Sunday, September 29, 2013

Trying to Describe Depression

I really wish I had the words to explain what this depression feels like.  Perhaps I am experiencing some magical belief that if I could encompass it in language, I could control it the way I control my fiction.  Or the more rational belief that by explaining it to others, I can come to understand it myself. 

And I really don't understand the feelings.  They come out of nowhere, profound sadness, self-loathing, hopelessness, surging up in my chest whenever I'm not fully immersed in something else like a good movie or a book or my Sims.  I feel like I'm just about to start crying, but then I don't, and it's as physically frustrating as very nearly sneezing and then freezing on the threshold.

The feelings are accompanied by thoughts that I know aren't mine.  I constantly think about — no, I imagine, I almost feel it — killing myself with knives to the more vulnerable blood vessels in arm, thigh, and neck.  I imagine shooting myself right under the chin.  I imagine going limp at the top of a flight of stairs or the edge of a roof and letting myself fall.

I'm not going to do it, I don't want to do it, but I keep thinking about it anyway, keep imagining it, keeping thinking what it would feel like...and mostly keep thinking about not feeling these feelings anymore, afterward. 

I force myself to recite why I don't want to, apply Reason to the feeling: the impact it would have on my loved ones, the things I want to do that I haven't done yet; but then sometimes those things turn on me: I start thinking my loved ones would be better off without me, that I'm a failure and everything I try to do will fail.  People will be sad and miss me, but only for a little while, that I've made no lasting difference ever, and I will not make a lasting difference by staying.

In those instances, it's harder to resist.  I recite the next lines, that suicide is a coward's way, that it's a  permanent solution to a temporary problem, that I'll miss the possibility that it might just get better somehow.  Don't quit before the miracle.  And I can't even be sure it will stop: I may very well continue to suffer after death, I have no way of knowing what lies beyond.

But that I can describe, and have heard described by other sufferers.  What I find baffling and difficult to encompass with words is the lack of pain. None of this actually hurts, this isn't real emotional suffering.  I know what that feels like, I remember what it feels like, and that's not what I'm feeling. 

I always thought when people killed themselves, they must be suffering agonies of emotional pain,  pain so bad that you'd do absolutely anything to make it stop.  Pain like a kidney-stone, or a gunshot wound, or being tortured.  But it's nothing like that. 

But what is it more like?  I just can't come up with a simile, a metaphor, an analogy.  And I'm particularly good at creating analogies.  But this just defies my ability to describe things. 

Perhaps it's a skewing of perspective, magnifying the impact of minor pain in some way?  Or perhaps it's a sort of ghost feeling, some chemical trigger that imitates or echoes emotional pain, a passenger of a feeling without its vehicle?  But isn't real pain and so doesn't hurt like real pain?

Or is it real pain, after all, and I am just unable to feel it fully?  The way I don't feel joy, or hope, or love as acutely and completely as I used to.  That the thing causing the pain is also giving an anesthetic, like the dentist does with a needle full of Novocain.

I don't know.  All I know is that I want it to stop so badly.  Not badly enough to do anything to stop it, but I feel like I'm approaching that level.  How much more attractive will death be if I did want it that badly?  And that scares the hell out of me.  I don't want to die, I know I don't.  But when it's your own body telling you something, how easy it is to believe what it says.

I'll hang in there.  Keep fighting the fight.  I just wish I understood what it was I was fighting.