The Black Dog *trigger warning*

It’s not a popular subject.  Its the elephant in the room, the back dog in the shadows, the looming presence of something unwelcome that you just can’t quite put your finger on.  It’s depression.  It’s permanent.  And if you are easily “offended” (or not in a good place right now) you should stop now.

This is where I get stuck.  Where do I even start?  Either you understand or you don’t.  You can either relate, or you can’t.  You either know what it feels like to think that your best and only option is to end your life, or you think, “just snap out of it, choose to be happy” (fuck those ‘inspiring’ memes, by the way).

I didn’t choose this.  I didn’t want to have thoughts of my dog sitting alone in an apartment, unfed and in her own mess, be the only reason I didn’t swallow every pill in the cabinet.  I didn’t want to think about taking her with me.

I didn’t grow up thinking, I want to be a worthless burden to my family.  I want to be the invisible person my entire life.  The one people don’t want to be around, forget to invite; the 37 year old single girl in a world of families who can’t afford to do anything, including pick up her laundry list of medications most of the time.  I didn’t dream of waking up every day in pain, of having days that my own body fights my every intended move, to feel beaten and exhausted by 3 pm, but still have two hours of work to plow through.  These were not my aspirations, ever.

And yet here I am.

Here I am fighting to survive in a world where I wake up and go to work, just to come home and go to bed by 9pm out of boredom and loneliness.  Where everyday feels like a sick version of groundhog day, reliving the same thing, day in, day out, for what?  Just to do it all over again.  Here I am drowning in 215 facebook friends and when in reality there is less than a handful of people who have any idea who I am or what is going on.

Don’t get me wrong,  I am forever grateful for those handful of people.  For coffee dates, breakfast meetings, video chats and encouraging words from the most surprising sources, telling me that I’m really not as awful and I have been lead to believe.  So grateful for boardgames and laughs so hard you snort and cry.  I, very literally, would not be here without them.

Depression is a vicious beast.  Its an abuser.  It hides the marks behind a smile and some jokes all day until you are alone.  It makes it’s victim ashamed to talk about what is really going on at home.  It carries a stigma with it, and it always seems “silly” that this is how I feel when other people have it, or have had it, so much worse than me.  It’s “no big deal”.

My message to people on the outside.  To the internet trolls, to the great advice giving friends:  Stop.  Shut your mouth.  You have no idea.  Honestly, I’m happy for you.  I am so happy for you that you have never experienced the feeling of hopelessness that comes when you pray to not wake up, and you do any how.  Like the powers that be are forcing your hand to just do it yourself.  I so happy for you that you have never felt that your loved ones would be better off without you here, not just that they would be happier, but that it would be a relief and that they would be able to thrive without you in their lives, dragging everyone and everything down like you always do.  I am jealous that you have never experienced the envy that comes when you hear of a suicide.  Envy that the person had the courage to end the suffering,  envy that it gets to be over for them, envy of their peace.

I know this might seem like a downer of a post.  I hope that none of this hits home, that it’s all foreign to you;  That you have never walked around feeling so hopeless and worthless that you are just hollow and numb.  I hope that you cannot relate.  That you have never been so surrounded by people and so alone, that you have never stayed home because your anxiety of being around people is fed by the knowledge that the group having fun is only going to make you feel like an outsider, and it’s actually less lonely just to be at home alone.

Depression is an illness.  I cannot just snap out of it.  I did not choose to wake up like this, trust me when I say that I would have chosen happy, had I been given the choice.  I don’t want to down under the weight of my own life, but here I am, clinging to a board in the middle of the perfect storm, when everyone around you seems to be at the swim up bar on a pool float working on their tan.

Please don’t tell me how I can get better if I wanted to.  You would never say that to someone with cancer, or any other physical disease.  Please don’t tell me that all I need to do is call a therapist, you have no idea how daunting that call is.  How much I worry that I cannot afford to get help, how I have called for help and cannot get a call back from anyone covered in the health care system (which is even better, when you are so worthless that the therapists won’t even call you back).  Try to refrain from telling me how immature I’m being, just because you don’t understand.  You can choose happy all you want to.  I will choose to try to survive.



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