What It’s Really Like to Have Major Depressive Disorder
Today I seriously thought about killing you.
I can recall exactly how I felt, sitting in the car en route to Lawrence Memorial Hospital. It was roughly four in the morning; the quiet college town I call home still peacefully asleep and unaware of the turmoil I had been trying to pull myself out of for so long. This would be the second time I tried to take my own life.
As I sat in the ambulance, trembling with fear and uncertainty, I felt the darkness begin to invade my mind stronger and more intensified than ever before. “This is it,” I thought. “This is rock bottom.”
The words of Kanye West’s “I Thought About Killing You” pounded in my head over and over.
I called up my loved ones,
I called up my cousins,
I called up the Muslims;
Said ‘I’m bout to go dumb’
Get so bright got no sun,
Get so loud I hear none,
Scream so loud got no lungs,
Hurt so bad I go numb.
Ye’s words resonated with me more than ever before. I was miserable. I felt numb. I felt there was no escape from my own mind, riddled with demons and despair. I felt ashamed and embarrassed that I had to be carted to the hospital because I was unable to bring myself out of this pit of despair.
Too many people wrestle with these demons and not enough people recognize it as a serious medical disorder. Why? For some unbeknownst reason mental disorders are a taboo subject - as if they are any less debilitating than physical disabilities.
For those who can’t accept mental disorders or simply just don’t understand what they feel like, let me paint you a picture. Imagine your entire world going up in flames: one thing after another. A broken relationship you thought would last forever. Friends whom you thought would stick by your side through anything writing you off because you’re “too emotional” or (my personal favorite) “unsteady.” Failing every single class because you quite literally could not muster up the strength to get out of bed. Still not convinced? Imagine gloom and despair spreading like a wildfire within your soul, uninvited, and taking control of your body. A cancerous disease that kills off any happy thought you’ve ever had. Imagine feeling so distressed and hopeless to the point where the only seemingly way out is to end the life that was so graciously given to you.
Darkness has invaded my body to the point of no return. I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder at the ripe age of 18, and my life has been a combination of self-hatred and crippling anxiety ever since. Countless doctors, medication regimens, and a diagnosis that changes with the weather. Here I am two days into inpatient hospitalization with not a shred of hope left. How could anyone ever love me if I don’t even love myself?
See, if I was trying to relate it to more people
I'd probably say I'm struggling with loving myself
Because that seems like a common theme
But that's not the case here
I love myself way more than I love you
And I think about killing myself.
Let me tell you something about suicide: it is completely and utterly blinding. The darkness suffocates you, isolates you, and convinces you that death is the answer. In that moment prior to swallowing a handful of pills, the pain and anguish I felt outweighed the tragedy I knew my family would endure should I die. Some people have told me I’m inherently selfish for wanting to commit suicide. This assumption is not only completely ignorant but also outrageously untrue. Experience being bipolar or having major depression/anxiety for a week and tell me how you feel. It is a living hell. Like falling into a dark hole with no way out. Drowning when everyone around you can swim. Because the thing about depression is that most of the time you feel like you’re already dead inside. Suicide is just a formality to inform those around you how much pain you were really in.
Bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and anxiety are monsters. Evil, soul-devouring monsters that take no mercy on their victims. I grew up nerding out on Harry Potter and was always taken aback by the underlying theme of the battle between good and evil. J.K. Rowling created her own tangible representation of these disorders in the form of Dementors, who suck the joy and life out of everyone in their path. These creatures destroy everything in their path, much like my depression has done to my life.
Learning to manage these disorders has by far been the hardest and most tedious battle of my life. It is a BLEAK affair trying to pinpoint the correct diagnosis and medication regimen that will react positively with your body and illuminate some of the dark places. I’ve seen more doctors than I can count, all of whom have given me a slightly different diagnosis, along with loads of medications that have turned me into a lifeless being with no will to live. It’s a complete nightmare trying to iron out these wrinkles in my soul; a personal hell that I would not wish upon anyone.
After spending several days in intensive hospitalization, I’ve realized now more than ever how much mental disorders plague the lives of their victims. The people I’ve met in my psychiatric hospital are good, kind, and hardworking people, none of whom would ever wish to fall to the demons and end up in a psych ward. These people are hurting. Why can’t we recognize this pain as something to take seriously? When you break your leg, you go to the doctor and get a cast. When your heart breaks into a million shards and you can’t pick up the pieces, you turn to medical professionals to help you glue it back together. Because these disorders are intangible they are often ignored. I’m here to tell you that these problems are REAL and take too many lives too soon. It’s time to recognize how long we’ve turned a blind eye to those who are crying out for help. I’ve been drowning for so long, but I’m finally learning to swim. It’s time to offer a hand to those struggling to stay afloat. The ones who suffer in silence are often the ones who need the most help.
I’m proud to say that I am not just surviving with multiple mental disorders, but LIVING with them. Spending five days in an intensive inpatient mental hospital taught me that when I am weak I am strong. When it feels like life has completely overwhelmed me I know that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how dim it may seem at the time.
Because we are broken, we are beautiful. Out struggles are not a disability, but rather a superpower. We are able to feel things in a way others can’t. We give a new meaning to empathy. We crave to be understood, just hoping someone out there will see past our many shortcomings and love us for who we are. Someday someone will come along who accepts me and loves me exactly the way I am, and because of the fact that my emotion runs deeper than most, I will be able to love someone with my entire heart and soul in a way that “normal” people can’t.
We are broken, beaten down, and reaching out for help. We are also understanding, sensitive, strong, and courageous. We are not crazy or misunderstood. We are brave for waking up every morning and looking death square in the face and resisting its vile temptation. We are the people who have been through life’s heaviest storms...but we still come out alive.