I don’t want to to be here.
I want it to end.
I don’t want to kill myself. I don’t really want to die. I just don’t want to exist.
I’m so sick of feeling like shit all the time. I hate feeling like a failure at life, like I’ve never accomplished anything.
Whenever I feel like I’m making progress, something happens that sets me back and feels like the world is crashing down around me.
For the past 10 months, I’ve been battling the most severe depressive episode I’ve ever experienced.
For most of my life, my depression has been more of the mild chronic type. I’ve experienced several forms of depression in my life. According to Robert Duff, author Hardcore Self-Help: Fuck Depression, there are four subtypes:
- Sorrowful – The most stereotypical type where you basically cry at everything and feel on the verge of breaking down 24/7.
- Angry/Agitated – A lot of guys tend to have this type. The main thing is, you feel annoyed at hell at everything.
- Anhedonic – Literally meaning, “without pleasure.”
- Physically wrecked – You internalize everything and as a result, are exhausted. You feel weak, sick, and tired. You physically ache. Things hit you a lot harder than you know they should.
The sorrowful type tends to be where my chronic depression falls. This is the kind that has plagued me most of my life, especially since my teens.
The physically wrecked type hit me on and off throughout my teens and twenties. In grade 9, I had sever stomach pain in grade 8 and 9 that lead to all kinds of medical testing, all of which lead nowhere. The doctor even told my dad it was probably all in my head. Eventually, it kind of just went away on it’s own. In college, I had heart palpitations and chronic headaches. The same result. It wasn’t until 4 years later, when I was first diagnosed that I realized that was my body’s way of crying out for help.
The angry and agitated type came and went in milder forms as well throughout the years, but hit really hard in 2012-2014, which is what lead up to me finally seeking help, when I was 26. It took me a long time though because I was convinced that I would be told I was crazy or just had an angry personality and needed anger management. Every little thing enraged me. I hated myself for it. It became very difficult to contain it. I constantly felt like I was going to explode. What I didn’t realize until recently, that anger was not part of my personality at all. I’ve never been an angry person. I’m not angry like that now.
And of course, the anhedonic type hit me the worst over the past 10 months, although I’ve experienced small bouts of it throughout my life too. It started out slow. I had been doing relatively well, several months after the traumatic experience of being forced out of my job because of my mental illness. I was more active than I’d been in years. For all intents and purposes, I should have continued getting better, and I was, until I wasn’t anymore. It got to the point where all the things that could normally make me laugh, even smile a little, even on a bad day, suddenly stops making me feel anything. Even things that would normally make me cry, as someone I considered to be overly sensitive, no longer triggered any emotional response. I was completely numb. I’d lost all joy, pleasure, sadness, sorrow, all emotion, everything. I was nothing.
After changing meds a bunch more times (bringing my total number of antidepressants I’d tried up to six), we settled on something that seemed to turn things around, but I was stuck in this place of completely lacking energy. So we added a stimulant, used to treat ADHD, because of a previous theory I might have that as well. The short-acting medication test seemed to help. I began feeling like myself again. Sort of. I wasn’t quite there, but we figured it was working so we switched to a longer acting medication and slowly it seemed to work less.
Right around the time we switched to a third stimulant, I started experiencing a horrible headache that would not go away, no matter what I tried, that has now lasted for three weeks straight. It is definitely better than it was, but it’s still not completely gone. I tried to work through the first week of the headache. I managed my shorter length of hours most days (I’m still working reduced hours, because I just physically and mentally cannot handle 8 hours a day) but one day I couldn’t even get to my minimum of 5 hours. The second week was much worse. I attempted to work form home, but only managed to total 4.75 hours for the entire week, and those hours weren’t even all that productive.
I was already feeling worthless due to the slowly returning cloud of depression. Now, having this unexplained severe headache that won’t go away, and I felt like no one would listen to me or believe me. I went to emergency on the 12th day of the headache because of how bad the headache had gotten, even while taking Tylenol 3 for it. They didn’t give me anything, except a CAT scan, which of course showed nothing. That night, I took a few extra T3s because it was so bad and I couldn’t handle it. I secretly hoped it would make me sick or something, but naturally, nothing happened.
On the 13th day, I woke up, the headache had not gone anywhere. It was just as bad. After another T3, it seemed to improve. I managed to be a little bit productive while working at home, I managed to sit at my computer for a couple hours, and ended up chatting with a coworker in our team chat app. I ended up telling her what was going on with the headache, but she responded in a way that I decided I shouldn’t be surprised by, based on past conversations. For some reason I was stupid enough to think that maybe she wouldn’t be the harsh, insensitive person I’ve found she can sometimes be. She’s unaware, as far as I know, of my depression, although I’ve mentioned anxiety, in passing, a couple times. I guess she hasn’t made that connection.
