This post will be a somber one, I do apologize in advance for that. However, I feel compelled to write it, in hopes that it could help others to understand the true nature of depression and suicide, or to nudge those with this illness to seek help.
Recently, two YouTube communities were rocked by the sudden loss of one of its members, due to suicide. Markiplier explains it in his video: Lost A Friend. Ironically, his hair is pink for a charity he had raised towards a group that helps those with Depression and Bipolar disorder, a charity that I donated to as well during his live stream.
Even though I never got a chance to know who Daniel was, as I was just starting to check out Cyndago, the news shook me and my heart goes out to Daniel’s family and friends at this time.
The dirty trick about depression is that it behaves more like a cancer, than anything else. It starts of a bit “mild” and slowly, but then it takes over and shuts down everything, often resulting in death for some.
The person infected with it is unable to understand just how big the magnitude of destruction their death creates for everyone around them who care, even strangers who’ve never met them, as we’re all connected in some fashion as a human race.
The person infected with depression may not realize the lies this cancer is placing in their brains, during the critical stages of it, which is NOT their fault whatsoever. We do not blame cancer patients for getting cancer, nor should we blame people for getting depression, I believe.
I write this post from a very personal standpoint, as I am a survivor of critical depression and suicide. And what I’ve experienced from my many years of suffering is that this cancer does come in stages. I’ll try to explain as simply and coherently as I can, but yes, this post will be kind of long, fair warning…
For me, depression was a very slow burn, it didn’t happen overnight nor did it reach the point of suicidal attempts at the very moment that I realized that what I was experiencing had a clinical name for it. I first gained depression at age twelve, due to my abusive issues at home, my abusive outside relationships at the time, and a nice cocktail mix of pre-teen confusion in general.
I remember telling people that I felt sad, but that’s really a gross understatement of how I truly felt, yet being that young it was hard for me to find the words to express the deep despair and turmoil I was feeling inside. This was my “mild” depression stage, as thoughts of suicide was not present whatsoever, I just felt helpless and a lot lost.
At age fourteen, I began thinking about dying, and the depression was quick to justify my thoughts about it. The horrible thing is the longer a person has depression, the more time it is able to convince its host of many lies, which includes (but not limited to): “You’re better off dead. You’re a burden on everyone. No one loves you. If you died, maybe someone would be sad, but not for long as they would quickly get over it. You’re worthless!”
And the biggest lie of all, “The pain that you are feeling now will never end, it will go on forever! Unless you kill yourself, it’s the only way to stop the pain.”
At age fifteen, the long term emotions of that despair finally manifest into a real suicide attempt. I won’t share details on what I did, a disclaimer that I always make, because what I use to do as a teen was look up the stories of suicide attempts and try them for myself. I don’t wish to inspire those who are suffering with depression to commit suicide, but the opposite, so no details of my attempts will be shared here. I only share that with my therapist.
Anyway, what I had attempted sent me to the ER, they saved me, then I was sent to my first psychiatric hospital stay… which wasn’t pleasant at all. After spending some weeks there, I was released and “behaved” myself for a year, until I made another attempt. This was my “critical stage”.
From age sixteen until age twenty-five, I kept trying to attempt suicide, and I spent time in the total of seven different psychiatric hospitals in my old city (Philadelphia). All but two of those hospitals were horrible, with staff members who abused the patients (including myself), but these hospitals stays made it impossible for me to attempt suicide for short periods of time.
However, in order to not get “caught” and locked up in those places again, I began to become an expert at hiding my failed attempts at home. If I become sick from an overdose, for example, I learned how to minimize the damage and my family believed that I was just having stomach issues or the flu, not realizing that it was a botched attempt that I was recovering from.
You may think this is madness and you are correct, it is! Depression tends to cast all sense of logic out of the window and convinces the sufferer, “If first you don’t succeed, try and try again!”, no matter how much energy it takes to reach the goal of death.
“Suicide is a selfish act!” – I hear this statement a lot and I totally agree with it, because it’s the truth. When I was trapped within my cycle of critical depression, I couldn’t see this truth at all. If anyone alluded to this truth during that time, my depression would only warp their words to, “You’re a terrible and selfish person! You should die and rid the world of you!” So… even though this is a true statement, it’s not wise to utter it to those suffering with severe depression, because you’re not helping them… not even a little bit!
