Invisible Monsters

8.20.2016

I don’t want to bum anyone out, but this one isn’t going to be fun.

Through out my life I have struggled with clinical depression.

It’s almost obnoxious to even write that out. I’m rolling my eyes while releasing an audible, “ugh”, just to so you don’t have to.

It’s so fucking trendy to have a mental disorder these days.

When did that happen, anyways?

Bear with me.

My depression is something I tend to hide. Up until now I’ve only shared this information with a handful people that I thought might benefit from knowing about it. I’ve had a few friends in the past where I notice that they are exhibiting the usual signs and who seem to be in real pain and act as if they are unable to talk about it.
So I talk.
Sometimes it seems to really help.
I think most people attempt to hide it, but if you’ve ever been there yourself, you can tell when other people are in pain.

Let me be clear: I don’t like bringing this up to just anyone. I still struggle with talking about it because it makes me feel weak. It makes me feel powerless. It makes me feel like I’m complaining about something that is just in my head, which is fucking embarrassing.

And yes, that is the right word for it.

The only reason I ever do talk about it to anyone, is because it’s lonely being in your head and feeling like no one understands the pain that you may not even understand yourself. And when I see someone like that, I feel like they should know they’re not alone and there are ways to deal with it.

Depression is a bitch. It’s debilitating, it’s absurd, it’s definitely abnormal, and it’s confusing as fuck.
It’s hell.

It’s not hell in the sense that the world is crumbling around you. In fact, you might not even have any “real” problems yet it feels like the world is resting upon your chest. Complaining about an invisible pain that no one else can see or verify while you don’t have any obvious problems is a really weird situation to be in. You feel like a jackass asking anyone for help, because why would you need help, everything appears to be good? What can they help you with anyways? How could they even help if you asked them?

To be honest, that’s something I have struggled with a lot. I have felt like a whiny little asshole even mentioning my depression to people who haven’t struggled themselves. It’s because in the back of my head I still feel guilty for feeling sad. Right now I am thinking about all the reasons why I should never be sad and why it might seem silly to even write this. I compare myself to people with “real” problems and I try to just push it away. I tell myself the pain isn’t real and that it’s only in my head and I constantly think that no one gives a shit about this silly little thing when so many have visible problems to worry about.

I know, that’s not the healthiest way of thinking about it. But it’s kind of how we treat it, right?

I mean unless you’re an asshole writing a blog post about your depression, for mot people it seems easier to not draw attention to themselves and their debilitating lows so they can quietly figure it out.
That’s what I usually do.

Like I said, it’s embarrassing.

The catch?
Depression is real and it fucking blows.

We all know that one friend who seems to love being sad, right? There’s always that one obnoxious cunt that always has something to complain about and who self sabotages every possible way of making themselves happy and/or picking themselves up out of the infinite rut that they’ve dug themselves into.

(Hi, My name is Matt. Nice to meet you.)

It’s hard to feel sorry for those people. They do it to themselves, right? They just love being sad.

Let me tell you a secret: They don’t.

Their brains are screwy and they’re in pain and probably don’t know how to deal with it. They don’t love being sad at all. They hate it.

It’s a nightmare that doesn’t end when you wake up. It’s a constant awareness of the fact that you’re very down while nothing “real” seems to be wrong. It feels like you’re horribly alone. It feels like no one in the world can understand the constant pain because you don’t understand it yourself. Your heart will slow down then speed up all while it feels like a giant weight is resting on your chest. The demons are within and the brain lacks the ability to keep ‘em at bay. It’s dark. It’s confusing. It’s scary.

Depressed people don’t kill themselves because they love being sad. They don’t even kill themselves because they are sad!
They kill themselves because feeling alone and helpless is worse than being sad. They kill themselves because their brains are tricking them into thinking that it won’t ever end.

And guess what? A lot of people struggling with depression kill themselves.

I know I’ve thought about it. Countless times.

I’ve even lost people to suicide so I’ve seen the trauma it causes to everyone close to that person.
It’s selfish, it’s cowardly, It’s ridiculous and it’s fucking weak.

And yet I’ve thought about it. Countless times.

I flirted with the idea for most of my youth. I even half-assed attempted it a few times. In times of deep depression, I have lived recklessly in a conscious effort to boost the likelihood of my own demise.
I knew better than that, yet a constant pain kept bringing me back to the idea that this was a way out. It was the same imaginary pain that no one could see and that I couldn’t entirely explain.

