I'm in a period of introspection and reality awareness ever since the death of Chris Cornell. He was my age. He had money, a career, a family that loved him, more than most people on this planet, yet he still chose to take his life.
Robin Williams was another devastating loss. He had fame, a family that loved him, wealth, friends, and yet, he too ended his life.
They say that money does not buy happiness. I think that should read money does not defeat depression and pain. There are many stages and versions of depression.
There's the blues, the Yorkie (4 pounds) of depression, something you can kick off in a day or too where you feel, meh.
Then there is the Miniature Poodle (15 pounds) of depression; lasts a few days longer but still something you can exercise away when you increase your dopamine levels naturally. This is usually situationally based; loss of a job promotion, breakup of a relationship, different expectations of outcome.
Next is the Bulldog (32 pounds) of depression. This is when you are depressed for more than two weeks and you cannot pull yourself out of it. Nothing matters. You don't clean yourself, you don't get out of bed and you don't go to work. At this point, you need help. Sometimes you cycle a few weeks of the year and the rest is fine. Sometimes this happens once and you are good.
Then comes the Irish Setter (70 pounds) of depression. You are longer in the depressed state than out of it, but you can still come out of it. This is serious depression where nothing matters. Nothing good lives in this state, but you have no control over how long it lasts or if it goes away. You hurt, physically, emotionally and in your soul.
Last is the English Mastiff (150 pounds) of depression. This is the end state of depression where no matter how good life is, nothing can pull you out. Medication is usually tried, upwards of 50 or more, to find the correct one to balance your mood. If you are lucky, you find the right one and you coast. Life is good, you are content, balanced, but you need the medication to live. Then, something catastrophic happens. You lose a child or a partner. You have now bypassed all stages of depression and come to the Dire Wolf of grief and depression.
The pain is so overwhelming that you want to tear your skin off just to feel something else. Anything else. You vacillate between pain and numbness. Basic human needs fall to the wayside. You might remember to eat, or bathe, or brush your teeth. You might still work and grow comfortably numb for 9 hours a day, shutting off the emotions, tramping those suckers down so hard and so deep that you can effectively bury them without losing momentum on projects at work.
But you go home and you think. You watch a movie and you see a face that resembles the person you lost. And you sob, lying on the floor wanting it to end. Not necessarily wanting your life to end, but the pain. The gouging, tearing, ripping pain the clutches at your soul piece by piece. After a few days, you grow numb again. Until the next reminder, or worse, the next catastrophic event like being diagnosed with a chronic illness that will render you a vegetable in a few years time. Then, that is the point when some people say, enough.
No more pain. No more suffering. No more Dire Wolf tearing at my throat.
Robin Williams said "I used to think the worst thing in life was to end up alone. It's not. The worst thing in life is to end up with people that make you feel alone."
A lot of people with chronic pain or illness, or serious illnesses end up alone. Friends and family cut you off, and when you need them the most, these people scatter. I have heard story after story of kids abandoning parents, siblings cutting other siblings out, friends, best friends leaving the wounded and the weak, like somehow what's happened is catching.
And it is a Catch-22. Depressed and grieving people want to be alone. They want to disappear in a time and space of nothingness. They need to grieve, sometimes for years. It is difficult being around a person like that. Believe me, if I had a choice I wouldn't be near me either. But the burden that is placed on the partner or the children of the grieving is so incredibly difficult and stressful, and usually these people, these loved ones are collateral damage, because family and friends don't just cut off the victim of the Dire Wolf, but everyone else that stays and supports the severely depressed.
I wrote this in terms so that people might understand what depression can be, for people who have had the fortunate alignment of the right stars at the right time and have never been depressed.
I wrote on FB one day, "If you think you know what depression is, you don't. If you think you know what suicidal depression is, you still don't".
Reach out if someone is hurting. Your words, your sitting in silence, your presence might make a difference.
And if you are the one with the Dire Wolf at your heels, please reach out until someone listens.
And, last, if you know your brother, sister, mother, father, uncle or friend is a caregiver, reach out to them too. You can make a difference.
Suicide Hotline USA: 1-800-273-8255
Suicide Hotline MB: 1-877-435-7170....seems like all the provinces have their own.