By Tali Rainess
Depression doesn’t just come and go, it breathes you in. It feels as though you have become depression yourself. It fully encompasses you and you know nothing else but its sinking and tugging at your heart. Friends ask you to do something fun like acro-yoga or Dave and Busters, and you just lay in bed and hope that sleep takes you away longer this time. Your alarm clock rings and you come to the slow realization that you are awake and alive, your worst nightmare.
And so you cry. And it’s not the pretty girl cry that you see in the movies. It’s ugly. It’s a runny nose, soundless screaming, barely breathing crying. It’s the crying that seems like it will never end.
The crying is at its worst when you come home from work and you are alone. You walk into your apartment, headphones in, and you lock the door to your bedroom. You fall to the floor and bang your head against the door, half hoping someone hears you and the other half hoping it echoes in the silence, like a tree falling in a forest with no one around to hear it. And so you sleep. 6pm, you don’t even bother putting on pajamas. You cry yourself to sleep and pray to a God you don’t believe in, asking for him to spare you the pain of waking up.
Sleep is your only escape. Consciousness is too painful to bear. You ponder why breathing isn’t an option. You take a bath to soothe yourself, but you end up pretending to drown. You listen to music to calm you down, but you end up listening to evanescence full blast. You color in a coloring book to take your mind off of life but you end up stabbing the book with all your strength. You begin to crochet a scarf but then you throw all of it in the air wishing it would stop taunting you. You read a book to distract you, to bring you into a different world, but the lure is never enough. Before you know it, you’ve exhausted all your coping skills.
So you sleep your life away. You lose 8 pounds in a week. You stop going to work and school. You don’t leave your bedroom for any reason but to use the restroom. You’ve been here before, which makes it hurt all the worse.
This is the life of someone with severe depression.
Depression opens its arms to anyone, it doesn’t discriminate. Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease, combined. Why don’t we talk about it then? Why is suicide a taboo topic? Why is it so stigmatized? Why must we hide from our loved ones, teachers, doctors, and even therapists, afraid of judgment or rejection of love?
Society has taught us that crying is a sign of weakness. It has also taught us that suicide is a crime. In our society, you don’t “die” by suicide, you “commit” suicide. That brings so much shame and guilt into the matter. When someone is thinking of suicide, they are not thinking maliciously. They are not being selfish and they are not asking for attention. They are in desperate need of safety and professional help.
In order to reverse the stigma associated with depression and suicide, we must advocate. The time to talk about suicide is right now. Educate others, enlighten others, and give hope. We cannot stay silent.