Writer’s Block – A Very Personal Post

2.26.2010 | Uncategorized


I am finding that although I want to write something, I can’t seem to find the words. Maybe it’s because Andrew Koenig’s body was found in Stanley Park yesterday. He had taken his own life. I did not know Andrew, and do not know his family or friends. But somehow, his suicide has affected me. I think I need to write about that a bit, if that’s ok with you all. (Mom, dad… you can skip this one if you like).

Depression is a terrible, terrible disease. Yes, it is a disease. Unfortunately, one of the worst parts of depression is the fact that such a stigma is attached to it. For people with depression, people like me, we struggle not only with the disease, but with having to face people who think we are somehow “weak” because our brains take over our thoughts sometimes and don’t let go.

Yes, there is medication. But like most medication, it doesn’t SOLVE the problem – it just helps us to cope. Even when you take some NyQuil or Tylenol, you don’t feel 100%, something is still amiss within you, right? It’s the same with antidepressant drugs. For the most part you can get along very well each day, but you know that somewhere inside you, a darkness waits. It shows up when it wants to, it goes when it wants to, and it leaves a horrible echo.

Yes, we know there is “help”. There are many people to speak with, many numbers to call. Have I ever called the Crisis Line? Yes I have. In fact, it’s programmed into my phone under “Help”. It did help on the two occasions that I called. I was very grateful.

But here’s the thing (and please know that I don’t speak for everyone who has depression, obviously)… the pills, the help, the support… none of it matters when you get to a place where you don’t even recognize your own face in the mirror. When you’re so low, so down, so dark and grey that opening your eyes, or lifting your head is an exhausting task that you can’t even bother to attempt. Depression can strike me down at any time. I can start a day really well, and then I may start to feel it creeping up. Nothing triggers it. No event. It just arrives.

It is never welcome. It shows up, and I try to fight it off, but it’s kind of like… like… trying to punch a fog out of a room. I can’t fight it off. It is impossible. What makes it worse, is that this is when people think that I am the “weakest”. That hurts me so much. I do not want to be depressed. It is not ‘attention-seeking behaviour’. Don’t you think that if I had the ability to “just smile!” or not “think about it“, or “cheer up!”, that I would gladly take those opportunities?

Am I suicidal when I’m depressed? It doesn’t work that way. I just feel… heavy. Yes, heavy, I think that’s the word I want. I don’t want to do anything, see anyone, participate in life. I don’t take care of myself because at that time, I don’t care about myself. For me, it’s a lot of self loathing. These are the dangerous times. These are times when I sometimes think, “what’s the point of even taking the medication?”… but I still take it because I fight very hard to keep myself present enough to know that I have to.

Depression hurts me very, very much, and it is something that, every so often, takes over in my body and in my brain, and makes every single minute an excruciatingly difficult task to complete. It truly is like a heavy, choking, fog that wraps itself around me. It’s all-enveloping, and I’ll be honest, it’s really, really scary.

It is a personal journey that I am forced to take against my will. And I will take it for the rest of my life.

I’m thinking that climbing Mount Kilimanjaro will be the easier journey.