Yesterday while at work, somebody walked by my desk and asked what I was listening too. As I’m always eager to share my music with everybody, I pulled out my earbuds and let loose the clean French Vocals of Louane. At this point in my life I’ve built up a reputation for loving music in languages I cannot speak. I have a very basic understanding of Japanese and Spanish, and I can work my way around a French restaurants menu thanks to my obsession with cooking shows. I feel like Louane is a very modern French Pop star with clear, beautiful vocals anybody can get addicted too, and is the perfect launching point for people to expand their musical tastes into another culture. Also, the songs just beautiful, right? And it feels as if I have not been able to share many beautiful things on my blog lately, so I’ll let Louane give some light to my otherwise pitch black blog posts! Enjoy!
I see posts like this all the time, scattered throughout Facebook and Instagram and Pintrest, and everytime I see it I just want to scream. This is some straight up bullshit, and I’m going to explain why.
First of all, if somebody is pointing out that you might have a better life than you are currently experiencing that is not an attempt to diminish how awful you feel. It could come off as condescending, but only if you have allowed your depression to give you tunnel vision. This isn’t some asshat trying to point out the obvious just so you’ll stop feeling sorry for yourself. This is a friend, a fellow human being who has dealt with their own set of struggles throughout life that you know nothing about, and this human is trying to get you to see something brighter, something better than the world currently reflected in your eyes. It’s not about making you feel bad for how bad you feel, it’s about making you see that not everything is falling apart, that you have some good in your life. How much time do you think a human can stay in the dark, alone, before they fall apart? Those circumstances alone, a dark setting, hiding yourself away and refusing to see the light, that can bring about depression within anybody, so of course someone who cares about you will try and force you out, one way or another. Personally, I would get much more aggressive and demanding, but this sort of measured action is probably more effective.
So, to sum up that first point, let’s just say this: if you’re counter argument for why something somebody else is telling you devolves into a senseless repetition of “I have been clinically diagnosed with depression, you can’t understand, blah blah blah,” then you’re friend is right, and you’re just being an asshole about it, which is fine, it happens to everybody, but depression isn’t an excuse. Clearly your friends know you have depression and are making an effort to understand you, but for some reason you think that having depression means you don’t have to make an effort to understand them? Because they don’t have it as bad? Yeah, no. You aren’t alone. You can feel alone, but that doesn’t make it true. Does that truth make it easier to deal with? Absolutely, but maybe only marginally so. Still, it’s something, and the whole point is to get you to see, to acknowledge that something.
Part #2: Depression isn’t some “mood” or “phase.” Sure, why not. Depression is a complex set of physiological tendencies that drive a person to behave in a certain way, so I guess one could try to argue that it can’t be defined as a simple mood or a phase in ones life. The problem with this statement though is that it implies that, outside of a clinically diagnosed depression, any other form of depression isn’t as real. Anybody who’s lived 10 seconds can tell you this is bullshit. Depression hits everybody at some point. Depression can certainly be a “mood.” You’ve had a long week, working overtime to cover the cost of having your shitty car fixed. You cancel plans with friends, your significant other cheats on you, it’s Saturday night and you run out of hot water in the middle of your shower. Those circumstances can bring about depression within anybody. Is that depression not as real as yours? In the moment it is just as powerful, and maybe even more so. This could hit a person who is generally always upbeat, and to get beat down with so much at once, it makes them question why. Why is this happening to them? What did they do to deserve this? And after a night of drinking alone, the answer they land on might be nothing, that they did nothing to deserve this, but it happened anyway, so maybe just their existence was enough to bring about this fucked up bullshit. But that wouldn’t count as “real” depression, right?
To summarize that second point, depression can hit anybody, not just those who are diagnosed. And maybe some people are just better at hiding it than others. Maybe the person who’s trying to help you right now is suffering through something, and you have no idea, and you couldn’t have any idea, because you don’t want that to be true, and not because you don’t want them to be suffering like you, but because you are revealing in the knowledge that nobody has it as bad as you do right now. And how do I know that you don’t care? Well, that becomes clear in part 3.
