There is a certain numbness that comes with depression. I find that when I am depressed, I feel nothing in the morning. I go about my routine in a complete emotional and spiritual void. And then sometime in the afternoon or evening, something changes and the darkness filters in.
In these times, I want to be alone, and yet being alone is the worst thing I can do for myself. Alone, it is easier to be overwhelmed by the depths of my depression—easy to let the tiredness sink into my bones and stop me from moving, easy to let the awful thoughts creep in and the overwhelming sadness to settle on my chest, a heavy weight, a prison I can’t escape.
I know my weariness is depression when I start wanting to hide. To get under my desk. To get in my closet and lay on the floor. To fold into nothingness and disappear until the sun comes up and I am temporarily relieved of the aching black hole in my chest.
I knew when I moved to a city where I had few friends that there would be a period of depression. And yes, it has come and gone and I deal with it when it pokes its head around a corner to mournfully stare me down.
I have many friends who know depression. I support them when they let me. And they support me, when I let them.
The reason I write today is because of a recent tragedy. A friend of mine from high school took his own life.
We weren’t that close in high school. We were friendly and had many classes together and occasionally hung out with mutual friends. But he had an easy-going spirit that drew people in, he was kind and funny and charming. We had inside jokes with one another and knowing that we had that made my life better, because to be friends with this boy felt like being accepted into a happy world where dreams could come true—he seemed endlessly optimistic and delighted with what the world had to offer.
I would never have guessed he suffered from depression. I knew some things about his personal life that might have indicated something, but my memories of him were too bright for me to even consider it.
When he went off to college, I checked in on Facebook occasionally to see how he was doing. I always imagined great things for him. He was creative and smart and I couldn’t imagine the world doing anything but raining accolades upon him.
At one point over the past year or so, I noticed he had disappeared. He had either unfriended everyone or deleted his old Facebook and gotten a new one—I could see he existed on the social network but he was no longer my “Friend”. I thought it was odd but not that odd—we hadn’t spoken in several years. I was slightly hurt but I forgot almost immediately.
This is when my heart breaks.
I think, “I should have known! I should have seen! He was cutting everyone out!”
But I must force myself to admit that I don’t really know. I don’t know anything about his life for the past several years. What I do know is pieced together from rumors and secondhand stories.
All I know for certain is that this sweet person with a twinkle in his eye felt enough overwhelming despair that he could no longer take it.
It’s no one’s fault. But it is so easy to feel like I could have done something. It’s ludicrous, I know. Grief manifests in ways that are easily dismissed logically but impossible to shake emotionally.
I’m rambling. It’s hard for me to organize my thoughts when I am so profoundly shaken. But I do have a few points that I want to get across:
- Support each other. Never ask “why?” but always ask “what do you need?”
- Understand that even the person who smiles the most can be hiding their own darkness.
- Mourn the lost, but never place blame.
- If you are depressed, let yourself be loved. It’s difficult and can seem impossible at times. But it helps.
To my dear friend,
It hurts me greatly to think of your last moments. My heart aches for your suffering, and for those you have left behind. I wish peace and love upon you and upon your family.
I will remember you forever for the joy you brought to my life.