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.

1 comment:

  1. I also live with severe depression and can say I know how you are feeling. Some days it is all you can do to get out of bed. You do not want to be around anyone but you are so lonely that you may as well have a hole inside you. You cannot truly relate to what is going on around you at times. You crave those brief moments when you are so distracted you almost feel normal.

    I hope you have someone you trust to help work this out. I was against taking medications to "make me feel normal", but in the end it was all that worked. I have had a lot of things held inside over the years and talking with a therapist to just get it out was also helpful.

    If you ever need someone to talk to you can contact me.