I’m not going to repeat specifically what she said, but the way I felt because of it was that she thinks she knows what’s best for me and the way I’m living my life right now is wrong. This woman has known me for less than a year, and barely knows me at all. It felt like she was essentially confirming all the horrible things I’ve thought about myself for my entire life. I’m fat and unhealthy and if I don’t completely turn my life in a different direction, I’m going to die soon.
It sounds harsh because it is harsh. I’ve been thinking these things about myself for a good portion of my life and I’ve tried, on several occasions, to make significant changes. Most of the times I’ve tried to make changes were before my mental illnesses were diagnosed and I couldn’t understand why I was constantly failing. Now that I know, I’m not trying to use it as an excuse, but more as a way to better understand my issues and actually move on from the things that make me self-conscious.
I know that both the physical and mental feed off each other, but how can I get both of them under control if I can’t even find a partial solution to one? I always fall back on my progress. Every time I think maybe I’m finally going in the right direction, some kind of setback happens.
Those words from my coworker didn’t leave my head at all during the third week of my headache. I did go back to the office for the third week since it was getting better. Thursday, the 19th day of the headache, I had an appointment with my doctor, which was originally supposed to be a followup from an appointment three weeks earlier, but I’d been in and out of the doctors office so many times with this headache, it ended up being for more than that, obviously.
Normally, I love my doctor. I’ve had serious trust issues with doctors most of my life, especially from the time with my stomach issues in my early teens right up until I started seeing my current doctor in 2015. But this most recent appointment has made me question my trust in him. It’s probably mainly my depression forcing these feelings on me, but I was already feeling shitty about my health, both physical and mental, and while we were discussing the headaches, he said something that made me feel even worse. It didn’t hit me right away because I struggle to fully process interactions in social situations in the moment. It always happens later. Surprisingly, it actually wasn’t the mention of my weight that bothered me.
The doctor in the emergency room had said that it sounded like I might have intracranial hypertension. I did some research and it made sense, given the symptoms I had, although there was one particular symptom that I didn’t seem to have, which is maybe part of why they couldn’t definitively say that’s what it was. But when I was talking to my family doctor about that, he said he didn’t think that’s what it was. He still doesn’t know what it is, because it doesn’t show on CAT scans, but the reason he gave me for not agreeing with the ER doctor is what set this whole thing off.
He opened his thought with, “not to diminish your pain.” That’s always a great way to start something. Then, he went on to say that the pain associated with intracranial hypertension would be completely debilitating, but I came into his office a bunch of times to see him about it and I seemed to be “fine” and interacting with him and whatnot. Even after I told him I didn’t go to work the entire week before, he still didn’t change his mind.
I spent the rest of the day trying not to cry, until I got in my car after work, then the following three days crying for a significant portion of the day crying, wanting to die, and feeling like no one will ever believe me or anything I say. Today, I’ve cried a couple times, but haven’t gotten to the uncontrollable point I was at multiple times Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
I felt like I’d been told, my pain is not real and I’m just looking for attention. I don’t want attention at all. I’ve hid my tears and sobbing from everyone in my life over the past few days, as well as the past several years with my depression. No one knows this is even going on. I haven’t told anyone what my doctor said, or what my coworker said. I’ve kept it completely bottled up.
I’ve been thinking constantly about ways to end it all. I don’t actually want to but I just don’t know how to handle this shit anymore. Not that I ever did know how to handle it. Each time I think about taking myself to the hospital or something for how I’m feeling mentally right now, I think, it’s not bad enough. They won’t take me. They won’t help me. It’s not nearly as bad as where I was the last time I seriously considered taking myself to the hospital. And that time I should have, but I cannot make myself admit to anyone how much I’m struggling, while I’m in the midst of it, that I need help. It’s always after the fact when I’m finally able to tell someone how I felt at my worst. I can’t do it while I’m there, only when I’m better.
So, right now, I’m still experiencing lingering effects of prolonged anhedonic depression, but I’m now also experiencing a bit of the angry and agitated depression, I haven’t had for a couple years, mixed with sorrowful. Most of all, I just feel so worthless, like no one cares how I feel. What really bothers me is that no one ever makes an effort to find out how I’m feeling. I have a very difficult time expressing my emotions or being distracted by whatever is happening in the moment that I forget how I’m feeling until after the moment has passed, and then I can’t tell the person because it completely contradicts the emotions I was expressing a moment earlier. It’s frustrating.
Why am I posting this now? I guess because I’m feeling a tiny bit better today than I was yesterday. I’m glad I took a vacation day today, giving myself a 4 day weekend (since the office was closed for Good Friday). But most of all, I really want to try and be real about my depression here. That was my original goal when I set out to do this. I want to show people the real face of mental illness, but it’s proven to be much more difficult than I thought it would be. I skipped over a lot of stuff, while I was down in the deepest pit of depression over the past 10 months, but it was so bad that I simply could not write anything. I couldn’t express anything at all. So, now that I’m not in that hole anymore, I’m trying to get back into it. It is not easy, but I’m trying.