Multiple times I talked myself off the metaphorical ledge because I couldn’t fathom the amount of hurt that I would have caused my dad. Don’t get me wrong, it would destroy a lot of people and it would have caused a lot of pain, but my dad was the hardest person to think about. I would fantasize about the aftermath and how the rest of the world would eventually move on, but I could never get over the idea of causing my old man any amount of pain.
Shit, I still can’t.

It’s embarrassing to admit any of this, and like I said, it’s incredibly difficult to explain... but that’s the reality.

When you’re depressed, it’s hard to remember what not being depressed is like. You feel trapped. You feel an incredible amount of sadness that seems like it will go on forever. You see other people being happy and you can’t seem to figure out how to get what they have. Smiles become little reminders that something is off and that you’re alone. You begin to think there is no point beyond pain because there seems to be no light at the end of the tunnel.

It’s fucking dark.

It’s all a lie though.

The pain is real, there is something wrong, and you can fix it.
Because that’s what depression really is.
It’s a real problem within the brain that is treatable and manageable.
It’s not made up, and it’s not someone seeking attention. It’s a disorder where the brain is acting abnormally and lying to your consciousness telling you all that dark shit. It’s something you can see and it’s something you can fix. It’s in your head only in the sense that your brain isn’t operating correctly. But that isn’t you, is it? The brain is just another body part separated from our consciousness. We can fix body parts.

I know, because I had to ask for help.
And that's the hardest thing I’ve done.

I never wanted to ask anyone for help because I truly didn’t understand that it was a “real” problem. I didn’t want to feel powerless and I didn’t want to admit to myself or anyone else that I had a mental disorder. But, I was alone and I was in a dark place. I scared myself and I figured I should at least try something new.

And it worked.

I may have a screwy fucking brain that lies to me at times, but at least now I know what the lie is. I sought out help and figured out what I was dealing with. More importantly, I learned how to help myself. I have found so many ways to exorcise my demons, and I have learned how to handle myself in ways that mostly prevent them from coming back. It won’t completely die, but when I do feel depression coming on, I’ve learned how to battle it.

That’s something I wish I knew when I was younger. I wish someone had come up to me and let me know I wasn’t alone and that there are many different ways of dealing with it. Fuck, I just wish someone told me it was real. It’s fucking scary being a kid and hating life when everyone else seems to be enjoying themselves. It’s even more terrifying when you feel alone and confused about how everyone else seems to be fine.

Even if they’re not.
I think a lot of people are struggling and they aren’t talking about it.

I’m writing this because I’ve talked to a few people recently who have expressed similar thoughts. No one talks about this shit! No one. It’s a real problem when stuff like this is so hush-hush in society. People kill themselves all the time because they don’t want to burden others with their pain by seeking help or talking about it. They hold it in, don’t seek help, and let it build until they do something drastic. It’s heartbreaking because it’s so fucking preventable.

I’m opening up a lot on this blog, probably more than most people would like... but this is the only one that I hope other people open up about as well.

If you are struggling with depression, find some fucking help. Talk to someone, go to a doctor, Google what to do, get some exercise, make some goals for yourself, e-mail me, do whatever you can do to realize it’s temporary and that you’re not alone. That sounds so fucking cliché, but it’s true. Whatever you’re dealing with is real and there are ways to help yourself and get better. It’s embarrassing, but so is being sad. Try getting help.

And if you know someone struggling with depression, just talk to them. For fuck’s sake, just talk to them. Even if you don’t understand what they’re going through, just talk to them. If they can’t explain it or don’t want to talk, make them get help another way, because they are suffering and they are alone and their brains are telling them there’s no way out and that does scary shit to people.

There are plenty of ways I was able to get a handle on my depression. Anti-depressants aren’t always the answer and I’m definitely not an advocate for any prescription medications. I have used them, I will most likely use them in the future, and I know plenty of people who use them all the time. I’ve had countless conversations about all the different medications with many people who have similarly struggled with depression like me. One thing that I have found, that many others have as well, is that the medications are not all the same. Whatever works for me may not work for you at all. The first medication I was ever on made me feel like dog shit and made me go to darker places. It was terrifying. I felt like if the powerful drugs couldn’t help, I was fucked. It wasn’t true. This is important to remember when trying to curb depression. Just because one thing doesn’t work right away, don’t give up... something will.

For me personally, I’m aware that sometimes I may need to be on medication. I hate being a slave to the pills so I do things in my life to actively avoid needing them. I haven’t taken them in a long time, but I still have them.
I still get embarrassed when someone finds my bottle of pills and asks, “What’s this for?”

It’s OK to be embarrassed.

It’s OK to need help.

It’s OK.

Life is short. Stick around.

-Matthew