This post is a struggle for me. But it is a struggle that is worth winning. That I need to win. Not facing it will only give my demons respite from my attempts to oust them from the shadows of my mind.
Yesterday my therapist and I revisited my darkest tale, my worst bout of depression. And I didn’t need my therapist to tell me what caused it.
I’d been through a bad break in my personal life, and it broke me even more than I was already broken. I had trusted this person, and ultimately felt betrayed by their actions. I don’t trust easily, and I don’t open up often, so when someone who had worked their way so deeply into my life was suddenly gone, it left me empty.
Empty. My therapist’s word, but damned if it isn’t the perfect word for the situation. I’d already struggled with depression, this incident just exacerbated it, deepening the emptiness.
They don’t always tell you about that part of the depression. You know about the hopelessness and the disconnect, you know too about the sadness and lost of interest. Yet it is the emptiness, that is where the demons can do their worst.
It is an emptiness so all encompassing that you don’t care what happens to your outside because you don’t feel like there is anything inside, or else you think about hurting yourself just to fill that emptiness with a little pain. And this darkest tale of mine comes with the darkest thoughts, one of the few moments I’ve wondered if anyone would miss me if I were gone. Spoiler alert they would, and if you are in that place I promise there are people who would miss you as well.
Depression is different for everyone and it is different for me. Sometimes, the worst times, it is this emptiness, and I can’t care about anything or anyone, least of all myself. Other times the emptiness is filled with pain that I just want to end. Other times it is a journey through hell that starts by feeling disconnected, then descends into the emptiness that I wish would be filled, only to have my wish granted with pain and despair.
My darkest tale is still something I struggle with, as are the wounds it left. Unresolved are some of the issues that still remain with the person who triggered this: my darkest tale. For now I am just working on understanding and accepting it. Maybe one day I can heal it.
That journey starts with the conversation I had with my therapist yesterday. It continues here, with this post. It is hard, and I found myself struggling to write this, my instinct to hide the pain being so strong. But phoenixes rise from the ashes and sometimes the darkest tale is just a stepping stone to the brilliance that will come next.
Because what I am realizing as I write this is that because I survived, my darkest tale became just a chapter in my life, just a piece of the puzzle. I am still here because I survived my darkest tale. In the midst of my darkest tale I couldn’t imagine the wonders and the joys I’ve experienced since. And yeah, there have been times the darkness returns, and the demons torment my mind, broken moments that bring me back to all the other dark tales.
Because that is my life. It is the dark tales of depression, and the joys of the days without. It is the laughter of being surrounded by friends and family, and the tears and hopelessness of my loneliest and scariest moments. But only because the darkest tale wasn’t my darkest end.
So if you are struggling, keep up the fight. I promise that your own personal dark tale will lead to brighter days if you let it.
The semicolon is a symbol to depression and suicide survivors. It is a symbol that says the story isn’t over yet. My darkest tale wasn’t the end of my story, and it doesn’t have to be the end of yours. If you are struggling, help is available at the Suicide Helpline – 1-800-273-8255.
You can find Juan on his blog The Dark Tales Project.