Exactly what recovering from a depressive episode feels like

For almost exactly one week, I wasn’t doing very well.

The above is a euphemism for the following: I planned my own death in almost every waking moment of a week’s time. I thought this would be the end of me. I cried in my bed because I thought I’d have to break up with my girlfriend so she wouldn’t feel as bad when I died. I missed two days of work, canceled my own birthday party, scared a ton of people and thought what is truly temporary to be permanent.

When I’m not depressed, I don’t think of dying as an option. When I AM depressed, it is the only option, and every other thing I do is just procrastinating before I eventually go through with it.

It’s probably impossible to understand unless you’ve been there, and even if you’ve been there, maybe you’ve forgotten because it’s been a long time.

I think normally I live mostly in the future, like I am always thinking/worrying about what will happen to me if such-and-such happens. I also think a lot of the past (necessary when you’re trying to heal from some PTSD). It’s safe to say I don’t spend a lot of time in the present.

They always say you should live in the NOW, the PRESENT, and that’s actually exactly what I do when I’m suicidal. There is only now, and now feels the worst I’ve ever felt. The past doesn’t matter, and why would we consider the future when there isn’t one? I’ve never been more in the present than I am when I’m planning how I’m going to die.

When I recover, which I ALWAYS do, I usually feel embarrassed first. I spent [amount of time] in a deep hole like the whole world wasn’t continuing per normal. I feel a little shy around the friends I was shaking and begging to save me in various ways. I feel guilty for freaking out when there was nothing to freak out about.

If you’ve spent a very intense amount of time, in my latest case, a whole week, in a coma of self-loathing, and you’ve planned how you will give your belongings away when you die, maybe started drafting your suicide note and made decisions on how it will be carried out, and then you’re suddenly better again? It’s fucking weird. Your body assumed it would not be existing pretty quick here, and then it did. It persevered, somehow, and you’re still alive.

It’s like being told by a doctor that you have 3 months to live, but 3 months go by and you’re still around. Each moment suddenly becomes a curiosity. Maybe you’re grateful, maybe you’re scared, but it feels a little unsure. Like you cheated the system. The only difference is that a doctor didn’t tell you shit, and you were actually in control the whole time.

Now you both have to and get to go on, and you have to try to make the best of it. Hopefully you learned something, or were at least reminded of a lesson you should have learned 10 years ago.

One of the hardest parts about surviving through this is that I want to judge everything about it. I want to judge myself so harshly. I picture other people judging it too–whether they are actually judging is not clear, but in my imagination, I’m a joke–and I am pretty hard on myself about it. When I feel THAT down, I don’t really think of the future so much that I don’t think of consequences. I don’t even just mean the consequences of suicide, I mean the consequences of feeling so bad, the consequences of freaking out at my best friend on FB chat or drinking too much or any of that. I operate under the assumption that I’ll be dead soon anyway, so my actions don’t even really matter.

And THEN, I don’t die! I live through it! And I have to live beyond the stupid things I did when I thought the world was ending. And then I somehow have to try and not judge it too harshly, because I will go nuts if I do.

Thanks to everyone who helped me get through it this time around.

Photo Credit


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