Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Satellite Call: A Depression and Suicide Interlude

There once was a little girl.

She was a happy little girl, maybe a little on the quiet side, but happy nonetheless. She had a mommy, and a daddy, and a little sister and she played with her toy horses and named all of her baby dolls Kimberly because it was just the prettiest name in the world and asked for a Dalmatian puppy every single year for Christmas.

For all intents and purposes, she was a normal little girl.

Then, that little girl grew up. Some bad things happened and some sad things happened, and life was kind of hard. Soon enough, she realized that maybe she wasn't as normal as she once thought. She found that sometimes, life doesn't just throw one curve ball...it throws too many to dodge at once. She got hit in the face once or twice, and once she was down, she couldn't get back up. She watched other people get hit by their curve balls, fall down to their knees...and then get back on their feet with as little as a shrug. She sat on the ground and wondered why she couldn't do the same. She became more and more discouraged, until the most she could do was protect her head from the deluge of things thrown her way, and wondered why she was so defective. She was sad and confused and tired and everything hurt all the time because there seemed to be nothing she could do to stop the pounding.

She soon felt that she was so defective, that there was just no saving her. She was a bad, bad person who just didn't deserve to be among those who could handle their curve balls "normally". She hated herself. She hated herself more for hating herself at all. Every little mistake was reason for the snarling, whirling voices inside her head to make sure that she knew just how much of a useless waste of space she was. Every compliment was met with an outward smile but an inward snort of disdain because there was absolutely no way in hell that she was ever kind, smart, thoughtful, talented, funny, or anything that made her a person worth loving. She was not worth loving. 

She folded in on herself, walling off her heart to those who desperately wanted to help her, because she couldn't bear the thought of allowing anyone to see just how incapable of living she was. She took every bit of fear, frustration and hatred she had towards everything out on herself, mentally and physically. She couldn't bear to reach out, because the darkness that surrounded her was so suffocating that the thought of trying to share it -- even just a little bit -- made an invisible hand close around her throat. So she played the part of a well adjusted adult who laughed and joked and loved and thrived so no one caught on to her secret, because once someone caught on, they would know that she was defective and defective things always get thrown into the trash.

This, friends, is just the tip of the iceberg of what living with depression was (and is) like for me.

I want you to understand that this is not something I share lightly. Honestly, I am shaking while writing this because this is HARD and SCARY and the backlash could easily make me wonder why I bothered at all...but, in light of Monday evening's news, I felt compelled to sit down and write. If sharing that I battle daily with things in my own head helps someone else, then the risk is worth it.

If you're unaware, the world lost a great man on Monday. Robin Williams, one of America's leading comedians, actors, and all around well loved public figures, took his own life. Early reports are suggesting that hanging was the culprit, but there were signs of self injury and potential drug usage as well. The country is mourning the loss of someone that we all saw as a funny, lighthearted man with the world wrapped around his finger. He had a beautiful family, many friends, and adoring fans. 

He still committed suicide.

Depression does not discriminate.  It can, and will, touch anyone, anywhere, at any time, for any reason (or no reason at all). There is no up, down, left, right, front or back, and for those of you with paths that are clear and free of the demons that reside within some of us, it is not something easily imagined. If you're reading this, and you're one of these people: that is okay. I am RELIEVED that you haven't ever had what is essentially a Dementor living inside of you 24/7, with no Patronus charm to protect you from it. Relieved, and maybe a bit jealous, but mostly relieved. 

There are those of you that do, however, understand what I'm saying. Depression is, at the end of the day, a unique and singular experience for each person, but there are similar themes that run though depression as a whole: fear, frustration, isolation, sadness, anger, and confusion. How they manifest differs from person to person, and how they wreak havoc differs from person to person. 

I am standing in front of you today rocked to the core by these events. I feel naked and insecure, because my life has been tainted by depression, both my own and my mother's. Mental illness has been in the news quite a lot in the past few years, but it has always been accompanying a gruesome, public display of violence (Aurora shootings, Marathon bombings, Newtown shootings, ect). This is the first time that I can remember that a clear case of suicide due to dealings with major depression has been front and center. I see the headlines, and I see myself, because despite the fact that Mr. Williams was a well known Hollywood star and I'm a little nobody customer service representative...our struggles were -- and are -- extremely similar. I imagine there are some of you that relate heavily to this as well. I see the reports of a man who put on such a happy front having hanged himself, and wonder just how many of those in my life are hiding things that even I can't see. That scares me, because there are so many of you that I care about deeply. I can't sit back and not do anything or say anything, even with my own struggles feeling like they're on display. 

