Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Last night my boyfriend looked at me and said, "don't go to the hospital. You are not that depressed". A few days back I told him I was thinking of having ECT done again. He was adamant that I not do this.
If I try to express how depressed I am he has a tendency to say, "You are okay", "You aren't depressed", "Your not that depressed". I have tried to explain what it feels like to be inside my head. It never seems to register with him. Either he does not understand how desperate I feel, or he does not want to understand.
I know some of it might be that I try hard to be as okay as possible around him. Two reason drive this: my fear he will leave me if he knows how messed up I am, and my respect and support for his own difficulties with mental illness.
He has attempted suicide before, years ago, and I see the external and internal scars from his internal pain, his sadness, the scars on his arms from cutting. This, and my knowledge that his father committed suicide, stop me from openly and honestly expressing how I feel. I also know he was hospitalized against his will; so I recognize his distrust of the system. I do not want to add to his stress in these areas.
Our relationship feels strong and intensely beautiful in so many ways, but it is new for both of us. I do not want to risk losing him by exposing myself as fully as I need to for him to see how desperate and depressed I feel, for him to understand what I am fighting against, for him to know I need to get better than I am to survive my illness.
He kept saying over and over last night..."you are okay", "You are not that depressed", "We are all depressed", "Just get more exercise", "Push yourself, you just need to force yourself to exercise and it will be better". I found myself sobbing silently beside him, looking the other way, feeling completely misunderstood; my symptoms and their power over me dismissed outright.
Last night, as I sat beside him, I could not say "I am so depressed I want to hang myself". I did not express how my wanting to hang myself is a desire gaining so much power I am afraid I will succumb to it. I did not say these things because his father hanged himself to death, and he attempted suicide in this manner. I was afraid the information would be too much for him to deal with.
I want him to think I am strong and powerful. I want him to feel attracted to me, not repulsed by me...so I cover my true feelings up, and then cry and feel isolated when he does not understand me.
In my life talking about wanting to commit suicide is so taboo that I feel intensely alone in my thoughts. This divide, this avoidance of the awful suicidal ideation I deal with on a regular basis, creates a cavern between myself and the people I love. It makes me feel intensely alone in my struggle to survive my depression. It makes me pull away and isolate myself from those I love.
Today my mood is crashing again, after lifting for a few days. In part I think the fall is a reaction to feeling misunderstood and isolated from my boyfriend and family. When I crashed a few weeks ago, and as I was crashing last night, I tried to reach out or support. Both times I hit a brick wall with my family.
I rarely mention my suicidal urges to my sisters, or my boyfriend. If I do try to be open out of fear and desperation for myself , I sometimes try to explain how depressed I am; "so depressed I don't want to be here" might be what I say to my sisters. Instantaneously they brush my feelings off with an, "Oh, don't say that. How do you think we would feel if you did that?" I know it would hurt them if I commited suicide, but what about me? I hurt all the time.
My sisters do not want to hear how sad I am, and my Dad, he has never once ever asked me if I am okay...not once. He has phoned me to say my stepsister was depressed and needed help. He has told me how crazy he thought my going in for ECT was...4 years after the fact. He has never asked if I was okay, or if I needed help, or if I was having any success with my treatment. He has certainly never asked me if I was at risk of committing suicide. I am.
When my Mom wasalive she was a nurse. She used to talk openly with me about suicide. She would even ask me if I was having suicidal thoughts or urges. With her I would always leave the phone call feeling heard and relieved that someone knew, someone wanted to know. Someone loved me enough to ask and actually listen to my answer. Why is it so important to me that others understand how depressed I am, and how hard it is to be this depressed? I have no idea why.
I wish my family (and my boyfriend) understood how desperate I feel; how much I need and want them to understand me. I want so badly to be able to tell them my truth, for them to talk openly with me even if it is difficult to do, and for them to acknowledge that I am ill. I want them to say this is not my fault. I want them to say, "I AM trying hard enough". I don't want them to feel hurt by me and my awful thoughts, but I need help with them or I am not going to survive.
Whatever...I don't know why I need so desperately to be understood; maybe because I don't understand either. Last night my boyfriend kept saying, "you need to address what is making you depressed. Nothing will get better if you don't change those things".
At that point I began sobbing so hard I had to leave the room. I have been in therapy for years a fact that screams to others and to myself, "things" are causing my depression, and I need to change those things." Despite a sense that there must be things that are making me depressed...I honestly feel like all the things I want to change, would fall into place if I was not depressed.
I would get a job, clean my house, do more things, isolate less, stop obsessing about suicide, dance, play music, ski, eat well, sleep less etc...if only I weren't so severely depressed.
No one wants to acknowledge this raging rhinoceros, named "Suicide", rocketing towards me and racing after me every where I go. So I write here, because at least I can say how I feel.