*This is a piece I wrote in 2013 about depression when I really broke down my own emotional lows, and thought I would share my feelings to let others know they are not alone. I still read this from time to time to get me by when I start feeling the same. Just. Keep. Swimming.*
I was 5 years old. I was living in Cali, and I went swimming with all my cousins and friends at my uncle’s apartment. Me being the excited kid that I am, failed to mention that I couldn’t swim so when I went I just stayed on the shallow end I could stand up in. Nothing I couldn’t manage. I tried to be brave and venture out to a deeper end with all my friends. Needless to say, I slipped and started kicking and screaming for my life because I was in 6 feet of water. I panicked, and all I remember before barely being able to breathe was sticking my hand out and one of my friends came and pulled me up and to the side of the pool to safety. Thank you Sasha!
The key concept to know is that when you’re in that water it’s indeed sink or swim. A concept bent on survival when you can no longer keep your head above water. When you no longer can simply stand, but actions are needed to take place. Depression in itself is one hell of a body of water that many of us face and like the analogy states; sink or swim.
My mom was diagnosed with clinical depression and schizophrenia for about as long as I can remember. At a young age, I never quite understood the condition just only knew what my grandma told me; “Oh your mother is ill, and she’ll be ok.” The visits to the psychiatric ward never registered. The voices I never heard. I never knew why she would cut herself. I remember one time I came in her room and saw her wrists leaking. Me as a kid, I thought what would make her feel better were some band-aids and a cup of soda. Soda always made me feel happy.
As I got older, I loathed her illness and didn’t even want to see her like that. I didn’t realize how selfish and misunderstanding I had become….until now.
I never thought me, a normal and typically sociable person, would have my own personal battles with depression just simply living with life and the situations I’ve been dealt. I grew up poor and I’m beating that. I grew up self-conscious and I’m beating that’s with modesty. I’m growing away from using anger and fear by just acknowledging life with “it is what it is.”
So what am I so depressed about?! Sometimes I don’t have an answer. There comes a time when you just get tired of having to fight for everything and you want and easy chance like others. Why should I fail so much when others succeed?! Why must I deal with the dysfunctions?! Why is it always fighting with all or nothing stakes?! A lot of times, I think often what is my purpose and why am I here on this earth when so many of my peers have it together?!
I feel I have no answers sometimes, and don’t see a point of wasting away. If I share how many times I thought about just letting go and ending my life it would be a bit startling especially to people around me. Although I’ve thought about ending my life on several occasions, I don’t think I could commit the act. Several things won’t let me.
Despite my own agenda, I couldn’t be that selfish to end my own life. It wouldn’t be fair to the people who love me and see the potential in me even when I’m blind to it. The support system I have does more they can imagine by just keeping themselves around. They instill in me some sense of purpose to not let them down no matter how I fail or see life. If you are reading this and you know who you are, I thank you and love you…for simply being there.
This world owes me answers to too many questions. To end it without knowing anything, would be a bit…unrewarding. I am a knowledge seeker after all.
Life and it’s uncertainty keeps me on edge. The nothing I can amount to in the moment can change to meaning everything the next day. I like to take risks especially when there’s a reward like that. So I think I can stick around a few more days because of that.
Do I have those thoughts now? Absolutely. They come not so often, but they come. Depression doesn’t simply go away as your life betters. Once you’ve felt depression and contemplated taking your own life, that feeling is forever there. That feeling even when you can repress it, can’t be forgotten. You’ll live with that forever. I love my mom very much and she’s been dog paddling for a while now. However, she chose not to sink. And I know if I’ve saw that woman at her lowest, that I can move myself to keep float as well.
Do I look at her differently? Hell yeah. Would I expect you to look at me differently? Absolutely. I feel I would have wasted my time sharing if you didn’t. Don’t feel sorry for me or alienate me. Prior to this you’ve had your preconceived notions about me, especially to those who personally know me. However, one shouldn’t focus on the negative aspects of what I said. There should be an understanding that this is part of me, but not ALL of me. If you love me, it will take time to fully understand that concept without focusing on the negatives that depression have had in my life. It’s part of me. It has made me part of who I am today, the person that you know today. To love me as a whole into the inner depths of my soul to the far reaches of my mind, you have to accept that this is part of me. When you begin to see that, you’ll begin to love appreciate as a whole and not only the part of me that you vibe with.
If you can’t seem to hold on or are lacking someone to talk to at least try the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You can even reach out to me if you’d like. I’m not Michael Phelps yet, but I stay afloat a lot. If you see a person or know a person who may be suffering. Hug them. It may be the simple life jacket they need.
To my brother Marcus…I love you, and I’m glad you’re still here because there have been times your talks have kept me here.
Peace and love until next time.