This article is written by Zero Forbidden Goals and National Poetry Slam poet, AndYes. To hear his work, and support his art and his message of love, go to AndYesPoetry.com.
Author’s note: I wrote these in 2014, during Depression episodes. They were written with the purpose of people being able to see directly what is in my head and what is going on.
During that year, I lost my job and my apartment because I became too Depressed to show up to work on time. And I attempted suicide shortly after.
The 7th entry is a month later, to-the-day.
These writings are intended for people who haven’t had Depression, and want to learn. And for those who have Depression but don’t understand it.
* * * * *
What I’ve written here is based on my personal experience with the mental illness, and may or may not apply to others who have it.
If you have it, don’t follow the example I’ve set for years, of trying to exist without any assistance or community. Get help.
The Hardest Parts
The hardest part of Depression is the onset.
Specifically, that moment where you know what’s coming next – when you’re still feeling normal – for the most part – and you can almost trace every thought that’s about to come up.
I can feel myself getting paranoid with friends, right at this moment, for no logical reason.
I’ve gone through these exact same ideas, for years with other people, over and over again, and no amount of logic can overcome the idea that all my friendships are falling apart. Or they’re fake – and I’m friends with liars who just want to use me for all the good I can give them – and then they’ll leave after I’m drained of everything.
And, somehow, for some reason, it’s all my fault.
It’s the same thing. Over and over again. Just fill in different names, every year, and the rest writes itself.
The truth is, I’ve had these thoughts so many times that I’m an odd mix of Depressed and bored, right now, as I’m looking at what’s about to happen.
The closest parallel I can offer, to everyone who doesn’t know the feeling: it’s how I imagine morticians must feel after years of dealing with death in an 9-to-5 environment. Just imagine.
Which leads into the second hardest part: the repetition. The knowledge that you’re going to be taken from being this happy, perfectly normal human being to being insecure, unstable, and (in the extreme case) just barely clinging to logical reasoning behind any of your feelings.
For someone who tries so hard to be pragmatic and wise, and simple, Depression is just frustrating. There is no mental work-around for it. There’s no rationale that can make you say
“Yeah, maybe life isn’t so bad, afterall.”
Seriously. If I had a real reason for feeling half the things I feel, right now, I’d be fine. I’d be able to take charge and change my life. But that’s the tricky part of the Depression: there is no set solution for it.
Yes, you can take pills. I’ve yet to find a prescription that makes me feel anything but clouded and strange, but I have heard of plenty of people who find a med that doesn’t mess with them too much.
It’s almost feels like a placebo effect, from the perspective of someone with Depression who hasn’t found a pill that doesn’t leave him suicidal. Like, if I collect enough prescriptions, I’ll believe the thousands of dollars I’m spending could fix all of my problems (while stacking up side effects that take their toll).
It’s a Capitalist solution for a Capitalist world.
The third hardest part is: when you look at my life, it’s almost perfect. I have amazing friends, improv with the funniest people I know, the best job I’ve every had, and a family that loves me.
And, over the next month (two weeks, if I’m lucky), I will grow to resent most of it. (UPDATE: In retrospect, this sentence was more true than I realized. This article was written in 2014. I soon after had an episode, and lost my job and the apartment, and attempted suicide. I still have the amazing friends, though, and my poetry has taken me overseas and back again, and helped me reach out into the community and help others with my condition).
So I’ll either suffer in silence, like I’ve learned to do, or I risk losing friends.
If you get frustrated with how quiet I get, just remember: I love you enough to hurt myself instead.
The fourth hardest part is: realizing this doesn’t represent who I am. This is a momentary chemically-induced break-in-character.
But it feels like everyone will look and say “Oh, there he is. There’s the real David.” And they’ll think every laugh I have to offer is fake; every laugh is just painted to look that way.
And, normally, I’d have deleted those last few paragraphs, because they seem a bit over-dramatic.
But they represent the fifth hardest part of Depression:
The lasting impression left, after it’s gone away, and I feel alright, and everyone assumes this means I’m “better”, and not fighting every moment to stay positive and hopeful.