For many years, I fought a fire that no one could see.
It was a similar fire that I believe others were fighting. Fought, but eventually overcome by
When I was in Junior High, my sister's friend, the older brother of a classmate of mine committed suicide. He had hanged himself.
His friend found him.
When I was in High school I got news that my old science teacher and friend from Junior High committed suicide. He had parked his car in the garage and left the engine running.
His wife found him.
When I was in college my friend's son committed suicide. He shot himself.
She found him.
As I sat there in the pews at their funerals I wondered to myself, did they suffer like I did?
And if so, could I blame them? There was no shame in wanting it to end. I knew the fire they fought, the fire they could see, the fire that only the felt, and the sense of hopelessness it left.
I lived with chronic depression for many years. It remained nameless almost as long.
For me, it was like being trapped inside a house.
One with windows that I could see the world outside through.
Yet no doors.
I could look out and see people having fun and enjoying themselves, and I could trick myself for a moment that I too was a part of it.
That I too was happy to be alive.
Although when they left the flames would always return.
There was a song that struck a chord with me when I was younger. It’s a song about a band's fan that committed suicide.
There were these lines,
“I laughed the loudest, who’d have known.”
“Please tell mom this is not her fault.”
I listened to this song over and over again. It was like somehow they had peered into my house and had seen the flames that no else could.
I was seventeen when I decided that I wanted to die.
Although I didn’t go through with it that day. I still had lingering thoughts for many years to come.
I began to tell myself that I was just sensitive and that I should get on with things. Life was tough and everyone had to deal with it.
That I should be able to just walk it off.
Yet the flames were always there. Creeping closer, lashing out at me when I was alone.
My denial of my feelings welled up and started to bubble over in the form of anger and fury. A side of me that scares those that have been unfortunate enough to see it.
I began to hate myself for what I had become. And the flames grew.
After we had our second child, I was at a low point. The stress of life and the feeling of hopelessness was at its peak. I was angry, scared, and alone.
I sought help.
I went to a counsellor.
They asked me if I had ever taken medication.
I had always scoffed at the idea. I had always thought I could change myself. That I had control over it.
Although I knew that this wasn't the truth.
Depression is an isolating disease.
One that you can’t truly understand unless you suffer from.
The flames that haunt you are invisible.
They are the negative words and ideas that surround you.
It’s your brain telling you that there is no way that girl could find someone like you attractive.
Or the conviction that the people you think are your friend's laugh at you, not with you.
I went to the doctor and was prescribed a generic form of prozac for chronic depression and anxiety.
It has been close to 4 years since I started taking medication for depression.
If you or anyone that you know suffers from depression, know this, you don’t need to suffer in silence.
It’s not something that will work itself out.
It’s not something that can be walked off.
And it’s definitely something that you should be ashamed of.
I’ve seen those that tried to fight it. Those that have been overcome.
I’ve sat there and seen the people they have left behind.
I’ve heard all those people that say that suicide is selfish, or cowardly.
I too used to live life, trapped in what felt like a burning house.
With the help of medication, I left that house.
I went outside to join all those happy people that I had watched through the window for so long.
I did it using a new front door.