I wish I had the words to convey just how physically painful depression truly is. Note that I said “is” and not “can be” because depression IS very real and very painful.
This became very real to me on August 11, 2014 with the news that the “happiest man on Earth”, Robin Williams, had committed suicide and had battled depression for most of his life.
Since the age of 12, I knew something was wrong with me but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. I would feel sad for no reason. I would go for days with no energy to do anything. I spent most of my waking hours harboring the idea of suicide, and my dreams were dark and filled with death images. It hurt to breathe. It felt as though I was about to implode very slowly. The pain just wouldn’t go away.
I tried to talk with my parents about how I was feeling and their response to me was “Stop feeling sorry for yourself!” The fact was, I didn’t feel sorry for myself at all…I hated being alive! My mind SCREAMED at me constantly. No words, just screaming!
When I was 16, I got a .38 caliber revolver from a friend with the intent of making the screaming stop. My friend called someone to come talk to me. That person told me “Be a MAN! REAL men don’t do this kind of crap!” Yeah, very helpful. So I took up drinking to dull the screams and to ease the constant pain from the slow implosion. But no matter how much I drank, the screaming was always there and so was the crushing pain.
When I was 25, I sat in the corner of a dark hotel room with a .45 and another in an endless string of bottles of vodka. I drank most of the bottle, put the pistol in my mouth and pulled the trigger knowing there would be a split second of searing pain before the darkness took me and the the pain and screaming stopped. Instead, all I got was *click*. So I racked another round, put the pistol to my head and got another *click*. Disgusted, I racked a third round, aimed it at the window and the window disappeared. Thank goodness it was one of those old Motor Hotels in the Southwest where no one was around for miles. Next morning, I paid for the window.
I am now, well beyond 25 years old, and I can tell you I have tried pills, knives, and car exhaust. But I am either meant to endure more of the crushing and screams, or I really suck at trying to die. But the pain is still very real and the screams still resound.