Friday, January 25, 2008

Dear Precious Human Being (who is depressed)

The following is part of a letter I wrote for people suffering from a clinical depression after I had finally recovered from one. Perhaps it will help you or a loved one.

January 1, 1999

Dear Precious Human Being,

It may sound funny to be addressed this way -- dear precious human being, but when I was in the hospital because of a severe depression, I didn't feel I even deserved that title. It was more like horrible screw up, dear idiot, dear humiliated, dear unloved, unlovable, desperate, and fearful jerk. I felt physically detached from my body because i was numb and also sometimes completely in pain and i didn't know what had happened to me. I couldn't understand that depression is not just emotion...that it is a physical illness too and it affects your thinking. I felt like a weak person who had no right to live, because i couldn't think (i thought) or function anymore and i was certain i wouldn't again even though i desperately wanted to, but i couldn't feel it so thought it didn't exist. I address you firstly as dear human being, because i know you are dear and a human and a being who is suffering to be where you are today. You deserve the title -- dear and human and precious being.

I was trapped in a dark hole of self-hate and desperately wanted to crawl out, but i felt so helpless and so lonely. I hurt so deeply. Sometimes a person could comfort me for a while and i wanted that feeling to last forever, but it didn't. And there was this lady who shared my room who kept stealing my underwear and socks and telling me that i was dead already. She was hearing voices and psychotic, poor lady, but i thought she was right to say i was dead already, because -- i felt useless to anyone and wanted to die. When i looked around me and saw some of my fellow sufferers... (I thought) this is how my life will end up -- in a mental hospital. I am a mental patient, a mental case!! This is where I belong (i thought). The nurses told me I was wrong . The doctor told me i was wrong. I wanted desperately to believe them. How can you change a belief when your emotions are so strongly making you think you are worthless???

Perhaps you won't completely relate to my story, but probably some of it will sound familiar. Maybe it is time for medication or a meal or a snack or you're on one end of the hallway with the t.v. on forever or you're pacing up and down the hallway passing others doing the same thing and the thought crosses your mind that you're a useless zombie. Maybe you can't escape into t.v. land or a movie, because life is so unbearable that nothing is funny or romantic or sweet or cute and it seems that everything is sadness and unbearable pain and scary thoughts in your head. Look out the window. Those may seem so far away or miles down and it may feel like you could fall into a ruthless dog-eat-dog world and you may feel that you're hanging onto life by thin, frayed threads, because you can't fit into it. You will not always feel this way. These are your emotions not the reality.

That was my hell; a world to fear. And i kept asking my therapist"Please tell me everything is going to be okay!!!! Please!!!! And she said, "Yes...uhhhhh. Evvverythiiing is uhhh going to be okay." But...i heard her voice quavering and the thoughts of dying kept coming back and I started to think i just wanted to be protected by G-d and maybe i could. These were some thoughts from my depression which caused me to feel hopeless. My body couldn't handle it anymore and the thoughts were changing my body chemistry. The decision to die sounded peaceful, because i couldn't trust myself or life anymore when the man i loved and G-d (who i no longer knew if s/he existed had seemed to have abandoned me. I felt unloved; worthless.

I was not worthless. My feelings of worthlessness were caused by my fear -- an emotion that stayed for a long time and I had to think i was worthy of love to feel better. Does this make sense to you? If it does, believe it and you will keep on getting better, feeling better because you are thinking positive thoughts about yourself...

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