Shared experiences of life, and the path that has led you to where you are.
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Depression. Depression is a terrible thing. It’s a silent killer that just sits in your head and watches you destroy yourself until you do the unspeakable. Let me tell you about myself and bear with me here, I’m not much of a writer. I’ve been in depression for the past few years. It all started near the end of my senior year of high school. I don’t remember the exact reason why I was depressed, but I do remember that I didn’t feel like myself. At the time, I thought this was a normal thing. I thought everyone goes through something like this, especially during a life changing moment. Not long after high school, I joined the military. (the navy to be exact.) The main reason I joined the navy is to follow in my father’s footsteps, he was in the military and served 4 years and got out. But I also joined the military to get over this “worthlessness” feeling. I thought that if I joined the military I can travel the world and see places that I never been before. The first year I was in the navy, I traveled to japan, Guam, and south Korea. I was actually pretty happy. But since my first deployment, I fell in depression multiple times. I’ve been in the navy for about five and a half years. And on my third and last deployment, I fell into depression again. This time was not like any other depression I felt before. This time was worse. A lot worse. Just like all the other times, I don’t know why I went into depression. Every other time I went into depression, I had no motivation to do anything and felt worthless. This time I experienced mood swings, got irritated easily, had mental breakdowns. I tried to avoid people so I don't get pissed at them for no reason (due to the mood swings and easily irritated). That kind of worked, until people started to notice that something was “off” with me. So people kept trying to hang out around me and eventually I did in fact yell at someone for no reason. And it wasn’t just anybody, it was a girl that I had feelings for. I liked her since she checked into my command, which is about a couple of years. I felt so bad. I apologized later that night. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the only time that happened to her. I was mad at her for no apparent reason for a couple of days. I kept treating her like shit, up to the point where she didn’t want to be friends anymore. That’s when it clicked into my head that I screwed up. I tried to apologize to her, but she didn’t want to talk to me. A couple of days later, we started making small talk again. I apologized multiple times for what I did. she accepted my apology and we started talking again. But the real hard part about this depression, is the mental breakdowns. I had a few mental breakdowns in the couple of weeks that I was in this depression. Usually whenever I’m in a mental breakdown or feeling bad, I read a note that I written to myself a while ago. It reads “Hey, I know what you’re thinking. You’re not worthless. You’re not alone. You’re not a waste of space. You’re not weak. No matter what you or anybody else thinks. You are a good person. You may not believe this, but people actually care about you. And who knows, you might be the highlight of someone’s day. So don’t do what I think you’re about to do (and trust me, I know what you want to do right now). Think about your family. Think about your friends. Think about what could happen to them if you do it. I know you’re not that selfish person. You’re just a good person in a bad patch. And don’t worry, you’ll get through this. There’s always a light at the end of every tunnel. You just need to push through it... trust me, it’ll get better. Just take a deep breathe in…..let it out, slap a smile on that pretty face of yours and go be a bada** that you are. You got this!” like I said before, usually this helps. But the last couple of mental breakdowns, this note didn’t help. When I wrote this to myself, I dated the note. I normally don’t read the date due to the fact that it was only a date, why would I need to read the date. For the longest time, I didn’t realize that the date was the twenty third of January. To most people that’s just a normal day like any other. But for me, that was the day before my birthday. And not just any birthday, but my twenty first birthday. I couldn’t believe I don’t remember about being depressed the day before my birthday. But anyway, like I said before, this mental breakdown hit hard. My note didn’t work, I’ve been drinking, and all these thoughts came into my head. Thoughts like I’m a screw up, worthless, weak, a burden to everybody else, and that everyone is better than me, and all I do is push people away. And no matter how bad the thoughts got, I accepted it. I accepted all of it. I told my self that I had no friends and that I’m weird. I’m a quiet, shy guy who can’t keep a conversation going. And I know a lot of people don’t like that. Especially girls. Eventually I opened up the message from the girl that I like that didn’t want to be friends anymore. I read it over and over and over. I must have read that message for at least an hour. While I was reading the message for a while, I broke down in tears. I don’t usually cry. I don’t remember the last time I cried before. I know I apologized to her already. But I deep down I knew no matter what, I could prove how sorry I was to her. I tried to put myself in her shoes. Just thinking why this guy; who I called my friend, is yelling at me? Why is he treating me like shit? Why is he ignoring me? And that tore me apart. And after I was done reading the message, I thought to myself why. Why am I like this? I almost lost the one person that I cared about in this command. Then I saw a bottle of Tylenol. And I stared at that bottle (which was about half full) and I stared at that bottle hard. Should I do it? I kept asking myself that question. I wanted to, but I knew