[This post is dedicated to the many individuals who we lose to suicide daily. In most recent news, a young man whose work was integral in forming the site Reddit committed suicide. RIP, Aaron Swartz.]
Life is hard. Life isn’t a bed of roses. Blah, blah, blah. You know the mantra.
Just think positive. Just relax. You’ve heard those before, too.
In some ways, sadness may be preventable I suppose, but I don’t think that is always the case. Many people don’t understand persistent sadness. Although they mean well, they can’t empathize.
Life really is hard for me at the moment, so let me be raw for a moment and I hope this blog has returned to a somewhat safe place for me to be transparent. It’s tough to open up about some of what I struggle with because, as you may well have experienced, not everyone appreciates a candid person.
Case in point, I went out to dinner with some friends around the holidays and explained how things were really going (read: not well). They were rather dismissive and just laughed and started talking about something silly instead of recognizing that I was actually in pain. I’m so well-versed in my feelings of sadness and depression that I know they will fade away or diminish, so those moments aren’t as affecting as they once would have been. I used to feel gravely rejected when people treated my pain this way. However, I’ve come to learn that not everyone deals with life in the same way and many people haven’t had to deal with the pain I have, so they simply have no frame of reference for the kind of sadness life hands some people. It doesn’t make them bad people, although it makes me not want to be around them. It’s tough to be yourself sometimes. I’m not the life of the party these days. At all. I’m probably a grump and a stick in the mud and depressing.
As much as people say, the cure for depression is to be around people, that isn’t always the case. Sure, there are days it really helps (especially when those you are around know you’re having a sad day) but other times it aggravates the condition. It’s just the reality of sadness.
That drug commercial “Depression hurts. Cymbalta can help.” makes me sad. They nailed it. Sometimes every day things just feel painful. When other people are laughing, it hurts. When your dog licks your face, you burst into tears. It is what it is and it’s nothing if it’s not pervasive and strong.
Author’s Note: Some days are harder than others, but it does get better. I often experience deep sadness and will have weeks of happiness. My moments of happiness are lasting longer and longer; in part because I’m aware of my pain and face it rather than cover it up. I write this entry in part because my blog is a part of my daily life and also because there are people who need to know that they aren’t alone, nor are they weird. Sometimes depression and sadness (not always the same thing, of course) suck. We take life day by day and it’s okay to be open about our pain without forcing happiness. Face sadness head-on; don’t quit. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek immediate help. Call 9-1-1 or in the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. There’s nothing to be ashamed of.
A touching excerpt from Cory Doctorow’s words on his friend Aaron Swartz’s suicide:
Because whatever problems Aaron was facing, killing himself didn’t solve them. Whatever problems Aaron was facing, they will go unsolved forever. If he was lonely, he will never again be embraced by his friends. If he was despairing of the fight, he will never again rally his comrades with brilliant strategies and leadership. If he was sorrowing, he will never again be lifted from it.
Depression strikes so many of us. I’ve struggled with it, been so low I couldn’t see the sky, and found my way back again, though I never thought I would. Talking to people, doing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, seeking out a counsellor or a Samaritan — all of these have a chance of bringing you back from those depths. Where there’s life, there’s hope. Living people can change things, dead people cannot.