My name is Logan and I have depression.
I don’t know how long I’ve had depression. The truth is, it’s just always been there. It took a different shape and form when I was younger, being really sad when school ended every summer and not feeling like I fit in with the other kids. Was that clinical depression? Maybe not. By high school, my self esteem was tattered at best. I remember people calling me fat and a whore, among other things. I remember desperately wanting to feel like I fit in and feel at ease. I recall lounging in bed on Saturday afternoons, wondering what my family would think if they found me dead? Would they cry over me? Would my friends from school come to my funeral?
I first knew something was wrong shortly after leaving high school. I knew it couldn’t be normal to lay in bed for days at a time crying, to go without a shower for a week or more. I made an appointment with my GP, who said “Oh you’re just depressed.” He wrote me a $100 prescription for a month of antidepressants and sent me on my way. No referral to a psychiatrist, no follow up with him, just a pat on the head and a good luck. Things didn’t get better.
Fast forward to about 6 years later. I had my dream job that I loved, a husband, a child… Things couldn’t be any better. Except, inside, I was still the same defective person I always had been. I still had bouts of depression, but things overall were okay. But I am a self-sabotager. I had a wonderful thing going, but I made some bad choices that would ruin everything.
In October of 2013, I found myself on suicide watch in my local hospital, waiting to be moved to a psych ward. I had voluntarily admitted myself after having strong suicidal urges all evening. I wanted to die. I would stay in the psych ward for a week, too much of a danger to myself to eat with plastic cutlery, and sleeping next to a girl who screamed and bit in her sleep.
Depression is a sneaky illness. I bet a lot of people in my life never knew I attempted suicide multiple times. Those of us with depression are pretty good at one thing: fake smiles. We’re great at being the life of the party or charming coworkers, but inside we’re slowly dying, screaming for someone to help us. And when we are brave enough to confide in someone about our illness, too often we’re met with crushing reaponses. Just snap out of it. Oh things aren’t THAT bad. Well at least you aren’t —-. Nobody would tell a cancer patient to snap out of it. Nobody would tell someone with HIV at least it isn’t AIDS.
Robin Williams passed away one year ago today from suicide. While I obviously never knew him, it was a loss that always felt very personal. It still breaks my heart knowing he’s gone. Maybe it’s odd to feel so personally connected to a celebrity, but I did. I do. Depression is blind. It doesn’t care if you are rich, famous, successful, attractive… It doesn’t care if you’re white or black, young or old.
With so many people struggling with mental and mood disorders, there are supportive communities if you look for them. So to anyone who reads this, I will ask this of you: If this sounds like you, please tell someone. Find someone you can trust and tell them what you’re feeling. Because you are worth the help. You are so strong, having carried this weight by yourself for so long. Let someone share it with you.
Be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.