I feel like I’m a worthless human being and who the fuck would care what I think about anything let alone some technical topic.

I have no high school diploma, dropped out of college for Graphic Design in my last semester, and never went to school for anything computer science related.

I have no high school diploma, dropped out of college for Graphic Design in my last semester, and never went to school for anything computer science related. I have a terrible work history prior to programming and I have been hospitalized multiple times for depression and attempted suicide. Who am I to tell anyone about anything!?

That is my depression manipulating how I am perceiving my life. I actually have a very diverse background and a lot of life experience that can help a lot of other people and nothing about my past speaks to my credibility as a developer!

I wish I had some answer to tell you that would make things easier for you, but I don’t. Depression is a real condition and unless you seek real help you won’t have the tools you need to deal with it properly. It’s a constant battle and you have to treat it like you would treat any other disease, by getting professional help and trying to understand its okay to have depression, it’s not okay to let depression control your life.

If you want to talk about anything in this article or about your own experiences with depression, my DMs are always open or you can call this hotline and there will be someone waiting on the other end to help you. You are not alone and the more we can face depression and share openly about it the more we can help others!