“I think I am depressed.”
I remember exactly the day I voiced out those words, it was my first step to a very long recovery. My friend looked up at me in shock like I had said something forbidden. “How can you of all people be depressed, are you sure you are not stressed? How do you even know?” Then I told him,
“It comes like a thief, slowly creeping into my head; a feeling like shame for my flaws and imperfections. It terrified me like I was unworthy of love and belonging, left me bare as though I was naked and had lost my innocence. You see, I tried to downplay the signs that told me something was wrong, the signs I chose to ignore because I was scared to acknowledge that I needed help. I kept on repeating the mantra, the sad lie that, “I was fine and just a little bit stressed.” Denial took me further down the road, I tried to run but it chased me no matter the direction I fled to.
Truth be told, I can’t think of any single thing that triggered this state. All I want is to simply pass away. I have been contemplating my available options for a painless death; I wonder if I would be remembered at all. I think about my eulogy and the number of people that will attend my burial. I also consider my worth, value, purpose and goals; but my inner critic has told me that I do not matter, that I would never belong nor measure up, that I don’t deserve to be; that, dying was my best chance at doing something significant. I believe it. My mind is too frail to capture the beauty and miracles surrounding me. I have tanked down every conflict, every setback, every disappointment without dealing with them and now my mind is too weak to stand on its own. The idea that I would snap out of it with time has allowed me to wallow in self derided pity.
I have this burden weighing heavily on me; one minute, it feels like the burden is on my shoulders, the next minute my head, right after my chest. It is as though my mind is playing with me.
Yet, I get up like every other day and go to work. I sit in the traffic and wander off. The third mainland bridge sets the tone for me as I spend at least two hours on it, stuck in traffic. I look at the water trying to imagine what it would be like to jump off the bridge and just end the pain and suffering, once and for all. Some days, I try sleeping but my subconsciousness keeps filling my head with horrible accidents that can possibly happen leaving me no choice but to stay awake and stare into oblivion. It is bad that sometimes, I forget my bus-stop and have to return on a different bus. I am present but not aware; I am active but not conscious; I am breathing but not alive. I don’t feel like I have total control of myself anymore, I just move along with the wind as it blows. The sound of people’s laughter makes me cry. I go to the toilet, lock myself up and cry for a long time. I feel lost, like the world is spinning around me and I am so invincible for anyone to notice. There are some days I don’t show up to work; I just can’t. It’s been weeks still nothing has changed. Life has lost its meaning for me and I can only await more disaster. I can barely eat as it is too painful to swallow, my throat has become sore. I have resorted to sleeping on the floor with a pile of my dirty clothes as comfort. I deleted my social media apps from my phone because I don’t want to feel better with fake comfort. My self loathe is consuming me and has no intention of stopping. I know I am in deep trouble and I don’t know what do about it.”
I said all of it without a pause and by the time I stopped to breathe, I could only cry. And cry did he let me, by the time I was done, I had soiled two handkerchiefs and my eyes felt so heavy like they would fall off at any given moment.
He was still in shock as he kept on staring at me with a horrid expression. When he finally managed to find the strength to speak, he said, “you need help.”
I nodded and burst into another round of tears.
Sometimes, the signs are not this clear. They can come in various ways. It is okay to be sick; there is nothing wrong with that and just like every other sickness, depression has its symptoms. Do not ignore them. Seek help!
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