Although, I understand the anger and hurt that comes with the loved ones left behind to deal with someone’s decision to commit suicide. It is very selfish, in the end of all things, because such a death is like an atomic bomb going off in a crowd of people, with your loved ones closest to ground zero. You may be gone and without feeling the result of the blast, but everyone else is left to live with holes and missing limbs. And that kind of trauma will be with them for the rest of their lives.
That’s not to say that we should blame those who’ve lost to lies of the cancer, as they needed help and GOOD professional treatment. However it is a tough situation for EVERYONE involved when a loved one commits suicide, not just for the victim of depression. There is a song that very much sums up the emotions and turmoil for both sides of the situation: Brother by Matt Easton
My message for those suffering with depression: I haven’t had suicidal thoughts or attempts for over the past nine years. I had sought help for my depression from age sixteen to twenty-five, and experienced having eight horrible therapists that hurt more than help. I’ve been on many different anti-depressants that have hurt my situation too. I was at the breaking point of giving up and giving into the disease, but a small fighting voice within me shrilled, “Try one more time to seek help. If it doesn’t work this time, then you may take your life.”
That’s when I met my first therapist in Philadelphia who helped saved my life. I was prescribed the right medication for a while (until I didn’t need it anymore) and I worked hard in my therapy sessions with her. Currently, I am under the care of another awesome therapist in Minnesota and my depression is VERY mild and working its way out of my life.
What I’ve learned personally is, if I want to be happy in this life, I must fight for it! It will not be handed to me easily and, although life can be a piece of shit sometimes, suicide is NEVER the answer. It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem, is all. By making the decision to die, you cheat yourself out of a chance of things getting better for you, and experiencing the happiness you deserve.
Please seek help, immediately, don’t dawdle. You deserve SO much more than death, believe me! Please call the international hotline: 1-800-273-8255 or speak with your GP (family doctor) for help.
And if you’re wondering how life can be with very mild depression (or none), here’s a very good video on that. Please do check it out: I had a black dog, his name was depression. My “black dog” is very tiny that it can fit in the palm of my hand! ^_^
My message for those who’ve lost a loved one to depression: Whatever you do, don’t blame yourself! The truth is, no matter how much you were there for your loved one, there was nothing you could say or do to “save” them, I believe.
In my critical depression stage, my family couldn’t reach me, no family friend could, no religion could reach me (I was a practicing Christian at the time, btw), nor could my family doctor (Dr. Shaw), even though he had tried like crazy to.
In that hell of depression, the only person who could reach me was me, I had to be the one to stand up to depression and call it out on its lies. And I needed help to do it, which meant seeking GOOD professional help. Only a GOOD therapist is trained on how to approach and treat this disease properly. If a person has cancer, you don’t expect that the loved ones are able to treat it, you would expect a medical doctor or specialist to. And it’s the same deal with depression.
The most that you could have done was to encourage your loved one to seek help, or to help them reach good professional help, and to be supportive of them while they were in treatment. That is all. However, often times a person dealing with this disease will hide it or minimize it, so don’t blame yourself for not knowing! They didn’t want you to know, for whatever reasons, and it’s NOT your fault.
I’m sorry to everyone who’ve lost a loved one to this cancer. I’m sorry to everyone who’ve lost a loved one in general. I know the pain of losing a loved one very well, as I lost two in 2012, although it wasn’t depression related.
My nephew was killed, but I will always remember the time that he sat next to me for an evening, trying to cheer me up. It was many years before his death and I was in the middle of my critical stage in depression at that time. I remembered that he was making silly jokes and trying to get me to laugh, but all I could think about was my next suicide attempt and my pain.
At one point, I said to him, “I’m sorry that you have such a messed up aunt.” He gave me the biggest hug ever, with a bright smile, and said “No! You’re my favorite aunt!” I continue to fight for my happiness for myself, but I also continue to fight for him, in his memory. Thank you, Robert, for being my favorite nephew. ^_^
Thanks for reading and please be kind to yourselves!