In fairness, it doesn’t take a lot to wind me up.
What this time annoys me is this very limited mindset about what depression is like. You lay in bed for months on end, and never leave the house.
Yes, that’s what it’s like for some, but not for everyone.
I’m what’s often referred to as a ‘high functioning’ depressed person. Until I got hospitalised, I did my makeup, had my nails done, went to work and washed my hair.
Still at the same time every morning before I went to work I took a kitchen knife and cut myself so that I could make it through the day and would cry hysterically at 3am after waking up for the twelfth and final time that night to face another long day.
I was desperate for someone to see what absolute torture of every second of every day was but it was all happening inside my head. There was no cast, no bruises, nothing that would tell others that something was off. I was terrified of saying it out loud because then it would be real.
I don’t know at which point I became suicidal. Maybe it was after enough nights of only sleeping hour and a half at most, another excruciating hour of pressure that seemed to be surrounding me from all directions, filling my lungs, crushing my skull.
I can’t remember when the first thought came. I wasn’t exactly on my most stable frame of mind at the time so the memories are hazy at best. Maybe it’s my mind’s way of protecting me because the realisation that I actually wanted to end my life must’ve been traumatic.
But one morning after coming into work I stepped into another room, called my GP and told the receptionist what was the problem. This was the first time I had ever said it out loud, and the words sounded so loud in that quiet room.
This picture was taken about two weeks before I was hospitalised.
I want to kill myself.
Ten minutes later I got a call back from a doctor, and every word of this conversation is embedded into my mind forever.
After I told the GP that I wanted to kill myself, his reply was: “Why don’t you then?”
I have a reputation as a smartarse, who always has a comeback to everything. Have to admit, this time I had nothing. There was a window at the room where I was having the phone call. I looked at my colleagues, who were living their ordinary lives on the other side of the glass as I was being asked why haven’t I topped myself yet.
What in the Lord Buddha’s name am I supposed to say to that? According to him, as I was still working, I must not be ‘that bad’ yet.
“Are you actively suicidal?”
“What does that mean ‘actively suicidal’? That I have one leg on the outside of the bridge railing? Do I become deactivated once I pop? If that’s the case then no, but I want to kill myself.”
I wasn’t invited in. I was prescribed Antidepressant#1 over the phone. I was so out of it that I didn’t even really catch the name of it or anything else that he said after that until he asked me whether I wanted a number for the local crisis team.
“Go on then.”
“But you can only call them if it’s an emergency.”
You are a cunt.
“I’m not going to ask them about the fucking weather, just give me the number.”
I wrote it down with my hands shaking with anger and shame. I felt like I mustn’t be that bad yet because he hadn’t taken me seriously enough to even warrant a phone number. I had a quick cry for wasting the important GP’s time, because everything was all of a sudden scary and real and horrible, dried my tears and left the room.
Had I not been at work, I would’ve killed myself that day, no questions asked. Maybe I would’ve gone and slit my wrists outside that GP’s office, just to make a point. Am I active enough now, motherfucker?
Instead I went to my desk and got on with my work. The next day I called the GP’s again because I still had no clue what I had been prescribed. I had never been on antidepressants before, and I was scared. Would I still be me?
Luckily enough I was seen later that afternoon by a lovely woman, who very patiently went through every concern I had.
“I’m worried that this is going to the beginning of being on medication for the rest of my life,” I told her.
“But what if it makes you feel better?” she asked, very gently.
Good point. That day I started Antidepressant#1.
I don’t like to wish anything too extreme on anyone. I think it’s bad karma.
But I do hope that the GP#1, the first person whom I voiced the scariest realisation of my life to while extremely vulnerable and afraid, will have constipation for the rest of his life.