Along with the delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations that come along with living with schizophrenia, it’s pretty much guaranteed that at some point along the road you’ll come across the nasty gnawing thing that’s been referred to as to as the black dog, the fog, or any number of other apt metaphors. I’m speaking about depression, and it’s been a normal and persistent part of my experience having lived with schizophrenia for almost eleven years now.
I can remember specific instances along my path where I wouldn’t want to do a thing; I wouldn’t want to get out of bed, make breakfast, or even attempt carrying on a normal day because it just seemed disgusting and stupid. I have grappled with the idea of putting an end to things more times than I can count, and I know how hard it is to even attempt to do basic things like taking a shower and brushing your teeth when that fog is hanging so low over you.
It’s not just sadness. Though that’s a function. It’s more like a blankness, where nothing matters and nothing means anything. You come to the realization that there’s no point in doing anything you normally do, and the things you thought were good and that you thought mattered only amount to little improvements. At times it can just get so overwhelming and so pointless that there doesn’t seem to be any real reason to carry on.
I can recall an afternoon not so long ago where I had work to do, but I just sat staring at a blank screen, thinking about getting a belt from my bedroom and strangling myself. I knew in that moment that I had to call someone, though.
It’s hard to make that phone call, but there are people there who care about you and who want you to keep going. My Mom, my brothers, and my friends are all very valuable to me, and I don’t take their company for granted.
Depression is hard to describe. It’s as if instead of a bad headache, you have a life ache. It just seems like there’s nothing you can do to change things, like there’s no way to get to the place you want to be, and like the place you want to be that looked so shiny and new before just looks dilapidated. It’s like there’s no reason to do anything, and there’s no reason in continuing to try to do anything because it won’t get you anywhere. It’s not sadness per se, as it may seem to those who don’t know. It’s more like never seeing the sun or the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s like hopelessness.
I’ve been there more times than I can count, and I know I’ll probably find myself in that space again at some point, but there are things you can do. You can talk to somebody, you can get some help via medication, and you can take it easy on yourself as you get better because there’s no scenario in this world that would be better played if you weren’t there for it.
If you’re going through a storm, just know that you’re not alone; you have kindred spirits in the millions of people who suffer with depression, and you have family and friends that are willing to talk.