To be continued.
I have been suffering from depression since I was 14 years old. Maybe it started earlier, maybe a bit later, it’s hard to tell exactly when “not good” turned into “evil”. Let me be clear about this: I am not talking about depressions you have after arguing with a close friend or because your job sucks or the weather has been bad for four days in a row. I am talking about depressions that make you lose your friends, your jobs and any interest in the weather. Because it makes you lose yourself. Clinical depression can make you sincerely believe that the dark floods in your head will literally stop your heart from beating. You feel like drowning in a sea of doubts, anxieties, fears, selfhatred, negative expectations and abandoned hope. It felt like being Tchernobyl: having an extremely poisonous inside, covered by a concrete encasement of what was left of my personality. Nobody was allowed to approach the baneful core. Nobody.
Obviously I was too sick to understand how sick I was. For a period of more than two years I thought of being dead as a less horrible alternative to what I had to go through staying alive. I did not want to die, it just seemed to be too exhausting and too painful to stay alive. I thought of it as kind of normal. It was my daily routine. I couldn’t stand near open windows above first floor. Every balcony I stood on made me analyze the potential impact of a drop. The imagination of my blood leaving my body had a calmative effect on me. It almost sounds dramatized to myself, but it really was like that. For years.
Today I am 33. I have had therapy for more than six years between the age of 23 and 30. I was able to reconquer important parts of my personality which were annexed by a mental disease that makes people jump of bridges, cut their wrists, swallow poison, hang themselves, doze off in running cars or simply blow their heads off their necks with a gun. To this very day I survived my mental illness that tries to convince me of being worthless, wimpy, unthankful, egoistic, lazy, stupid, ugly and forever lost. I am happy to say so because I am kind of enjoying life again. It’s good to be here. I am happy I didn’t jump off the roof of the abandoned house in Berlin I was living in for some time. Life still is difficult. My mood is unpredictable like a wounded boar. I have to watch it permanently. If I turn my back on it, it will attack. And it will be successfull as it knows perfectly which weaknesses to aim for. I am living together with my worst enemy. This guy knows me as well as I do, sometimes I think: even better. His fulltime passion is to complicate my life, to hurt me, to make me feel bad, to talk me into betraying myself and giving up hope. He is an asshole. Still: I tolerate him. Over the last years we worked out something like a truce. My fear of him has turned into a serious respect. That weakened him. I stopped hiding from the fact that I am ill. Like: really ill. I will never be healthy like those of you who call themselves depressed when they feel down for a week or two. If I feel good for a week or two, it’s an amazing incident. An achievement, a reward for not jumping. Sometimes it may just be a manic phase, but… so what, I’ll call it “happy”.
My depression taught me a lot about myself. About my weaknesses and strengths, about my trapdoors and my hiding places, about my hopes and doubts and expectations. She is a rigorous teacher and I shouldn’t thank her for what she did to me. But I am okay with my illness. I understood that I will have it for the rest of my life. I understood that it will be my number one subject for most of the time. That I will have to learn to live, love and laugh with it if I don’t want it to win. It’s hard. But it seems worth the arduousness so far.
To be continued…