Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Depression: The Invisible Prison

I used to wish for cancer. 

Pray for it, even, which is a backwards thing for an agnostic to do...but then, no godly person could get away with praying for death. 

I would hear these stories of wonderful, beloved people being robbed of their futures, happily-ever-after with their partners, the chance to see their children grow up....

...and you know what I felt? Envy. 

I was jealous that these people got a free ticket out of this house of horrors - and didn't even WANT it - while I was being forced to stay against my will. 

I know; sickening.

And because it's such a twisted and disgusting thought process, I would feel immense guilt over it. I was ashamed to be frittering away my existence with suffering, while others who actually *wanted* their lives and their family and their friends - who could actually enjoy being here - would not be allowed to stay.   

The guilt may have had less to do with my perverse death wish than the fact that I was not living the life I had been given; I was wasting it.

One day after the next, I wallowed in the cesspool of depression, rejecting life. I would walk by this poem I had pasted on my fridge: "
I Will Not Die an Unlived Life" and feel horrible about how horrible my life was, because that is a depressed brain does.

I was reminded of all of this today when reading a paradoxical post by Adam Alvarado at
The Last Broken Home: What a [Death Row Inmate] Can Teach You About Being Yourself -

"We can piss away one more day being angry, and vengeful, and sad – about crap that’s gone by, and passed by, and no longer a part of ourselves or our future. Another day being afraid of so much, and hurt by so much, and less than our better selves because of it."

Isn't that exactly what I did for 5 years?

I may as well have been in prison. 

Hell, there IS no worse prison than our own minds. We sit there suffering day after day, waiting for someone to come let us out...only to find out one day that the door was never even locked.

A friend of mine once blogged at "The Invisible Prison" (which she has since taken down, much to my dismay). There couldn't be a more fitting metaphor for suicidal depression. From the outside, no one can glean any possible reason for this self-imposed sentence. There are no bars, no chains, no guards...

...yet we're not so much afraid that door will never open; we're afraid that it WILL, and we'll have to face the world once again.

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  1. I like those last two paragraphs especially. Fear of life...as a side note, I notice an awful lot of people have nothing good to say about the future, because being positive is taking a risk.

  2. Could you elaborate more on what you mean? What it brings to mind, for me, is learned helplessness: you don't dare hope, or think you'll get to keep your happiness, because you've experienced that it will always be taken away.

  3. Interesting how you call this an invisible prison, Down (LOL) I mean Bri! But the things about prisons is someone usually has the key to let you out. It sounds like you got out of your prison slowly or are on the way out. how did you do it? how can others? not based on medical advice - just what you did on a personal level. a future post:) ?

  4. A future post for sure. Figuring out how I got out...might require going back into that space. Sometimes it's easier to run out of the cell and not look back!

  5. This. So very much this. I've tried to describe the lowest points of my depression to people close to me whose minds function properly (or more properly than mine, I should say), and they usually offer platitudes and ask naive questions like, "Why were you so sad? You have a good life." They mean well, but they don't realize that I've used that own line to flog myself into a stupor so many times.

    It has taken me 6 years to admit to myself that I really was suicidal back then. I've wanted to write about it, but I'm afraid that if I poke my head back into that prison cell I won't get out alive this time. You've given me a lot to think about. Thanks.

  6. Glad to hear your thoughts on this, it is SO true that we are already beating ourselves up over those things to begin with, and certainly don't need anyone else's help! And it's very hard to force your brain to go back into that space, even to figure out why you don't feel that way anymore.