I am no saint, nor am I cured. I am not a professional, and I can't drag you out of the darkness, no matter how much you want me to. In all honesty (and this is HARSH and I'm very sorry if this offends you), life isn't for everyone. Some people cannot escape their demons, and putting them permanently to sleep is the most peaceful way to deal with them. I understand, and while I will still try to show you all of the things that might be worth living for, because I love you, I won't hold it against you if you've done all you can to fight and are just too tired. However, if there is something -- ANYTHING -- in the back of your head telling you to fight to push forward to hope to breathe to love to TRY...please, please, please, please reach out. If it's just a tentative finger, that's fine. I can reach back, ET style, and that's that. 

If you're brave enough to offer a hand, I'm going to grab on and not let go. I have an inkling of what you may be feeling, and while I have zero sage advice (blind leading the blind here!), I will be happy to sit and listen, commiserate, tell dumb jokes, explore why our minds work the way they do, or just watch a dumb Disney move with you...if it helps, I will try. 

So, this is me, sending out my satellite call, to those of you who are lost somewhere out there: you are not alone, and you are loved. 

Rest easy, Mr. Williams. I hope you've finally found the peace you so desperately deserved.

This one's for the lonely child
Brokenhearted, running wild
This was written for the one to blame
One who believe they are the cause of chaos and everything

You may find yourself in the dead of night
Lost somewhere up in the great big beautiful sky
You were all just perfect little satellites
Spinning round and round this broken earthly life

This is so you'll know the sound
Of someone who loves you from the ground
Tonight you're not alone at all
This is me sending out my satellite call

This is so you'll know the sound
Of someone who loves you from the ground
Tonight you're not alone at all
This is me sending out my satellite call
-- Satellite Call, Sara Bareilles












9 comments:

  1. Such a sad event, sad topic, and sad situation. I have never been THAT depressed, but I can somewhat imagine the feeling. You are very brave for writing this and I'm always open to lend an ear if you need a sounding board for feelings :) It's my opinion that everyone is loved by someone and has a reason to be on this earth, but I don't hold it against people who can't cope anymore.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hugs. I've beaten some of the demons, and others I've learned to live with. No judgment here, just the same offer to you: if you need a listening ear, or even someone to ramble at because you don't feel like talking and headspaces sometimes *won't shut up*, let me know.

    ReplyDelete
  3. You are so strong and brave to put your feelings into words! Thank you for sharing your emotions, and your personal struggle! Huge hugs!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for this.

    Thank you especially for saying, "life isn't for everyone." It is one of those things that we are too afraid/not allowed to say. (I have not ever felt that way about myself, but I know people who have, and I will never forswear another person's right to a Final Peace.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for your brave post.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Massive thank you for this post, I have always admired your bravery in what you share on your blog and this is no exception.
    My dad suffers from manic depression and while I cannot relate to what people feel when they are depressed I have witnessed the highs and lows second hand. It is a permanent struggle and sadly no matter how much others want to help at the end of the day it is a personal battle - but others are there to be leaned on when more help is needed.
    BIG HUGE HUGS
    I am always here if you ever want someone else to talk to, I'm good at listening.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Big sqishy hugs to you, my friend. Thank you for putting this out there........and please never forget that I will always be here for you if ever you need me.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Everyone says "if you need someone to talk to, I'm here" but they have no idea how impossible it seems for someone who is depressed to take the step to talk let someone else in. But you really captured the frustration and are so brave to be writing this post and reaching out from an "I've been there and understand" viewpoint. I felt like you were reading my mind and I got all emotional reading it. I have been dealing with depression for the past five years and have a very hard time sometimes. I am so hard on myself and I get even angrier at the way I lash out at people when that's soooo not how I want to be responding to those who are just trying to help. Plus, it doesn't help that I feel like I don't have a "good" reason for feeling this way, no major loss or death or anything. Grrr. I am slowly learning how to best deal with it after a lot of trial and error because, as you said, it's different for everyone. Anyway, I don't know what else to say except thank you for writing such an honest and difficult post. It does help knowing there are others out there who are dealing with a similar situation (especially those who you never would have pinned as "depressed").

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *fierce, squishy hugs* There is no such thing as a "good" reason for depression. It doesn't discriminate. You are brave and strong and lovely and I'm honored to know you. Keep on keeping on. <3

      Delete