Lessons · Ramblings

Chester and I

I was watching a video of one of my favorite YouTubers talk about interviewing Chester Bennington only a couple months before his death. Now, Linkin Park’s prime was a little before my time, by only a couple years, so I didn’t really listen to them, but of course I knew who they were and enjoyed a couple of their songs. Despite that, Chester’s death had an effect on me that all other celebrity suicides in recent years (e.g. Robin Williams) have had, too.

I’ve mentioned it in my blog a couple times, but I’ve had clinical depression for awhile now. While I take pills that severely help, I’ll never be able to fully kick it, though I’m in a much better place than I used to be. I never got low enough that I attempted suicide, but I suppose if I had the energy to get up from bed, I probably would have.

I wanted to touch on something that’s mentioned in the video, about 6:07 in. He talks about a friend of his who has depression not wanting to get help because she wanted to prove to herself that she could do it by herself. Listening to it, he may as well have been talking about me.

I don’t know if it was the depression, my competitiveness, my pride, or something entirely different, but I didn’t want help either, I didn’t think I needed it. I thought that if I dug myself in a hole, I was the one who had to get myself out of it. Yet, I knew that if I opened up about it, if I got help, it would get better. But I didn’t.

I knew that I had depression, but I refused to recognize it. I thought that the way I thought the world was, useless and unfair, was what it truly was, and my eyes had just finally opened up to it. I guess I knew deep down this wasn’t normal, but at the same time, I thought it was an honest perspective. I thought it was the truth and everyone else was delirious.

Maybe that was one of the reasons why I didn’t get help for so long. I knew it was depression, but I thought I knew the truth about the world, and I didn’t want people feeding me lies about how great it was and what an amazing opportunity it was. I wanted to take life as it was.

But what depression doesn’t tell you is that it really isn’t like that. Life isn’t as bad as I thought it was. Yeah, life can be shitty, the world is shitty, but it’s kind of this beautiful thing, in a way. It’s not something I can describe, and it’s something most people see, but when I was in that bad place, I couldn’t see it. I couldn’t feel it. I couldn’t feel anything. It was like a ghost–there, unseen, but perhaps, sometimes, felt, or at least know the existence of. I think I knew there was something there that I was missing, but I wanted to find it myself. If everybody else could see it, why couldn’t I?

Does that make me stupid, or does that make me smart?

People will give you many things that helped them cure their depression. They’ll tell you how they had to change their attitude, what music they listened to, what support group they joined, what book they read, etc. etc. etc. They’ll give you a thousand different reasons, but I’ll give you one.

The only thing that worked for me was antidepressants. I tried therapy. I tried books. I tried changing my outlook. I tried diets and I tired jokes and I tried movies and I tried hobbies and I tried writing and I tried crying and I tired opening up and I tried Bible study and I tried making friends and I tried sleeping more and I tried church and I tried exploring and I tried exercising and I tried prayer and I tried every fucking thing.

But the irony is, in the end, it was just a chemical imbalance in my brain. And I don’t know if I wasn’t strong enough to beat it on my own with my own remedies or if I was just weak enough to have it in the first place.

But I do know, that even though I had to get help, even though the only thing that could help me were drugs, I know that I still kicked depression in the ass in the end. It wanted me dead, but I survived.


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