Depression, Suicide, mental health, mental illness

There has been a lot of talk about depression of late, particularly due to the tragic passing of Robin Williams. Blogs have exploded with personal accounts of this disease and I can’t recall a time when people were more comfortable sharing their own experiences.

This is the only way others who are unfamiliar with the disease, can get a glimpse of what it’s actually like to live with depression and begin to understand it. So, what is it actually like to live with depression?

Well, imagine for a moment that you have no energy. Sleep is the only escape. Unlike everyone around you, who can get up and go to work, look after the kids, play sport, attend social events; all this is completely overwhelming.

Then there is the hopelessness which plagues your thoughts. You worry that you don’t have the energy to perform your role in society. You worry about how you are going to get everything done in your life, which is expected of you. You have heard countless times to just get on with things and have tried so fiercely to do so; but continue to fail. Then you worry because you are failing. You don’t feel like you are worth much because, in all honesty, you just want to sleep. You are emotionally drained by the excessive worry in your head.

The hopeless thoughts never stop either. You feel you are letting down your loved ones. You should be able to function, but there is like an invisible force stopping you. No one else can see it or feel it, but you know all to well, that it’s there. Every bit of your strength is used to push forward, against the invisible force, the thoughts in your head and your physical exhaustion.

Some people head to the doctor to seek medical assistance. Although doctors still don’t understand why you feel so bad about everything and why all your energy has vanished; they can offer various medications, which may or may not help.

Rather than basing the type of medication they prescribe you, on any exact science; they will offer you an antidepressant to see if it works. Long-term sufferers will have tried so many different types of meds that they would have lost count. Initially, the medication makes you feel sick. For the first two-six weeks you feel like vomiting. After that, if the meds actually “work”, a numbness comes over you. You don’t worry as much, but you don’t care as much in generally either. It’s a bit like being an emotional zombie.

This is the medical professions “cure”. Mind you, once on a medication for a period of time; coming off of it, is much like withdrawing from illicit drugs. You will experience sweats, nausea, vomiting and extreme emotional highs and lows. This is why many people with depression turn to self medication. At least with a preferred substance in your system, the exhaustion is temporarily relieved and you might be able to get up and achieve some things. Plus, your emotions remain in tact.

Either way, your fight with depression leads to addiction. Whether is be illegal or legal drugs, is the choice of the sufferer. There is no “cure”. There is no idea of the root cause and for many people, the thought of living with such despair is too great. They see suicide as their only option.

This is the reality of living with depression.

By Kim Chartres