May 21st, 2019
In this post, I want to talk about navigating life with major depression. This is a very difficult post for me for a number of reasons, which I’ll detail throughout. I’m finally coming out of the fog of a major depressive episode. The truth of the matter is that I almost didn’t make it out this time. At this point, I’ve had at least four major episodes before, and yet it feels like the first time every time. During this episode, I had a new feeling–one that scared me. Sometime a few Saturdays ago, I became afraid of myself. I spent the next three days going between thoughts of ending it all and not ending it all because I knew how many lives I would destroy, including my own. During that time, the parts of me that wanted to survive kept screaming for me to reach out to anyone while the parts of me that didn’t want to live kept shoveling more dirt and rocks over top of me. Honestly, I have my wife (I love you!) and a few close friends (thank you Elisabeth, John, and Merrie!) to thank for me being here. Any properly skilled therapist would tell me to also thank myself for being here, but I can’t.
I call depression “the great liar”. The lies that my mind told me this time were worse than anything I’ve experienced before. There was, of course, the usual lies: “No one cares about you” and “Why are you even here? You aren’t worth anything” This new crop of lies were horrible. They were about everything, from detransitioning, to not being good enough to really be at Microsoft, to me being horrible transitioning and robbing my wife of her husband. These thoughts weren’t based on anything that anyone told me. Deep down, the part of me who was trying to survive knew it was all lies, but I couldn’t even break through to dispel them. Some the Sunday after, there was a little bit of light. The desire to stand up and dust myself off finally showed up. I started seeking help and I started trying to take care of myself again. Since then, it’s been a rocky week, but I’m getting there. My mental state today as compared to a week ago is like night and day. Sometime around last Wednesday, I reached escape velocity and I started moving away from the black hole.
Getting through this wasn’t some superhuman feat worthy of praise. The fact of that matter is that I got really lucky. It’s better for me not to speculate on where I would be if I had gone through another week like the last one. I also can’t tell myself all the reasons I don’t deserve to be depressed either (though I tried last week). Depression doesn’t make any sense. It can affect the most successful of us. I’ve told myself time and time again that I’ve got an excellent marriage, a great job, family and friends that love me–and yet it never cured or helped my depression at all.
In closing, if you are in troubled waters, don’t be ashamed of admitting it or for seeking help. If you know someone who is experiencing hard times, please do them the favor of checking up on them. Sometimes we need to be forced to come up for air because we can’t do it ourselves. Finally, if you are thinking about suicide, please know that we need every single one of us. I want you here and I hope that you don’t go.