“It’s not our fault, it’s our burden”

**Trigger Warning: rape, drug addiction, suicide attempts, self-harm**

 

I need help. I have depression. This article is hard for me to write. It’s one which I still couldn’t put my name on the end of. I’m scared of people seeing me, I don’t want pity or understanding, and we don’t live in a world where people are readily giving those things out. I want to understand myself, and I want to understand how to be myself and how to survive, maybe writing this will go some of the way towards that.

I have always, since I can remember, considered myself to be ‘depressed’ but I had never until recently considered myself to have a disability. It’s only as time progresses that I am realising how disabled I really am and how my mental health issues build walls around me, and how these walls are rising every day. I lost my virginity before I knew what my virginity was to a man who saw me as a commodity, and I spent my late childhood and early teens obsessed with sexuality, and my feelings of self-worth or lack of it, desperately trying to learn about the ‘real world’ and to take back control of my life. I had problems with my mother; she made it clear that I wasn’t who she thought I should be, to put it lightly, and for a couple of years I found it hard to find my place in school.

I have always blamed these things for why I feel so ‘down’ or ‘depressed’ all of the time, why I can’t seem to act or think or work in the same way as other people. I self-harmed all through my early teens, regularly and severely. I hid it for as long as I could and then when people found out I was labelled as ‘attention-seeking’, which left me feeling belittled, alone and stupid. I continued self harming in secret, compulsively; I would hit myself in the head or cut myself until I got exhausted and motionless, I would hyperventilate, and curl into a ball, my muscles would ache and I had the biggest adrenalin rush, like my body had finally found purpose in self-destruction. Once I completely lost control I would rip into my hair and dig my nails into my skin, panting, stiff, frustrated, and lost in the void… and then I would come round, like an actor ready to go out for their next scene.

My first suicide attempt was when I was 17, I swallowed a couple of packets of paracetemol and lay down on my bed listening to music and waited, I started to feel headachey and scared and nothing was happening, a guy I’d been sleeping with happened to call, and I answered the phone and told him; he took me to hospital. In the lead up to it and when I lay there, I genuinely wanted to die, I remember the feeling of clarity, letting go of everything and the relief, before the fear came. People say that if you really want to kill yourself, you will, and to some extent maybe that’s true. But I know that at that point, I had made my decision, I thought I was going to die and I had made it happen. It’s not often that I can remember a feeling, or a state of mind, but the memory of that one still terrifies me every day. I feel like I know how I’ll die; I’ll kill myself, it’ll be soon and I won’t be able to stop myself, I can’t see the future so I live in the present. Apathy is the most horrible feeling in the world. People think I’m lazy. People think I’m a party animal. People think I don’t have my priorities right. People think I don’t care about things. They’re right. But the older I get, the more I realise how much that’s to do with my disability.

I go through large spells without medication, because I avoid doctors, I avoid diagnosis, I deny my illness, and so I get lost in it. I can sit for a whole day and hate myself for not doing my uni work, I can sit and think of how I’m going to fail, and how useless I am for days, or for weeks. I’m scared of trying because I’m scared of failing. I’m scared of working towards a future that I don’t think I have. I’m scared of being sober, and trying to pretend to be a ‘normal’ person, trying to be an adult in this world. It’s so much easier to give up, it’s so much easier to get drunk and get laid when you feel like that’s the only way you can take control of your life. By giving up, you’re making a decision, and you can’t fail to realise it, you have succeeded at giving up. I look for fixes; sex, drugs, alcohol, tv, computer games to escape. I sleep with people to prove to myself that I can. I love sex, I don’t feel guilty any more, I see myself as a sexual object, with a value. The more attractive people want to fuck me, the better, the better I am as a person, these are the successes that I’m less afraid to strive for, it’s one of the compulsions that drives my life. I want to be popular, I want people to like me. I need people to validate me, every day, all the time.

In reality I know that my depression is something within me and something which drives my life and alters my path. I have been diagnosed with both depression and bi-polar disorder, under different mental health reviews during my late teens, as I began to read up around the subject, things started to make a lot more sense. I can see, objectively, the characteristics which I possess, but the problem was that in my mind, depression was curable, it was a disease. In films, you’d see the characters face their inner deamons and rise out of the ashes and I always expected this to happen to me. It’s only now that it’s dawned on me that I will never rise from the ashes and have my resolution. I spent a couple of months last year trying to fix myself, pull my skeletons out of the closet and address them. I told the police and my parents about my rape, I tried to stay sober, I went to the doctor and got the newest brand of anti-depressants that are in this year… But the reality is, I still have depression, and I always will. There will be incidents in my life that make me a victim and incidents that make me a bastard in society’s eyes, and they will come and go.

I have always been good at hiding my feelings, I come across as strong, confident and outspoken. Over opinionated and self assured, annoyingly so. I can’t hide my need for validation or my insecurities, as much as I’d like to, I’m an addict, and it overcomes me. I came out as LGBT was I was 14, and usually I don’t find it too difficult to keep doing so, I got a mixed reception but I mostly felt accepted by the wider world. I don’t talk about my mental health very often, but then who does? Most of my friends find out about it ‘the hard way’ when my smile cracks and I break down. I’m scared to define myself as disabled, I’m scared to ask for help, the reality is that I’m still that 13 year old boy who got called an attention-seeker and told to stop cutting himself. I’m still the teenager who’s good at exams so got good GCSEs and the A Levels, so no one bothered to wonder if anything was still wrong.

I can tell people that I might fuck another man, but I can’t tell people that I might fall apart at any time. That the reason I haven’t done my essay is because I don’t really give a shit because I’m trying to keep myself up on a high any way I can so I don’t kill myself. This article, like life, like depression, doesn’t have phoenix-rising resolution. It is simply honest. This is me coming out again (anonymously). This is me saying that I’m struggling and it’s fucking hard, and I feel numb all the time. But this article is filling a little section of the void. I apologise then if it’s selfish or self-indulgent as it inevitably comes across.

The silver lining at the bottom of this cloud is that I am hopeful, and I’m still alive, I have started asking for help. I’m not as scared to say I’m depressed, and I know that some things in my life are going to be harder than for other people. Fundamentally right now I want to get better, I don’t want to die, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. And to anyone reading this, if your friend is miserable, if they’re ‘lazy’, or never want to do anything, if they act in a way that you wouldn’t; consider that depression is common, and it’s not our fault, it’s our burden.


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