Depression Sucks: One Year Later

Updated: Feb 9, 2020

So I learned cut out the middle man, make it all for everybody, always. Everybody can't turn around and tell everybody, everybody already knows, I told them. -Childish Gambino AKA Donald Glover, "That Power"

Around this time last year, I was on my way back from formation on the phone with a girl I really cared about. Why? It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if it was a misguided attempt at loving someone who clearly and obviously didn't love me. It didn't matter if it was misguided attempt at nostalgia and a childlike desire to have the things I used to have. It doesn't matter if I was a misguided attempt at rekindling a love that had been smoldering, but with no real spark. No, all that matters was that my life had begun to collapse on itself, and I was prepared to let it.

I can sugarcoat it all I want, my intention on March 10, 2016 was to end my life. Why? Pick any reason a millennial posts their depression on Facebook or a motivational picture on Tumblr. Not good enough for my family, single and alone after being in fleeting relationships, toxic workplace, the phone call was the final straw. Throw in a head injury resulting in my third concussion, my second in three years and things start to make sense. To work out my frustrations, I smashed a lot of my room up with a tree branch. When that didn't solve anything, I was gonna copy the (first) time Frank Underwood tried to convince Peter Russo to kill himself in House Of Cards. I had all the tools, but I decided to text someone. I didn't think she'd reply, but she did, even bringing extra support.

When they arrived, there was no judgement, just people trying to help someone else out. It was the first altruistic thing I've seen since I'd moved here. A lot of people think texts or posts or whatever are cries for attention. They're absolutely right. I prefer to be isolated, especially at low points, but that's the worst thing that can happen. When you don't know who to talk to, you broadcast to everyone. That's why 7 Cups or /r/depression and /r/suicidewatch can be so effective; it gives you a forum to release almost anonymously. And to get through depression, that's what we need. We can't honestly talk about depression; it's too sad. But we can make anthropomorphic animals in a parody of Hollywood make us examine ourselves.

We as millennials get blamed for being too soft or snowflakes, and I can understand that, despite being taught that we're special and unique our whole lives. Problem is, a lot of these problems are valid. Home prices are higher than they've ever been. Most jobs require a bachelors degree, the same one that's putting millions of students in mountainous debt. We're also likely to be the first generation to lose jobs due to automation. So it's either trying to find a way to save up enough to live a normal life or going back to mom and dad's.

But what does all this have to do with me? I'm locked into a job, my college is being paid for by the government. Both those things are true. But those are only the external reasons. If money bought happiness, there'd be a lot fewer misers in the world. Internally, there's things I simply can't explain. I can't tell you why I can't sleep. I can't tell you why I feel abjectly alone. And yes, I have tried to stop being sad. But similar to a broken hand or a twisted ankle, I can't will it back to health.

But as I've learned over the past year, there is hope. The person I called had done a suicide-intervention training course with me a few months prior. She identified everything, most importantly, the fact that I wanted to live. Most of the time, suicide is less of a melodramatic response and more of a pragmatic solution that people aren't really sure is OK. For example, I have a hard time believing I'm a good person. Years of being conditioned by various churches that in a sinner that deserves to burn in hell had twisted me. I left the church shortly after I joined the army, but things hadn't quite healed. But that's OK. When I'm nervous, I chew gum-watermelon 5 gum to be exact. I'll go through two or three packs a day. But that's OK. If I feel myself losing control and getting too excitable, I'll talk myself down, usually audibly. But that's OK.

Things haven't turned completely around. I still have issues, still personal problems and persistent demons. But again, that's OK. And the reason isn't because "we're all broken in our own way", although each of us has out own unique sets of trials and difficulties. It's because depression is a journey. It takes time and effort. You can't sit and let depression work itself out. You need to attack it and do your best to work over it. This isn't going to be over days or weeks; you'll have defeats. But when you dedicate years to bringing yourself out of the slough of despair you've found yourself in, that's when you've won. And when you stack victory after victory after victory by investing in yourself for years at a time, you learn and grow.

It's been a year. A roller coaster. But I'm still standing. And just like Rocky or Creed, that's unbelievable in itself. But moving forward, let's not avoid defeat, but gain victory.

#Braven #Editorial #Depression

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