Part 3 is short and simple. “I don’t expect you to understand.” That sentence is really all I needed to read to know that this entire post was fucking ugly bullshit, depression pandering asshattery. How dare you. How fucking dare you make the assumption that someone else can’t understand? Are you the first person to ever suffer like this? Is your pain that fukcing unique? Do you know every secret of the person talking to you right now, so you can say with 100% certainty, that they have no idea what you’re going through?
Depression, when expressed like this on social media, paints a picture of a lonely, cynical asshole who thinks they know everything about everybody, but nobody can know a fucking thing about them, and it’s pointless. It’s a pointless post that does nothing to help you. It doesn’t help the people they want to help you, it doesn’t help the part of you that won’t admit aloud that you actually want people to try, and it doesn’t help the stigma around depression that has evolved with the dawn of the internet, where depression is shared around message boards on tumblr and reddit as a fucking meme, so of course it’s never taken seriously, until suicide prevention month rolls around, and everybody on Facebook is sharing a post with the suicide hotline number, and some idiot plays that stupid ass Logic song (which is some of the worst mainstream pandering to suicide to make money while doing nothing of substance, fuck that song, fuck Logic and his shitty raps and his shitty fucking rap name, and fuck pop music in general for always using real fucking problems people face, then turning them into this over simplified issues that can be handled in a 4 minute shitty 4 chord formatted song to push to the masses, only to be forgotten about with a year to make room for the next batch on pandering bullshit).
Look, it’s really simple. I’m depressed. I lock myself away in my apartment for days that turn into months, only forging outside for work and a quick run to the gas station to buy chips and mountain dew. I saved money on my phone bill last month by not having a fucking cell phone the entire time. I have no social media accounts, minus this blog, my tumblr and the twitter account, all of which are under the name Taylor Finn, which, in case some people aren’t aware, is not my real name. Nobody I know in real life reads anything I write. Hell, nobody in my life even knows I like to write period. I have friends, but ignore them. I have a family, but I ignore them. I cut, I overdose on sleeping pills, I’ve been forced to stay in a hospital twice in the past 6 months for attempted suicides. I’ve been like this my entire life, but it was easier to hide when I had school. Without that structure, the depression got worse and worse, and I don’t have any answers. I don’t know how I’ll make it out. In fact, every day I grow more and more certain that I won’t ever feel okay with being alive, and I’ll be dead long before I turn 30. But even though I believe that, and I’m living like that, I still know that depression can be beaten. I know that people care. I know that people have it worse, and that knowledge does not make me feel better at all, but I know it. And I know stupid ass posts like this piss me off, because they scream of childish bullshit. They scream of somebody who wants attention, but is to embarrassed to ask. You have depression! Great! That’s not an excuse to be an asshole!
At the end of the day, this is just how depression has evolved. The internet turned it into this fucking meme of whiny bullshit. Depression isn’t fucking fun, it isn’t a fucking game, and it isn’t an excuse for anything you do or say.
How else can I describe this without being redundant? My stomach is tied in knots, spilling out through the holes in my humanity, leaving an empty pit at my center of gravity. The room isn’t spinning, but nothing is stationary. It’s all subtle shifts; light reflecting off curved surfaces, my white wallpaper peeled back to reveal another shade of egg shell, and the soft humming from my dryer that’s slowing driving me insane…
He creeps into your mind
At the most inopportune times,
Stealing away precious brain cells
And holding in the CO2
That you’ve built up in your veins.
Whatever warmth you had
Seeps out through your open chest,
Replacing the justified anger
With docile tones
And heavy shakes.
You feel leaks, tiny pin pricks,
Along all the spots you kept secret,
The spots that he now owns.
Time erases nothing,
His image hasn’t been there
To stroke your senses,
Yet a single glance
Betrays a tingle in your stomach,
And the world melts like chocolate
Left out in the afternoon Sun.
