Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In Which Tryph Wages War

Depression is something that has been on my mind a lot lately, which isn't really a surprise given that it took the life of much loved comedy icon Robin Williams just over a week ago.

I've been trying to find a way to scrape the words together to share my thoughts on this disease, and some of my own experiences and struggles with it.

Let me first say that I've always described depression as a battle, but I'm thinking that's not quite the right word for it.  Depression is an all out war.  It's a war of perception (internal, external, imagined, and real).  It's a war of voices (again, internal, external, imagined and real).  It's a war against yourself, for yourself, if that makes sense.  It's a war for and against everyone who loves you.

And I call it a war because it's a series of battles and skirmishes, sometimes they don't last long and sometimes they feel like they'll never end.  Sometimes you can go a long time between battles, and others they're back to back to back.  It's impossible to know what battle you're facing, and even worse, you have no idea how many battles are happening at the same time.

I have fought a war with depression since I was at least 12, but maybe younger.  When I think back to being a child, I don't remember being truly happy or content, but maybe I'm just jaded in my old age.

Anyhow, I have managed to successfully wage this war, and it's not always been by choice.  There have been many times that I've tried to take my own life, both as a child and as an adult.  Depression isn't a war I was always committed to winning.

Because you can't win every war.  You can't win every battle.

I'm not condoning suicide, please don't get me wrong.  I am an advocate for the fact that things can get better if you're willing to keep fighting the fight, but I understand how tiring it can be to wage a war every day.  Sometimes something has to give.

People are compassionate when a cancer patient asks to stop their treatments because they're not seeing progress, and are tired of the fight.
People campaign for the right for someone in terminal or palliative care to be able to access compassionate assisted suicide.

And yet if someone loses the war to depression, it's considered "selfish".

Suicide isn't selfish.  I'm not saying it's right, but it isn't selfish in any way.  It's just... it just is.  In the moment that a depressed person makes the choice to end it, and actually takes action... it becomes as natural as breathing or brushing your teeth.

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I don't really think I added much to the discussion on depression to be honest, but since writing this post has been bugging the crap out of me for months... I'm just going to post it.  Maybe we can talk, and others can share their stories.

Thanks for reading.

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