that a half bottle of Tylenol was not going to do the job. But I couldn’t stop staring at that bottle. Eventually I got up and flushed the pills down the toilet. Then I just stared at the wall. Just thinking. And for some reason I broke down crying again. The thought that I’m weak and a screw up I was before. Like I said before, I’ve been in and out of depression for the past few years. And in those years, I have attempted multiple times. Three to be exact. the first time was around new years and I was home on leave (vacation). I went to my parents’ basement and went into my dad’s gun cabinet and grabbed a gun. I sat in their basement for a couple of hours, just trying to think if I was ready to do this. I thought I was ready, until I put that gun to my head. As soon as that gun toughed my head, I couldn’t do it. It felt weird. The second time was around the same time of year, just a year later. And it started out the same way. But this time, I put the gun into my mouth, with the barrel of the gun pointed up. That way there was no risk of me surviving. This time I was ready. My finger was on the trigger, slowly squeezing the trigger harder and harder. Now have you ever seen movies that shows people dying? Of course you have. Everybody dies in movies. But have you seen a movie that show people about to die and they have “flashbacks” of their life. Well, I didn’t have that. Honestly if I did have flashbacks of my life, I probably would have pulled the trigger. But I did think about my family. I thought what if I pulled this trigger right now. What would my family say? What would my family do? Will they ever forgive me? Would they blame themselves? I didn’t leave a note or anything like that. So I would assume they would blame themselves. And I didn’t want them to think about anything like that. So I put the gun down. Now before I tell you my next “attempt”, I just want to let everybody know, three is my favorite number. My parents both have two other siblings. That means my grandparents on both sides had three kids. My dad with his brother and sister, and my mom with her two sisters. My parents also had three kids. Myself and my two sisters. I made third class petty officer on my third try. And I also made second class petty officer on my third try. So three was my number for sure. So my third attempt happened in my apartment. I have been drinking quiet a bit and I had those thoughts, I knew I was ready this time. But I didn’t have a gun. But I did have a lot of pills. So I wrote a note for my family and friends, got up, went to the bathroom and swallowed a bunch of pills. At least 4 bottles of different pills. Then I went to the kitchen, poured my self some salted caramel crown royal (which is my favorite drink), then I proceeded to go to bed. I thought that was it. I did it. Finally, my pain will go away. But that didn’t work either. I woke up the next morning on my bathroom floor. There was puke everywhere. The sink, toilet, and the bathtub. Somehow I survived this attempt. So back to my mental breakdown. That’s what was going through my head when I say I’m a screw up. I can’t even kill myself. I mean how hard can it be? so during my breakdown, I tried to find something to “punish” myself. I found a razor blade at work days before this mental breakdown. But I knew I’m not good at cutting myself. I have a hard time popping blisters, so I knew cutting myself wouldn’t work. But I tried anyway, it was the only thing I could think to use. But as I thought, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t look when the razor blade was on my wrist. I put the razor to my wrist, put my head down, and started to cut. It kind of hurt. And I thought I cut my wrist, but apparently I didn’t press hard enough. It barely cut through the skin. It just looked like a paper cut on my wrist. So I sat there, just wondering. What can I use? So I went into my backpack that I bring to work and grabbed a paperclip and a lighter. I just bent the one leg of the paper clip put the lighter un it and waited until the end of the paper clip was that reddish orange color. Then I took that paper clip on my hand. The pain only lasted for a few seconds. I did this two more times. So when I was done, I had three marks on the back of my hand. At the time, I thought to myself, now you and everybody else can see how much of a failure you are. after a few minutes of starring at my hand, I thought to myself, why am I doing this to myself? I tried to cheer myself up. I went on YouTube to try and find motivational videos and stuff like that. And there was one guy who said “the easiest way to be happy is to get rid of the things that is preventing you from being happy”. To me it made sense. So I took out a little piece of paper and I tried to write down things that is preventing me from being happy. That’s when I fell right back into the breakdown. I realized that the one thing that is preventing me from being happy was…..well…..me. my dream job is to be a mechanic and work on cars. I had that opportunity at my four-year mark. Then I extended my contract, knowing that I didn’t really like the navy after my first deployment. Then the girl I talked about earlier. She invited me to go to Tokyo (we were in japan on my last deployment at this time). But I was in a mood swing and that’s when I yelled at her. I still feel like crap for doing that. All I want is for her to be happy. And she seemed super happy when she invited me. She had the biggest smile on her beautiful face. And I can’t believe I screwed it up. Every other human being would be super excited when their crush asks them to hang out. But like I said before, I screwed it up. Maybe she is better off not being my friend. I know I don’t make her happy. I see her with her friends and she seems pretty happy. There’s a guy in my command that I absolutely can’t stand. That’s a whole other story, I wont put every to sleep with that story. But I see her with him. She looks happy. And that’s all I want with her. Then at that moment, the “what if” questions started to come up again. What if I do stop being her friend? The one person I care about in this command. Nobody knows this, but she helped me out of depression before. She doesn’t even know it. It was around the time of my twenty first birthday, when I wrote that note to myself. I knew that her happiness makes me happy. And me and her were on opposite shifts. So that was kind of hard to do. So every day during our shift change, I would tell her to smile. And when she smiled, it cheered me up a little. Eventually we hung out. And like I said before, I’m a quiet guy, so it was pretty awkward most of the time. But just being around her made me super happy. And at that time, I only had two “attempts” so I thought maybe there is something to live for. