Mental Health: Towards understanding the Black Dog
Reason to stay: Rebecca’s small lips in pouting-perfection, reaching for a kiss from mommy, for no reason other than that she truly loves me.
It might sound crazy that a sensible woman with a good portion of common sense has to think of reasons not to take her own life when she has two small kids whom she has chosen to bring into this life – two beautiful children whom she would be leaving without a primary caregiver if she commits suicide. Well, seeing it written like that, hearing it in my mind, it sounds so crass and wrong. But Depression is not pretty. It’s not appropriate and it’s not what other people would like to hear.
Depression takes you down like a dark, ferocious beast and makes you grasp at reasons to stay alive. It makes you convince yourself that your children will be fine without you. It is exactly like this quote I saw on social media: “It’s not about not wanting to live”, (suicide, that is) “it is about not wanting to feel the pain anymore.”
That is absolutely why I think people commit suicide. It’s got everything to do with not feeling the unbearable (truly) pain and fear and deadness anymore. It – the feeling of Depression – IS A FEELING OF UNBEARABLENESS. It is like when you have a really bad tummy bug and you truly feel like dying, because you cannot bear the nausea anymore. It is that feeling of ‘I cannot bear this anymore’, but psychologically, exactly as you cannot bear some physiologically symptom anymore.
I will never understand how people can think mental health disorders are ‘made-up’ illnesses of the weak, because it just makes biological sense that if your physical organs such as your liver, kidneys, pancreas, heart and so on, can get ‘sick’ and fail you, so can your brain.
I recently read a tweet from a Linkin Park fan following the suicide of my favorite singer through my teens, twenties and thirties, Chester Bennington, that she is beginning to believe Depression is like a Cancer: you go into remission and things get better, but eventually it comes back to take you down.
That tweet, together with the death of an idol of mine, scared me literally almost straight to death. I was suddenly convinced: There was no, no way to overcome this beast. There might be moments of lightness and joy, but ultimately that dog WILL take me down. And the Lord knows I am tired of trying again and again and again.
Getting out of a Depressive Episode feels like forever and it is pure torture, scary and alone. If you do not know the black dog, you cannot imagine how it feels. And even if you have many people in your life, once you are beneath the beast’s grip, you only feel completely alone. Unfortunately, still so few people talk about this feeling that I THINK IF IT WASN’T FOR SOCIAL MEDIA, SOME OF US WOULD DIE THINKING WE ARE THE ONLY ONES WHO FEEL A PARTICULAR WAY.
We read things on social media, or we watch You-Tube videos and we hear things like Chester Bennington in one of his last interviews: “This skull – this place between my ears – it is a bad neighborhood – I should not go walking there alone.” (quoted more or less correctly). And I am like “YES! Yes – THAT!! I know, right?! He gets it!” And I look around to see if others also get it. “Did you hear that? That! That is how it feels!”
I remember one night my husband said that he and the kids were going to do a sleepover in the grandparents’ room (they were visiting at the time) and clear as daylight I heard a voice in my head saying: “No, you can’t do that! You can’t leave me by myself with my mind!” I was so, so afraid of that bad neighbourhood. I still am.
You are not alone,
My next few entries will involve a series on mental health.