You want to run away,
But the sight of him is
As quick as summer lightning,
And his sound echoes
Like distant thunder,
And you’ve always been a fool
When it comes to storms.
“You will lose yourself in his winds and rain,
And you will claim a home inside that hurricane.
But that home will be nothing more than a dream,
A space where his violence will swallow your screams.”
~I’m sorry Mom~
You raised me with nothing but love and care. You were so small, but I haven’t met anybody who can match your strength. A day never went by where I didn’t get at least one hug from you. But I stole something from you. With every hug, I was betraying your trust and wasting your warmth. Everything you gave to me wasn’t enough to fill in the holes I’d already begun to cut from my soul. I can’t remember a single hug, a single moment with you, where my body was whole. I know you hugged me before I began making these scars, but I can’t remember it. There are pictures and stories, eye witnesses and undeniable video evidence, but still… I can’t remember what it felt like… and before I knew it, all I could give you was this half human shell. Everything was gone. I was only 6, but it was all gone. I knew it wasn’t right, cutting myself like that, but I couldn’t resist. I was only 6, and it wasn’t your fault at all, but part of me still wanted to blame anybody other than the monster I share a body with. I stole away the innocence you gave me. I’ve never been able to give you the type of hug you gave me every day. You deserved so much better. Mom, you deserved a child who could appreciate the life you gave them. You didn’t deserve to have me as your child. I’m so, so sorry Mom….
~I’m sorry Dad~
70 hour work weeks are no joke, yet they never seemed to wear you down. I assumed that was just because all adults lived this way. I took you for granted. You drove the night shift at work so you could be home in time to drive me to school. You’d skip sleep to take me to doctor appointments. You would arrive to my softball games in your full work uniform. Most of my games took place in the summer, so it was always hot, yet you never complained. You could only ever catch a few innings before you had to leave, so I would have understood if you just skipped them entirely. But you didn’t. You came and watched and cheered me on. I wasn’t any good at softball, but you never looked away. Now, as I look back, I start to wonder what else you gave up for me, when I couldn’t give you anything in return? How much sleep did you lose because of me? You couldn’t have gotten more than a few hours each day. And your paying for that now. I can see it in how you move, how much even the most basic task hurts you, but you still put everybody else before yourself. You gave up your health to watch this ungrateful brat suck at softball, and you did it all with a smile. You deserved better. Dad, you deserved a child who could appreciate the sacrifices you made for them. You didn’t deserve to have me as your child. I’m so, so sorry Dad….
You only ever invested enough to enjoy the taste, ignoring the meaning behind the heart shaped boxes. It was all about the moment for you, that sweet, satisfying mouthful. You never let the chocolate take it’s time to melt on your tongue, coating your world in a coco dream. For you, it’s all about quantity over quality. Price tags need to have a 50% discount before you’d even consider making the purchase. The best part of buying chocolate isn’t getting to eat it; the best part is getting to give it to someone else, someone you know will want to share it with you. You aren’t good at sharing, and you refuse to be a committed part of somebody else’s world. You only want a momentary fix, a quick sugar high. You’ll never experience a lingering sense of satisfaction eating like that. You’ll never have comfort in simply unwrapping the candy bar, because you’ll only ever be in a rush to shove that sweetness down your throat. You rip right through the fancy printed labels, not even bothering to appreciate the subtle details. You want to quiet your sweet tooth, and you don’t mind gaining a few cavities along the way.
