I’m Sorry, But Your Logic Won’t Help My Depression
When waking up and wondering whether today is the day that you’re finally going to kill yourself becomes the only part of your life that could be considered ‘routine,’ you’ve got to admit that you need help.
The problem, at least for me, is that when I’ve hit the darkest parts of my depression, no amount of help in the world is really going to suffice. When I find myself dejected and despondent to the point that suicide seems like a good idea, there is sadly nothing that anybody can do or say, no tablet they can give me, nor no words of wisdom that can lift me from my slumber and help me crawl towards the light.
I don’t say that to be arrogant, either. I don’t say this as though to suggest that my own struggles with depression are worse than anybody else’s, or that I’m so special that I’m beyond help. I’m simply saying that, in my experience, my darkness stays with me until some intangible something manages to flick a light in my head, a light that gives me a sense of hope, a light that guides me as I fight back and recover.
Recovery Begins Within
To put it in other words, despite all the external help in the world, beating depression -even temporarily- can’t be done until something changes internally.
That’s a shame too, because there’s so much support out there today, and even more appears to be on the way.
More Understanding and Support Than Ever
“For too long mental illness has been something of a hidden injustice in our country, shrouded in a completely unacceptable stigma and dangerously disregarded as a secondary issue to physical health. Yet left unaddressed, it destroys lives, it separates people from each other and deepens the divisions within our society.” — Theresa May, British Prime Minister
In January 2017, the UK Government announced plans to invest heavily in mental health support, including a £67.7 million package of digital therapy and online mental health resources.
This follows an NHS report, released in 2016, which claims that despite a “significant expansion in access to psychological therapies,” only 15% of those who need care actually get it.
So yes, there’s still an awful lot of work to be done, but I genuinly believe there’s more support, and certainly more understanding, about mental illnesses than ever before.
And that’s great, it means that when I’m at my worst, not only do i have access to a whole host of professional services, but I have the love and compassion of friends who genuinely want nothing more than to help.
Trust me, I love them for that. I love everyone who ever told me they’re their for me, or they’re thinking of me, or who gave me a 20 minute pep talk trying to convince me that I’m actually a good person who has no reason to be depressed, but the truth is, none of them actually help.
I’m not sure that, unless you’ve actually been there, unless you’ve actually crawled on your belly through that pit of darkness, staring suicide in the face on a daily basis, you can ever truly understand that there’s nothing anybody can do that will actually be effective, especially not trying to use logic to defeat depression.
When I’m at my worst, when I’m in that pit of darkness, logic goes right out of the window, and yet for most people, that’s all they have to offer.
You Should Talk About It…
People tell you that when you’re feeling low, you should call them, as if you’re just being a self-pitying dick if you don’t. Sure, that makes sense, phone a friend, talk it out, don’t talk it out but talk about something anything else just to take your mind off it.
That’s just good, logical advice which, with a logical, rational head on my shoulders, I’d be glad to take on board.
The truth however, is that when I’m at my worst, I’m so consumed by my own darkness that I don’t even think about other people. The world is so dark that there is only me and my despair.
So it’s not like I’m sitting around thinking “Fuck that guy, I’d rather stew in this filth than talk to him.” It’s simply the case that picking up the phone is not an option on the menu.
There are, of course, times when it does occur to me to pick up the phone, to go visit a friend, or just to put myself in a social situation where I can talk to people, but if you want the honest truth, I always find these occasions to be disappointing.
Why? Because the people I talk to try to help by applying more logic to the situation and reeling off a list of stuff that I should do:
“You should call the doctor.”
“You should try changing your medication.”
“You should go for a walk.”
“You should. You should. You should.”
Look, I don’t mean to sound like an ungrateful dick, honestly I don’t, but I can’t help but feel frustrated when people start shoulding all over me. It’s not like these are groundbreaking ideas that would have never occurred to me unless you told me.
I understand that people are trying their best to be helpful. I appreciate it, and I’m grateful for it, but the reason I’m depressed is not because I’m stubbornly not doing these things, or that I hadn’t thought of them.
Hell, one day during my depression I went for a walk to the doctor to ask about changing my medication and still felt low afterwards. Logical action did not help.
Nor does it help when people tell me this:
This Too Shall Pass
Again, when I’m working with a rational brain, there’s a part of me that knows this. This too shall pass, it always does. Hell, the very fact that I’m sat here writing this today is proof that my latest bout of depression passed..for now.
Still, that logic is of little hope when I’m getting battered from all sides by depression. This too probably will pass, but for the time being it’s here, and it’s killing me.
One of the best things I ever read about depression, psychological pain, and suicide, is this wonderful piece from Metanoia. It states:
“Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds
resources for coping with pain.”
That, for me, sums up exactly why the ever-so-logical “this too shall pass” doesn’t do anything for me in depression. I get the idea behind it, but I am in tremendous emotional pain and do not have the capacity to deal with that pain, hence why I’m in this state in the first place.
Knowing that it will pass sadly doesn’t make the struggle to get out of bed in a morning any easier. If anything, it only convinces me that the best thing to do is to lie there, in hiding, until it ‘passes.’ You know, because if it’s going to pass, surely all I have to do is wait it out?
You and I both know it doesn’t work that way, but that’s because we’re thinking logically here. Take the logic out of the equation, leave me with the kind of foggy confusion that is such a large part of my depression, and hiding away until it passes seems like the most natural and obvious thing in the world to do.
Depressed Despite Everything
Still, get out of bed I must, if only so that my friends, in their efforts to “cheer me up” can take the next logical course of action and shower me with compliments.
“You’ve come so far and achieved so much!”
“You’ve got so much to live for!”
“You’re a good guy!”
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I kind of already know tall that.
The fact is, that whatever the reasons may be for me feeling suicidal, it isn’t because I don’t realise how good I’ve got it. Truthfully, I feel depressed despite all this.
When I get in these dark, terrible places, it’s never for the reasons people seem to think it is.
It’s not because something bad has happened to me.
It’s not because I’m worried that something bad might happen to me.
It’s not even that I think I’m a bad person.
Despite all of this, I’m still end up at my lowest. This is the thing that I’m not sure anybody who hasn’t been through depression can understand:
I Am Depressed Because I Just Am
There’s no rhyme or reason for it, no logic or order, this is just the way I feel. I can no more tell you why I find myself in the darkness in the first place than I can tell you what it is that gets me back to a state of normality.
What I can tell you though, is that said state will happen eventually, and that I will have a period of being positive and productive.
Until that happens, the best anybody can do for me when I’m in a serious state of depression is just to be patient with me. Wait it out with me. Understand that I’m not doing this on purpose, that there isn’t some simple, logical action I can take to make this go away, nor any rational thought that will make me realise that I have nothing to be depressed about.
I know that, but I’m depressed anyway. Please, just leave the logic at home and give me your patience. After all, this too shall pass, right?