Yes, this was written during a current dark period. Yes, this may be triggering for some. No, it’s not a suicide note. I recently gave someone a short incomplete answer to the question in the first sentence. This is merely my attempt to rectify that with a better, more complete answer.
What’s it like living with a major depression disorder, generalized anxiety, and an obsessive-compulsive disorder?
Everyone thinks it’s suicidal thoughts and self-harm, but that’s not always the case. I’ll try to give you an idea of what it’s really like.
It’s staying up way too late not necessarily because you’re not tired, even though insomnia is a regular problem too, but because you don’t want your wife to see you cry. It’s crying yourself to sleep at night because you feel like a failure at everything you attempt. It’s feeling like a burden on your wife and wishing you just don’t wake up tomorrow because you know things would be easier on her if that were the case.
It’s feeling like a failure no matter what you attempt. It’s rejection notices or coming in second or third or not placing at all. It’s not being able to find a way to make an income out of the things you enjoy the most. It’s feeling like every path just leads to a locked door. It’s following a path you think is the right one only to discover way too late that it’s another path to nowhere. It’s applying for jobs you’re overqualified for because you know you should be working, but getting passed over. It’s being absolutely terrified of applying for a job that says “fast-paced environment” or “requires multitasking” because your brain can’t take the stress.
It’s making a set of plans for tomorrow for job searching, resume writing, and contacting potential references tonight. Then, waking up tomorrow too tired, exhausted, and mentally wiped to do things you put on your to-do list.
It’s sitting in a therapist office and playing down how you really feel or what’s really bothering you because you think there are so many others in worse shape. It’s reading the symptom list for ptsd and matching most of it, but not having the “combat experience” to explain why you should have it. It’s hesitating to or not even mentioning the thoughts of wishing to not wake up in therapy because you’re afraid that’ll give them a reason to lock you away.
It’s wanting to have a plan for tomorrow and even making a list, but having your dog prompt you that she needs to go outside being the only reason you get up. It’s setting multiple alarms, hoping one will get you up, but not having the energy because just getting to sleep was a major chore last night. It’s being terrified of your dog getting older and knowing one day she’ll pass because she’s your main motivation for functioning on the really bad days. It’s feeling like the bad days outnumber the good days. It’s feeling like there’s too many bad days and not knowing why.
It’s trying to write a resume but being afraid to put any of your military experiences because a) you’ve been out too long or b) you’re afraid all the press on vet suicides and ptsd will cause them to not call. It’s going through schooling for specific jobs, qualifications, and plans, and then struggling to follow up on those educational experiences because you still feel underqualified or have experienced a lack of resources that makes you doubt your abilities.
It’s finding a little energy to write a text passage or do art work and then having those around you questioning why you can’t find the energy to do another task when you’ve had the energy and time to that one. It’s trying to lose yourself in video games or books because you struggle to put coherent thoughts together and the reading or the game tasks don’t demand as much.
It’s knowing you failed to help raise your stepkids because of things you either didn’t want to address or didn’t know how to address and then having one those stepkids constantly remind you of your failures and declare “you don’t deserve my mom”. It’s knowing he’s right and the knowing you tell yourself the same almost every day. It’s wishing you could have been a better parent but knowing it’s far too late to fix the mistakes you’ve made.
It’s good days providing so much energy that you accomplish so many things and forget to eat or to go to sleep on time. It’s bad days draining you from the moment your eyes open and not eating because the thought of food preparation feels like too great a task. It’s dreading the coming of winter and the fall seasonal storms. It’s desperately wishing spring and summer would never end for health reasons, but being glad they do for financial reasons.
It’s balancing a checkbook and never having enough to do the things you want to do. It’s having to reduce shopping lists and expense plans to essentials. It’s knowing that your lack of an income contribution keeps you from giving your wife the things you want to give her and keeps her from things she wants to do.
It’s wishing you had a way to explain what goes on in your head and inside you, but struggling to find the right words. It’s pouring thoughts onto paper to try and explain something so difficult to explain then having those words never read because it’s too long. It’s always thinking there’s never enough time to do things, but never having the energy when there’s time.
It’s praying for help, but feeling those prayers are never answered. It’s going through the motions of church and faith, but wondering why you don’t “feel” the things you’re supposed to feel. It’s wondering if the silence of your prayers is proof that the atheist are right and there’s no one there to answer. It’s reading about faith but not feeling it. It’s praying for salvation almost daily but never feeling saved.
It’s being medicated but also wondering if the medication is helping, It’s wondering if your dose is high enough at times and wondering if it’s too high at others. It’s occasional cutting because everything about you feels numb because of the medication. It’s finishing every day wishing you accomplished more, but lacking the energy to do anything about it. It’s feeling nauseated and sick for no reason at all.
It’s not telling your wife what you really feel because you don’t want to burden her or cause her worry. It’s feeling selfish when you have to leave somewhere or stop doing something because the dark shows up. It’s being short and rude without meaning to, but because something just feels off. It’s feeling irritable towards your wife when you have no reason to.
It’s never feeling normal.