I understand that what I’m doing isn’t exactly “healthy,” okay? I can comprehend that the momentary sense of euphoria is the result of a release of endorphins in response to the pain. I could get the same effect from something like running, or fucking. Yet here I am, all alone, exhausted from doing fuck all over the past million minutes. Actually, I’m probably being a bit harsh on myself, because I have done a few things over the past week. I managed to drag my ass into work, Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM. I didn’t get all of my work finished that I should have, but I can take my work laptop home, so I can play catch up at some point in between my wild and wacky weekend antics (which is, of course, just me, sitting alone in my pitch black bedroom, with nothing but a 2 liter of Mountain Dew as sustenance and my non-work laptop as a means of feeling connected to the world, even if only through binging early 2000’s Anime and re-watching old YouTube videos). I also did some shopping this week, so my pantry is full. It is true that 99% of that pantry space is occupied by Cup Noodle, but I did get a nice variety of flavors, because I care about having a diverse and well-rounded diet. So yeah, I’m chugging along at a nice, even clip. I deserve a reward for having such a productive week, right?
And that’s where all these scars and bruises come into the picture.
Everything else gives me nothing, no sense of accomplishment or purpose. I’m just an emotionally vacant hole, and I’m backhauling in all the bullshit I can find in a piss poor attempt to feel full. Of course, that’s not how anything works, so nothing gets better, and I’m still a husk of a human. Is it so strange that I would turn to self harm in this situation? To me it feels like the logical conclusion. I need anything to wake me up, even if only for a few moments. The edge of a knife against my wrist gives me the rush I need. It’s a sharp pain that quickly fades, but the ridges that decorate my skin will tingle for about an hour. I can extend that feeling beyond that initial hour with a little bit of pressure. A few quick punches right on top of the cuts really helps to wake up those nerve cells. If I can keep it going for a solid 5 minutes, all of the skin around the cut will become a marbled mess of black and blue, and the cut itself will widen up a few centimeters, so the blood will keep flowing and flowing and flowing. By the time the bleeding has stopped, and I’ve cleaned myself up in the shower, the sight of my fucked up body in the mirror is more than enough to draw from me some genuine, untethered laughter. I mean who wouldn’t just lose their shit if they looked like this?! Both arms, from the shoulders to my fingertips, are patchworks of bruises and bright red lines. One glance and it’s so fucking obvious how much I deserve to look like this, or even worse. And I latch onto that thought, because I could look worse, right? My hands still work, which seems sort of fucked up, considering what they just did to my arms. So I bury those smartass hands in my bedroom walls. But my legs are also working just fine, having walked me from my computer chair, into my kitchen, and back again. They are accomplices to this travesty! This crime cannot go unpunished! So I light up a few cigarettes, using my legs as ashtrays, putting out the final dot of heat on my ankles and thighs. And yet I still feel like I’m forgetting something; and that’s when it hits me! I still have lungs that keep pumping me full of life-giving oxygen, and a stomach that continues to try and break my belt with its constant need to expand! But worst of all, I still have this heart, beating away, pushing blood through my veins even as I try to force that blood down the drain! I still have this heart!!!…. This heart…. That feels like lead…. This heart that can’t seem to carry me anywhere, and so I find myself leaning on the shoulders and ideas of others to carry my things, things I should be able to carry with my own strength…. This heart that has nothing left beyond the basic, barbaric function of keeping me alive, even if the rest of me is begging for it to fucking stop….
Well, I can take some pills to turn my stomach into knots that will surely come back up my throat and all over my toilet. And those same pills will grip my muscles, drying out my mouth and making it harder to take any sort of breath, so my lungs will be screaming at me shortly. But my heart? What can I do about my heart? It’s the one responsible for this mess, more so than anything else. But what can I do? It’s getting late, and I can feel the rest of my body shutting down. At this point I can only hope this isn’t going to be me simply falling asleep. I have to hold out hope that I finally did enough, that my heart got the message loud and clear. I have to believe…I’ve finally paid enough…to earn a little bit of peace…
But this was just another normal week for me. I’ve done this for 6 years now. And yeah, I understand that what I’m doing isn’t exactly “healthy,” okay? I can comprehend that the momentary sense of euphoria is the result of a release of endorphins in response to the pain.
But I can’t stop.
I could never stop.
Until my heart can catch up to the rest of me, I’ll ever be able to stop.
So I’m just waiting for that moment.
When I can finally, finally stop…