One of the things I found really troublesome in addition to depression was the shame that came with it.
Dealing with depression is hard. Really hard.
For years I didn’t even recognize what was happening to me. I was experiencing an ever increasing low that soon was accompanied with anxious behavior in every waking hour. It eventually became chronic.
Depression would tell me that I was worthless, that life was worthless. Anxiety would tell me I was to feel ashamed for feeling that way. The two together became an everlasting dark circle.
When we feel ashamed of something we tend to keep silent about it. As do I.
I was convinced that opening up about my feelings and experience would make I people distance themselves from me. I was really afraid of how people would react.
So I continued to stay silent, forcing myself to cope with something I was sure no one else would give a damn about. But, I was wrong.
Trying to hide depression from the world made everything worse, not better. My anxiety worsened and suicidal thoughts became a daily encounter. Coming home from work I would break down in tears, panic and despair every night for months.
I had one friend which knew, at least partially, what was going on. This friend would try to convince me to seek professional help. I would not listen, or was too afraid and ashamed to take the advice. What would the doctors believe? What would friends and family think of me if I finally gave in and asked for help?
I was convinced that people would see me as a week person, as someone unable to handle a normal life, as a unworthy person deserving to be left alone. I believed they would treat me as the scraps I already felt like.
One night my suicidal thoughts was so strong that I was convinced my end was nigh. I wanted an end to the pain. It was either that or finally choose help.
I chose to ask for help.
I called my friend at 2 am. The friend would listen to me describing my pain for 2 hours. As I talked I became calmer and we decided that I would go to emergency the following day. Which I did.
Despite all the pain and darkness I somewhere within me wanted life more than death. I realized the death I had sought for in reality was for the pain to go away, not for me to go away.
It’s been 2,5 years since that night. Two and a half years of truly hard work, but also work that’s been worth it. I’m leading a content, satisfying life today. I’m happy and glad more than I am sad. Life goes up and down, for sure. But, I never hit those extreme depression lows anymore. And intense anxiety is pretty much absent from my day to day life.
If you’re reading this and shame or something else keeps you from seeking help, I want to encourage you to seek for help despite that. I know it’s hard, but I also know it’s worth it. And you are truly worth something better than the trap of depression. If you can, please try to put the opinions of others aside for just one moment and decide that your wellbeing is worth more than their opinions.
Shame has no rights. Change is indeed possible. Depression is not a final destination.