It's hard to explain to someone who doesn't understand. Who doesn't know what constantly feeling alone is like. Who doesn't fantasize about yanking their steering wheel left into the concrete median or dying in a plane crash.
It's hard to explain that the thought of death isn't an enemy, but a release. A release from brutalizing doubt. From the negative events running though my brain, then conscience, over and over. The constant regret. The cynicism. The inability to find any self worth or motivation.
My depression is dark. And sad. But my suicide fantasies are passive. What if I got in a car crash? Or died trying to defend someone from a mugger? That wouldn't be so bad. I find a lot of them push that line — the martyr or hero death. I realize it's a search for purpose, something I've lost since playing baseball wasn't an option anymore. So I look internally and then it grows darker when I can't find a new meaning to my life.
I've tried different things. New jobs. New hobbies. New girls. But nothing can fill the void. The patterns return. The deep sad lingers. All around me are people who could never understand. What's wrong with you? Cheer up! What do you have to be sad about? I don't blame them. It's not their battle. It's mine. A battle that always feels like a solo mission.
But that is just my brain tricking me. There are people out there who love me. Who want me to be happy. My family. Friends. E-bros and e-broads. I have leaned on them when things get really dark, and they help. In those times, just reach out. There are people there who care, I promise. And if you don't think you can, that's understandable. It took me a long time to admit it to my family how I was feeling. Years. A decade, if I'm honest. But I implore you to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-2738255. Please.
After that, look into long-term help. I'm not the poster boy, necessarily, being in and out of therapy for a few years now, but I can say that discussing the things you've been afraid to say out loud helps. It allows you to see different angles to something your brain has cornered.
I've seen a psychiatrist and am trying medication, too. I feel like the invisible hand of social pressure makes saying this public taboo, but I think that has to stop. We shouldn't be afraid to be honest with ourselves, our loved ones and friends because it's uncouth.
It's time to change how we stigmatize mental health and depression. Let's change a culture where death is more acceptable to the depressed than admitting they're sad. Let's make a pact.
I'm here if you need me. You're there if I need you.
Email Z.W. Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet him @ZWMartin.