By Nicholas Green
A year ago today, I tried to kill myself. I sat in my dorm room alone at 2 a.m. acknowledging that this would be the last time I would be alive. There were three notes in my desk drawer waiting for my mother, father and brother. I was empty and numb, wanting all of the pain I had gone through for a whole year to end. I didn’t want to die. I just wanted to be free. Free of breaking down in the middle of the night for no apparent reason. Free of smiling in front of my friends and family, knowing that I was simply moving muscles in my face and not feeling a thing. Free of eating my favorite food, hearing my favorite joke, listening to my favorite song and watching everything that once gave me so much happiness bring nothing but apathy.
What kept me alive wasn’t a will to live or a desire to fight, but the fact that I had forgotten to write several notes: one for my roommate and best friend who would be the unfortunate one to find me, a note to my friends who had given me so much love at Tulane, and a note to my best friend from home who I had slowly distanced myself from so he wouldn’t have to worry about me.
I had to tell them I was sorry for whatever pain I might cause them. I had to tell them how much I loved them and cared about them. I decided to live for one more day, write down the last words I would ever say and finally leave a place that brought me so much pain. When I woke up the next morning, however, I finally felt something I hadn’t felt over an entire year: a desire to live. I knew it wouldn’t last, and immediately texted my friend before the feeling disappeared to let her know I attempted suicide.
After she contacted student services and I met with a counselor, a weight that pushed down on me day after day was lifted. I finally took my first breath of freedom that I hadn’t known for so long. I could finally truly laugh again, truly enjoy the things I once loved again and truly feel alive again. I knew how much of an uphill battle I had ahead of me in taking on my depression, but that brief moment of life as I had once known it has pushed me everyday to get to where I am now. I no longer wake up and feel as if I am tied down to my bed, unable to go to class, be with my friends or even eat. I feel alive.
For those who don’t understand what severe depression is like, and I was once one of those, picture everything that you enjoy. Now think of the emotion you feel when you see a rock and imagine what it would be like to look at that rock and see how plain, boring and uninspiring it is. It’s like knowing that it once made you feel so happy, excited and full of life. Everything that drove you to study, to try to make a difference in the world, to discover your future, to find a new lover becomes nothing more than bland indifference. The only thing you start to feel is the pain of knowing that anything that could make you feel happy and connected to this world can’t. Numbness and pain become the only two emotions you know.
For those who struggle with depression, there is only one piece of advice I have. You cannot do it alone. You may think you can handle it, or that you don’t want to burden your friends or family with what you are going through, but it is a disease. If you learned you had an illness, you wouldn’t wait it out. You would go to a doctor and receive treatment. The same is with depression.
If it’s not taken care of, it will consume you. You have to push yourself to talk to someone who can help you. You have to push yourself to talk to your friends and family. Remind yourself that they love you and want to be there for you. There is an end to the emptiness you feel. With your friends, family and whomever else you reach out to, you can fight back to the thing that is causing so much pain. It will be one hell of a fight, but it’s a fight that is worth fighting.