I’m still here.
And the day started out pretty positive. It felt like a day to celebrate being here, rather than to reflect on how very close I came to the end. I thought of all the things I would have missed. The moments with my wife, (marrying my wife), the trips, the friends, the laughter.
And then I caught sight of myself in a mirror, and the landslide began.
Every mirror grabbed me by the throat after that, squeezing the life out of me. And the usual doubts flooded in, bringing the debris of self loathing to knock me around until it became hard to breathe. Those annihilation thoughts were hailstones; I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be putting other people through having to deal with me. I should go and allow the space I take up to be used by someone without my plethora of issues. Someone who doesn’t look like Mrs. Potato Head squashed into clothes.
It was a tough day.
And this is part of why we go away every year to celebrate my rebirthday. The day I didn’t follow through.
What so many people don’t realise about depression is that it’s a daily battle. It’s illogical and senseless some days. (Most days?) But it is what it is. January, for many people with mental health stuff, is super hard. It’s these torrential thoughts that threaten to take us under, even though we know we are loved and that life IS worth sticking around for.
As the little ornament my wife got me says: No storm lasts forever. This will pass, and I will keep fighting because I know there are good days too. And I want to be there for those.
If you’re struggling, please reach out. Talk to people who understand. Talk to the ducks at the park. Talk to the pigeons in your yard. But speak up, and don’t let the thoughts fester in the dark, noisy place of your mind. Distract yourself. Hang out with a friend who doesn’t mind your silence but who will also help get you out of your head.
We ended up having a lovely two days. My wife held my hand and let me cry. She made me laugh. We saw an amazing show and marvelled at the breathtaking beauty of it. And we talked. She checked in. She let me sit quietly and then helped distract me. I am fully aware of how lucky I am.
Find your thing. That thing that pulls you away from your own brain. The thing that gets you thinking other thoughts. Reach out to the people who can be your thing. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Nor should you be, even though your brain is telling you otherwise.
Your story is not over. The storm will pass. Hang on.