Depression looks different for everyone.
Feeling anxious and depressed looks like a lot of things. It looks like sleeping in, a lot. It looks like running your metaphorical tank until it’s empty, it looks like chewed up nails and sore lips. In my case, anxiety and depression looked like a trip to the hospital after a suicide scare.
I felt numb.
The shitty guy who I was talking to that didn’t care about me, the insane amount of schoolwork, the bad grades, and the binge drinking didn’t help my mental health at all. I felt so suffocated and hopeless that the only option that made sense at the time was to end my life. I stood in the shower, with tears building up, because the thought of suicide scared me, but also really intrigued me. Would it be a failed attempt and would I spend the rest of the school year with everyone breathing down my neck making sure I’m stable? What happens if it works? What is dying like? I had so many thoughts running through my head.
I thought about how if i wasn’t alive I wouldn’t have to feel emotions anymore. For a second being dead didn’t seem too bad, actually it seemed really nice. No more anxiety, no more sadness, no more... anything.
But then I considered the people who I would hurt. My family who watched me grow up. They were there for every single part of my life, and they would be there for this. My friends who love me, unconditionally. My professors who have helped me learn. And those who I haven’t met yet, who will be big parts of my life. Hold on. Wait. I don’t think I want to do this anymore.
That pause in thinking was just enough time to get me the help I needed. My roommate took me to the hospital and I had to say “I’m feeling suicidal” out loud to the person at the front desk. Imagine that. Saying it scared me. It felt like someone else was in my body, controlling my thoughts.
Sitting in that room waiting for crisis control to come talk to me left me with a lot of alone time, where I sat with my thoughts. I felt embarrassed and sad, which is completely normal. The thought of taking your own life and removing yourself from earth is terrifying.
You don’t realize how important you are to people in the moment of feeling sad, anxious, lost, and alone. I was lucky enough to realize that before something bad happened. Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t have time to think because they are so numb to everything. They can’t pause, like I did, and try to remove themselves from what is making them sad. Which a lot of the time is life itself.
Although suicide seems like the fix to your problems, I can promise you it’s not. You have so much more life to live, don’t cut it short.
Tips on how to help someone or maybe even yourself….
If a loved one is acting distant, reach out to them. This can be as easy as asking to go get breakfast or coffee. Knowing they have people who care about them will make a huge difference.
Watch for warning signs: not caring about anything, giving away personal belongings, giving up. If someone you know is acting differently, talk to them and make sure they’re okay. Let them know you are there to listen and help.
If someone tells you they are feeling suicidal, ask them questions about what they’re feeling and empathize with them. Let them know you care.
Tips on how to help yourself:
Talk to someone that you can trust. Keep a list of phone numbers of people you could call.
Remember that suicidal thoughts are just thoughts. You won’t feel this way forever.
Avoid drinking alcohol or taking recreational drugs. They change the way you think and can end up damaging you.
Make a recovery plan. Write down things that help you to feel better about yourself.
Know that you are never alone and you are loved.
This Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.