Those who live with depression fight a battle that only people who have suffered or are suffering from this illness know about. Millions suffer from depression, but this stigma surrounding therapy or medicine prevents the treatment of this devastating disease. This stigma has lead to sufferers inflicting self-harm on themselves or even committing suicide. Often after someone has committed suicide, there are talks of them being selfish or a coward, but this fight that they lead, for most likely many years, is not just this single punctuation mark.
I have suffered from suicidal thoughts for many years. Even some nights I can still hear the thoughts in my head pushing me to the end, but these ideas aren’t just another nameless voice; it is my voice I hear. This voice twist and distorts my image of myself into an imaginarium of horrors, of fears, of self-loathing. Few outside this realm of depression can understand the crushing feeling of being against yourself and what seems to be your thoughts.
Depression, in some ways, is like being in a building several stories up. You are standing on the cusp of the edge, and all you feel behind you is heat from a flame. Your instincts tell you that you don’t want to get touched by the fire because it will burn you, but the only way to go is to jump into the abyss. These metaphorical flames block your view, and all you can see is fear, being alone, and nothingness. It isn’t like a regular illness because you are manufacturing these lies, and the belief in these lies can lead to injury and death.
For me, after many years of dealing with suicidal thoughts by myself, it became a routine—a part of the day. In that I think is the real tragedy of depression; the mundane thoughts of self-harm. You may scoff at these thoughts, but when they come in the night when you are low, they can be the deadliest. This is a battle of the mind, and a dangerous one at that.
This is only my personal experience with suicidal thoughts, and those who suffer should contact a doctor, or at the very least talk to someone they trust. Talking through these experiences can cause a catharsis and elevate the pressure of these thoughts. If you think someone you know is suffering, make sure you’re there for them and they know you love them. This is an illness of preventative care, not restorative, and being there can mean the difference between life and death. To those who say those are selfish for suicide, maybe someone you love is being afflicted right now.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at: 1-800-273-8255.