Understanding My Depression and Staying Still

I am what I refer to as ‘leveled’ right now in terms of my depression. Whenever I’m leveled I usually try to take advantage of my energy by eating three meals a day, working out, writing, and creating to-do lists I have a realistic chance of completing. I’ve never really timed these leveled moments, but I know roughly, they’ll last a few weeks before I or something in my life triggers me to retreat into a heavy sadness. Thereafter I’m stuck for a few days with thoughts that feel more like reality than my actual life – which always waits impatiently for me to come back. It never pauses or slows, though I can’t blame it.

I’d like to say it has gotten easier for me throughout the years. I’ve been depressed since I was in my early teens and first considered suicide when I was seventeen. When I’m in the thick of it now, it still feels like my emotions weigh a million ton. My brain is as harsh as it has ever been and every time I recover I’m surprised I made it out again.

What’s helped me over the years is a mix of things. I went to therapy for two years. Changed my diet by dabbling in veganism before settling on a type pescetarian diet. Started trying out different exercises before figuring out I really enjoy biking and Pilates. I’m sure my efforts made and still make a difference, but the efforts, of course, never seem to completely do away with my recurring episodes of sadness.

I attended college with the depression. Occasionally skipped classes and dropped courses because of the strain. I met my boyfriend while struggling to get a hold off crying spells between dates and late night text conversations. I loss friends because a part of me insisted on juggling friendships and mental health was a feat I wasn’t strong enough to take on. And, besides, who really wanted to hang out with a person who seemed to never completely get out of the darkness? At least, that’s what I reminded myself each time I held back in my social life.

Having a suicide plan is something I’ve never admitted to anyone. I’ve shared my thoughts of suicide with a therapist, but always denied I had a plan because I was too afraid of what might happen. I’d read frightening stories of people who were hospitalized for their own safety and I couldn’t take the idea of numerous people finding out that my mind was in such a dark place I was going against basic human survival instinct.

How I got through the suicidal thoughts was being still. It’s something I coax myself to do on those terribly dark days. Being still with depression feels like second nature. But being still with suicidal thoughts often became a challenge for me. When something’s wrong I like to act. Even if that acting a simple Google search. Staying still and waiting for the next day is what kept me alive. It’s what continues to keep me alive.

I’ve been on this journey for ten years now. Most times it doesn’t feel like I’ve learned anything because my thoughts get so dark. But, I’m still here so something must be working. So, my advice to anyone who is struggling would be to be still when it comes to thoughts of ending your life. And definitely move when it comes to talking, or running, or eating, or praying, or writing. Whatever works.

There are ways to get through this. I know it doesn’t feel like it the majority of the time, but I promise.

If you need help or just want to educate yourself more about suicide prevention visit here. Thanks for taking the time to read this. And if you’re hurting please reach out. If not to me then to someone. Anyone you trust. I’m rooting for you.