What Would You Do?

Come with me.  I'd like to take you somewhere.  It's a place that is dark and bottomless, a place that has no boundary and is yet terribly confining.  There is very little light and almost no hope and just when you think that you have reached the bottom, vast chasms open beneath you and downward you fall.

Imagine that you wake up one morning.  You don't have any real compunction to get out of bed.  As a matter of fact, you haven't felt much like getting out of bed for a few days now.  It's almost like there's some small voice in your head that's whispering, "What's the point?"  But out of bed you get and off into your day you go.  

As you go about your day, you notice odd things.  Things that once seemed oh so incredibly interesting seem rather blasè.  Goals that you once had seem kind of ridiculous, out of reach, or just not worth putting up the effort for.  There's not one thing you can point to, and you don't even really feel bad.  But the world is a little grey.

Each morning, when you wake up, it's a little harder to get out of bed.  Each day, the world seems less interesting, less vibrant.  The colors of the world literally seem to lose their shimmer.  The sky is less blue.  When you look at your spouse, or your children, that surge of love you have always felt is diminished.  Your favorite food is just kind of so-so.  Why read your favorite type of books?  Their not really holding your interest anyways.

You start to question, "What is happening to life itself?"  That voice in your head that was just a quiet whisper is now speaking louder, still asking, "What's the point?"  

Pretty soon, you're craving bed at night, that quiet oblivion that causes a break in your day, that time when you can turn off your mind and cease to exist for just a bit.  Sleep seems easier.

At some point, right about now, the pain starts.  This is not a physical pain, though sometimes it can manifest this way.  This is a psychic pain, a pain that is unlike physical pain.  You see, your body has limits to the amount of pain it can feel.  Your mind does not.

A new voice starts up, and all it can say is, "I really want this to stop."  It begins to sing a harmony to that other voice in your head that is constantly asking, "What's the point?"  And day upon day, moment upon moment, the pain mounts.

Life, now, is hard.  Just swinging your legs out of bed every morning is one of the hardest things you have ever done in your life.  Just putting one foot in front of the other is a Herculean effort.  Just making it from bed to bed becomes an agony.  And the pain.  The pain sings in your head.

Your friends and family start to notice.  You can't keep it hidden anymore.  They have seen!  They ask what's wrong, but you don't know!  Nothing is wrong.  Everything is wrong!  This is a landscape that is completely devoid of reason.  There is no right or wrong, no why or how, there is only the pain.  

And that pain fills your world.  It sings in agony all the day long.  "Oh God, this has to stop!" intertwined with "What is the point?!?!" screams from the pinnacle of your mind, from the depths of your soul, from the bottom of your heart, because only the bottom is left.  You are being consumed.

And there is no reason.  Reason has ceased to exist.  There is no why.  If there was a why, a reason, then you could fix it.  But instead, you are left with the singing of the pain, which has now eclipsed your very existence and has eradicated your will to live.

All you want is for it to stop.

The pain has become a prison.  The walls are completely grey.  There is no alteration in the atmosphere, no changing in the light.  The world outside these walls has ceased to exist.  There is only the pain.  The pain has become your world.

All you want is for it to stop.

How can I make it stop?

Oh God, if you love me, make it stop!!!!  Why are you doing this to me?!?!

And then, one day, you realize you can make it stop.

I ask you, my friends, what would you do?

I live in fear of this grey.  Days when I wake up and I don't feel like waking up, there's a part of me that cowers and asks, "Is today the day it starts?"

I have been blessed in that I have not suffered from this type of depression for years.  And yet, it still haunts me.  You suffer through a few of these, and you learn to fear them.  They leave an indelible mark upon your soul.  It is the thing I am the most afraid of in all of the world.  In a real way, my mind is my worst enemy.

I, too, suffer from mental illness.  It is no respecter of person and there is often absolutely no reason.  It can strike at any time.  It just is, like the wind, or the rain, or an earthquake to primitive man.  It just is.  

If you are beside someone that is suffering like this, then stand beside them.  You can't fix it, it's not your fault and there is really, truly, no reason.  But if you can get them to help, if you can stand by their side as they suffer while you shepherd them to the help they so desperately need, then you have done your part.

If you find yourself identifying with what I've written, if the grey has surrounded you and you can see no escape, seek help now.  There is an escape.  It is not a quick escape, but with the right medicines and with the right people to talk to, you can escape.  The sooner you talk to someone, the sooner you can be let out of this hellish prison.