What Depression Is To Me

TW: Suicide references 

“There’s something wrong with me”

“Don’t be silly you’re just feeling a bit sad”

“I feel like closing my eyes and not existing anymore”

“ok maybe something is wrong”

I often talk through ideas and conversations in my head. It helps me make sense of everything. Even these words you’re reading now I composed whilst wandering to buy bread one morning. These thoughts and ideas and what makes me who I am, how I work out what I believe, how I feel, how I decide what to do with myself. Depression makes me not trust these thoughts.

Depression can feel like a struggle with yourself. It’s never as simple as directly arguing with your mind, it’s like someone else is in your brain, subtly undermining your thoughts. Making you think things you don’t really believe.

“I feel like some tea and toast”

“or do you actually feel like not moving at all and watching this godawful remake of Oldboy on Netflix?”

“Fuckit I’m staying on the sofa”

‘Fuckit’ feels like the best way to describe my relationship with depression. Not the good kind of fuckit which makes me throw caution to the wind and run a triathlon or climb a mountain or the fuckit that makes me feel almost invincible. It is the fuckit which results in me on my own, lying on the sofa all day, watching a movie I hate and wanting it all to just to end but lacking the motivation to do anything about it. Thoughts of suicide have occasionally hit me

“I could have a bath with a toaster”

but I feel too tired and lazy to act on it

“that would mean getting up and finding an extension cable and fuck that”

Depression is the only thing that can make you feel bad for being too lazy to kill yourself.

Despite all this I do feel lucky. When I have suicidal thoughts my brain seems to activate a failsafe mode. I look at my wife and remember how lucky I am, see my cats and want to hug them. I think of my parents, family and friends and think of how loved I am. I remember this and any suicidal thoughts are banished to the darkest corner of my brain.

Admitting you have a problem is the first, and often hardest, step to getting help. The second part differs for people but for me it was getting past the bullshit macho belief that I needed to ‘brave’ and ‘strong’ and defeat this on my own, with no-one being any the wiser of what I was going through. This idea of toughing it out on your own can be very damaging, after all depression is an internalised disease of the brain. Internalising it further is never going to help. The bravest and strongest thing to do is actually to seek help, to tell someone how you feel, to reach out to a fellow human being and say

“I’m struggling, please help me”

Depression can affect anyone in any situation. It is indiscriminate and often deadly. Suicide is the leading cause of death in men under the age of 35 in the UK. I can’t and don’t want to speak for all young men with depression but, from my personal experience, the pressure of appearing to be an invulnerable, macho, rock of a man made me feel inadequate and worried about admitting I had a problem.

Speaking to my wife about it felt like a weight had been lifted off me. Speaking to GP’s too helped me build a plan of how to deal with the illness medically. It can be scary admitting very personal problems to someone who is basically a stranger. In my experience though both GP’s I’ve spoken to have been incredibly helpful. After all it is a disease and Doctors know what they’re talking about. If any of these thoughts sound familiar to you, tell someone, tell anyone. Speaking about depression, what’s happening to your brain, how you feel and what feels wrong will always help. When I’m at my lowest I always think

“I’m still here and I’m still fighting this. I must be doing something right”

Tomas W Shore  (@M0by_duck)

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