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t like me the way I like her. But I didn’t care. I was happy for once. I can’t even remember the last time I was happy. she doesn’t even know that she helped me. so I ask again. What if I stop being her friend? I know she will happy. will I be? her and the guy I can’t stand. I don’t think I can ever hang out with that guy. Maybe I should let her go and be happy. I know he is better than me. he’s not quiet and awkward. Now I have those suicidal thoughts in my head. Maybe the fourth time is the charm. But there was nothing I can do to attempt anything. I felt worthless and alone. I kept trying to get out of this breakdown, but it seems like it just keeps going, never ending. So I tried the one thing I never thought I would ever do, call a friend. hopefully he can calm me down before something bad happens. It took me a while to message him. It was about three in the morning. I don’t want to wake him up. But if I don’t get help now, I don’t know what will happen. So I messaged him. Apparently he was still awake. So we met up in person, and we talked. And it helped. It helped a lot. Eventually I calmed down and went to sleep. I know, that ending was not the greatest. But that’s my story; and I know, it was a long one. I guess the point to all this is that you're not alone. if you’re ever feeling down or depressed, talk to someone. It doesn’t have to be a doctor right off the bat. But find a friend that you can trust and count on. Don’t ever think that you're a waste of space or that the world is better off without you. Don’t think that nobody cares about you or that you’re a burden to people. Because guess what? You're wrong! No matter who you are, no matter how you act, there is always someone out there that cares about you. I guarantee that. When I had that mental breakdown, I wasn’t thinking straight, depression was just sitting in my mind and was just watching me destroy myself. But a couple of days later, I monitored my drinking, started to go out and hang out with friends. And hopefully I will find more activities to get my mind back to a “normal” state. And after I started doing those things, I realized, I wasn’t alone. I realized that life……life has one job. And that job is to prevent you from your dream, and life isn’t going to play fair. It never has and it never will. Think about it. If life didn’t do its job, everyone would have their dream job, everyone would be happy. but not everyone has their dream job, not everyone is happy. that’s life. when life is doing its job and is trying to stop you, push you down, destroying your life, you can do one of two things. You can either stay down and give up while life beats you and keeps beating you until you quit life. or you can get up, push back and move on. In my note I said, there’s always a light at the end of every tunnel. Now the journey to that light is not going to be easy. Life is going to make you work. There will be times where life will try and trick you into being happy and then ruin you. Its going to feel like life took everything from you. But I want you to realize something. Trees lose there leaves all the time. But they always grow back. So when life does that to you, don’t worry, your leaves will grow back. You're going to have push through a lot of barriers in that tunnel. Sometimes those barriers will fall on you, but if you get up and keep pushing through, you will get to that light at the end of that tunnel. And once you get there, you're going to experience this feeling. And you know what that feeling is. That’s called true happiness. You just beat life at its own game and now you're living your dream. Now sometimes you may have to go back into that tunnel. Like I said before, you're not alone. There are other people in that tunnel. And some people need help getting back up when life pushes them down. You may need to give them a hand and help them through that tunnel. Some of them will say things like “I’m okay” or “I’m fine”, but deep down they are hurting.it may not seem like that at first. I was the same way. I’m used to being alone for years, so I didn’t think I needed help. I thought I could just handle it on my own, I handle depression before and I can do it again. I’m not weak, I don’t need help. But eventually I realized that I might need help. And I’m glad that I did. So do your best and help them up and through that tunnel. You know what’s better than getting to the light at the end of the tunnel? Helping someone else get to that light at the end of that tunnel. And who knows, maybe they will go back in and help someone else out of that tunnel. If you're still reading this, I just want to say thank you. I hope everyone lives the best of their lives. And I hope this inspired some people to push through that tunnel or inspired people to help people out of that tunnel.
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, thoughts and, most of all, giving people hope of getting through the dark tunnel. Thank you for your encouraging words.
Jehovah is close to the brokenhearted; he saves those who are crushed in spirit.—Psalm 34:18
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