Depression with a View.
One of the unfortunate side effects of experiencing depression is that you actually understand depression. When you hear of people locking themselves in their room for weeks at a time, or having nervous breakdowns at intersections, or finding an answer in the end of a rope, you think to yourself: yeah, I get it.
It’s a tad jaded, maybe, but it’s just the way it is. And I suppose somebody needs to get it, right? After all, if there weren’t people like me, support groups wouldn’t exist.
In a twisted sort of perception, I feel fortunate. I am someone who has gained a type of emotional intelligence, albeit a wretched, cursed one. And with the understanding comes an ability to possibly help someone who finds themselves in a place I once was. I’m not saying I pulled through those moments in the most graceful of manners, or that I’m some type of expert, but I still pulled through.
And at the end of the day, I guess that’s what matters.
Or, it is what matters. Which will be something I’ll remember the next time I’m smothered by the dark, because I’m not naive enough to say I won’t be. Who knows, I might be the girl you see having a breakdown at an intersection. Look for key signs: Texas license plate, New Jersey hair, and a North Carolina-born tendency to insert the word “y’all” after “fuck.” There will probably be a lot of angry, fist-to-wheel action, too.
There are other times, though, when I wish it didn’t get it. I wish I was more emotionally simple, so I could hear these things and be bewildered instead of empathetic. Then I wouldn’t have to relive or rethink any of those parts of my personality. I could just feel sad. That’s all. Not contemplative, or so complex I wanted to rip my skin off, just sad, like a majority of people do. In a twisted sort of perception, I think those people are fortunate.
They don’t understand what it’s like to fantasize about suicide. What a blissful thing this must be.
But I wonder, which of us fares better when we have to deal with our loved ones falling apart? Does an understanding of the deep make it easier for us to cope? We have no questions of “why” and we don’t try to rationalize. It just is. And we know the person will probably, in the end, be okay. But, does it bring our own flaws too close to the surface? We get to remember - “oh, yeah. I’m poisoned.” For those who don’t know how it feels to self-loathe into an anti-social puddle, they can find relief there. They can feel lucky, and reassured. But, is the issue so far removed that a lack of understanding makes it harder to sympathize? “They’re just being dramatic,” could be a common thought. They might also worry, excessively, overbearingly so, causing anxiety-born stomach aches and smothering tendencies.
And one of the questions serious depressives hate to answer on a regular basis is, “are you okay?”
Because on the days where it’s hard to hide, by the sixth time we’re tempted to point a finger in the askers face and go, “no. The fuck I’m not, buddy.” Or maybe that’s just me. Because my personality also has the genetic flaw of being from New Jersey.
Anyway. I suppose neither of us, the empathetic or sympathetic, really come out anywhere near “the top”. We still have to watch someone we care about struggle inside themselves, and no matter how far or close that feeling may be, it’s universally one thing: hard.