I was depressed for the better part of a decade, and I spent most of it trying to die and not to die. I had become intolerant of the simplest parts of staying alive: eating, working, sleeping.
I crossed the road without looking.
I fell asleep in the bath.
I returned to suicidal matters for the third time that year.
I just wanted my brain to shut up, but on it went, year upon year. Then my emotions retreated, and I returned to numbness.
There are no easy ways to kill yourself, and few painless ways to die. Through all my planning, I was brought back to life raging, churning my suicidal ideation around and around in my mind as though it would curdle if I stopped.
Depression is relentless. It chips away your character until the only things left are the skeletal remains of your old self. I couldn’t connect with people. I was too dead for that, and I had enough self-hatred to fuel a liturgy.
My friends found it intolerable. They were terrified that my death would arrive tomorrow… And tomorrow… And tomorrow. They tried their damnedest to improve the situation, but depression was stronger. Love was a balm, but not a cure.
My scars are my personal semicolon tattoo. I tried to end my sentence. Then I chose, not to survive, but to thrive. I got help. Then I worked with my doctors until we’d kicked depression into the past. It wasn’t an easy fix, but we made it work in the end.
This side of suicide feels like rebirth. I’m an entirely new person. I’m amazed that I still have friends from that era, but they’re still in my life. Those relationships are different creatures now—easy, honest, light. Post-depression life has so much vibrancy, and even nine years later, I still feel grateful for the sunsets.
I receive suicide threats often on this site, and I never know how to respond. The only resource I have to give away is this story. Depression feels like a life sentence, but that’s just the lie it tells you. Depression convinces you that the rest of your life will be like this—another piece of dishonesty. It says you are worthless. Also untrue. That you can’t make it to the end of this day. Bullshit. You can, especially if you know that between 70 and 90% of patients recover.
I will hope enough for the two of us because I’ve seen the other side of this disease.