Thursday, February 3, 2011

A Personal Account on Depression

I just finished watching "Prozac Nation", a movie about a freshman girl's (Christina Ricci) year into Harvard on a journalism scholarship. She completes the fantasy requirement for college (losing your virginity, doing drugs, and drinking) and realizes that she's extremely depressed and emotionally fucked up. At the end, her therapist recommends she take Prozac to help her deal with her mental issues. Lizzie starts taking the pills and discovers that it covers up her personality, her life, everything. She feels "normal", but she doesn't feel herself. The most resounding quote from the movie is when she realizes that "Sometimes it feels like we're all living in a Prozac nation. The United States of Depression." 

After watching this movie, I was reminded of The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, an autobiography of sorts and the most depressing book I have ever read. When I read it, I was going through my own depression of sorts, but it was nothing like what hit me last summer. I realized how easy it is to get into that kind of state, how truly scarily easy it is. How easy it is and how hard it is to get out: what it's like when you lay in bed in the morning and you have to go to school or work, or you have to do something with your life, but you can't. You can't get out of bed, so you just stay there. When even suicide doesn't sound appealing to you--too much effort. All you want to do is sleep forever. Not die, but just close your eyes and never wake up. It's not a violent action, it's not a selfish decision, it's just going to sleep. 

Sometimes, you think of killing yourself, yes. Is it a selfish thought? Perhaps. Think about all those people who love you! That's mocking. Yes, people love you but can they understand? Even if they do understand and empathize, can they stop you? Can they actually help you? Only you can get out of this shithole you've dug for yourself. And you've dug it so far and so deep that you can't see the light anymore. But you won't accept help because you can do it yourself. You'll do it, you'll get out of it. You can't see the light at the end of the tunnel, you can't see a moment when this phase will stop, but you're sure it will. 

You make mistakes, push people away. You'll make amends when you get out of it. They'll understand and bounce back. You don't care anymore about anything. It's all meaningless, it's all extremely hard to bear. One more day. And another. And another. How long can you live like this? One day, you'll just hold your breath and stop breathing. So easy. Too easy.

Some people get out of this. Some people don't. Some people opt to take pills, some people opt other choices. Forget about your depression, forget about reality, forget about what's inside your mind. Take drugs, alter your brain, get high and stay high. Come down and get sober for a few hours, it kills you. Go back into the vicious cycle and sooner or later, you're addicted.

I'm not even sure how I got out of my state of depression. I don't even know if I'm out of it. Maybe it was a mental effort of telling myself that I was going to get out of it, yet how I did, I don't remember. I'll get back to you on that.

Depression doesn't only happen to the "weak". It doesn't happen just to teenagers or young people in their twenties. It can hit you at any time, any age, any sex, anywhere. Your life doesn't have to be miserable for you to get depressed. It can seem perfect from the outside looking in. But the scary thing is, it can happen to anyone and it can happen to you. 

And please, don't look down at all those who have attempted or committed suicide. They're not selfish. They're not weak. They're just so tired, so incredibly tired. 

This isn't a call for empathy, sympathy, or help for myself or for anyone who's depressed/suicidal. I don't profess to know what's going to help you. This is simply a personal account of what's happened to me and one of my friends and a general musing on depression and suicide because of a movie I recently saw. If you have been or are depressed and you think this is a load of bullshit, you have a right to your opinion and I have a right to mine.

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