He stands across from me ready to beat my ass.
The lights are blinding as you stand in the middle of the ring. You fall, hurt, bleeding and dizzy from the recent attacks. your family calls out, yelling from the corner. They are giving you instructions on how to evade the next attack but their words are incomprehensible and muffled. Another incoming, bam…,bam …the strikes hit hard and the force plunges into your soul taking your breath and energy to fight back. A moment ago you were fine and on your feet and now you are back down hurting, aching and wanting it just to stop. You put your hand up to protect your face as another one slips through pounding your ego into mashed potatoes.
I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS.!
Fighters in the ring go through this but on a volunteer basis. As a person who battles with depression I can tell you this is what it is like when life keeps hammering you down and you lack necessary coping skills. The bruises are not superficial they are deep and laden with emotions that cripple your ability to get up and function like the rest of society. While people in your life are like the fighters team in the corner, you are completely alone in the ring battling a beast who is hell bent on beating you down with no intention of stopping. People who dont understand what depression is like will tell you things like,” just get out and do something, it will make you feel better”. What they don’t realize is that it takes every bit of strength you have just to get out of bed and face a world that you feel is cruel and dark. In the middle of the fight like around round 5 or 6 out of 12 Simple every day living activities are 10x harder and progress is quick to fall behind. you are sometimes hungry and want to eat, sometimes…but you lack the motivation to fix anything. When you finally muster up the energy to make something you are suddenly struck with horrible nausea. In you head you feel like a failure. I mean you beat yourself up for not even doing the dishes last night or being able to take care of yourself. You often feel a sense of loss which brings more feelings of despair.
Instead of a real person that is punching you in the face every time you try to get up, it is you..you are your own worst enemy. but the you that is doing the beating seems bigger and dark and seems so strong. Fear zaps your spirit and buckles your knees.
I SEE A WAY OUT
I have fought this beast called depression many times and so far I have defeated him with some very, very close calls. Suicide to a person that is being beaten from the inside can seem like the only way to make the pain stop. The reason i chose the analogy of a boxing match is because the fight is so similar. In a real boxing match it is the better thinker that wins. it is a mind game. Depression is also a very serious mind game, one that can potentially be deadly. When you are in the heat of a new episode of depression and you are in the third round AND you are already drowning, the 12th round can seem like a long…long way off. For runners it would be like being on mile two in a marathon and thinking shit I don’t know if I can make it to mile 26.
what people who don’t have depression really don’t get… is that the sad feeling can come and go like ocean waves. you might be doing good with a couple small waves you get up, dust off and recover quick because it wasn’t that bad….and just when you have your back turned….BAM you get hit with a humongous wave that knocks you right on your ass. Ding ! Ding ! Round One..
CAREFUL WITH THE MEDS !!!
Medications are helpful sometimes but they really are just putting on a band aid and not getting to the source of your pain that you are dealing with, not to mention the side effects they can have. Some of the effects can be mood swings, like you didn’t already have that issue. Sexual problems, like not being able to climax or decreased sensitivity. That can be a disaster and cause more feelings of inadequacy. But, with that being said…if you need them to help you fight the big guy, then take them until you can find your stability. What i recently discovered on a personal basis is that if you already have bi-polar tendencies some of the medications can cause, increase in high risk behavior, hyper-sexuality, promiscuity, and delusions of grandeur. A tornado of events can take place destroying your family and security and sometimes other families as well.
You think you were depressed before, now you have shattered probably half of your support team. After all this and fighting through a tough 12 rounds,… again like the promise of a new wave i was knocked down again and hard. This time I was determined to fight without the medications. I moved 1000 miles from home and took up travel nursing in which i have a very small one bedroom apartment. I live minimum of 3 hours away from anyone I know.
SUNSHINE WILL HELP…RIGHT??
At first, the sunshine and palm trees of south Florida felt like they were helping. Also the thought of no cold winter was attractive. I mean who the fuck wants to be depressed on the verge of suicide and be frozen…shit no!! not me. The main problem with this theory is that the anti-depressants hadn’t completely left my system yet. Once they were no longer in my system and adding the pressure of a new job and a new town …ugggg here it comes!!!! BAM.. DING, DING ! Round one of the toughest fights of depression I have had since I was a teenager contemplating jumping off of the side of a mountain to end my suffering. and in the solace of being alone in a quiet place, the ghost of your past come to visit. E. Scrooge would have a few things to say about this phenomenon. In this situation your mean self can be very boisterous and heartless. Every single thing in your life that you have not delt with that is causing you pain and suffering jumps over the ropes like it is a WWE free for all.
ROUND TWELVE! FINALLY
I am happy to say that after a few weeks of beat downs I am starting to feel better, without the medications I might add. This time I didn’t even think about suicide, in fact, it really has been a few years since I seriously considered it. I had friends and family helping me through this bout. Plus, someone who I have had a special connection too (also one of the victims of my manic behavior) stuck with me and coached me through this very tough time. I owe a lot to these people because without them I can’t say what the outcome may have been. And my girls, my two lovely daughters with whom I cherish and hope they overcome any thoughts of depression. Leaving them without a daddy is not part of the plan and that might be the strongest positive force in my life. They are my life. I love you girls with all my heart.
I cant say enough of how important it is to stick with your loved one that is in the ring fighting everyday. Talk to them even when it seems like they aren’t listening. Your words will intermittently come through. Be patient, it takes time to go through these twelve rounds. Hug them and hold them when they cant seem to return the love, remember it takes energy they cant spare yet. Be in their corner, they fight the beast alone but cheerleaders don’t hurt. Watch for the signs of giving up. Get professional help for them if they need it……..it is a matter of life and death. Suicide is devastating, and its like dropping a bomb in the middle of a family unit… when the smoke clears not one person attached to this individual will ever be the same. We as a nation morn the death of one of my childhood idols, on August 11th, 2014, Robin Williams took his life. A man that gave so much and yet felt like he had nothing. His comedy pulled me out of some really rough times in my youth. If only he knew that I wasn’t the only one that listened to his animated humor and took a break from life for a minute and learned to laugh. Here are some resources to help in a family crisis with depression and suicide.
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention www.afsp.org LIFE LINE # 1-800-273-TALK
NIMH NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF MENTAL HEALTH http://www.nimh.nih.gov
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFLINE.. http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
I hope that this bit of my life experience will help someone who is suffering. If it saves just one life it is worth it to me for people to know my struggle. This is most likely not even close to my best writing but hey it is worth sharing. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I hope that if you are suffering, please tell someone and get help.
Austin F. Chapin III I’m Still fighting the good fight October 10th, 2015