Cheesecake and Suicide

Well, despite skipping a long run this past weekend I still managed to get in just over 22 miles this week. That’s about the only good news I have to report.

This has been a rough week. Very rough. I hesitate to write about it because I think this will come across as a cry for help. The real problem is that I just want to say what’s on my mind, and I have nowhere else that’s a “safe” place to say it and no one to say it to. My roommate told me this week that he is moving out on me mid-lease after 3.5 years to get a place with his girlfriend who apparently “can’t do the long distance thing” for six more months until we both finish our Ph.Ds.

Seriously, aside from the completely asinine nature of his move, having him move out on me just reminds me of how alone I am and how little my life has really changed, for all of the work I’ve done this year. I lost nearly 50 pounds, I run faster than I ever did, I’m a vegetarian again, I’m a coach, I stopped drinking. And yet, almost exactly 11 month ago I was crying every day because someone I loved had run out on me, because I was spending the holidays alone, because I felt isolated and worthless. I have cried every day this week. I still feel isolated. I feel worthless. I have had this discussion already with my parents but, aside from them, there is not one single person in my real life that I feel comfortable picking up the phone and calling to say, “I’m having a crisis.”

I had suicidal thoughts. This week, I chose to eat cheesecake instead.

I am ashamed to write this on a blog. I am ashamed at who I am, and how far I still am–at age 32–from everything I wanted to be. I feel like a let-down to myself and others, and I feel like this will never change. How many therapists have I seen since I first went to therapy for depression as a pre-teen? How many combinations of anti-depressants, therapy, exercise, whatever, have I tried without success in an attempt to treat this? When I’m at or near bottom, as I’ve been this week, my therapist and my parents are fond of reminding me that these bad times are never permanent. But the in-between times are never permanent either. I never seem to reach any true, lasting happiness or security and life always, cruelly, has a way of reminding me that somewhere up the road is another cliff for me to plunge off of. If you are not depressed, just try to imagine how it feels. Try to imagine the anxiety, and imagine always doing it alone. Coming home at night to no human companionship, friends who don’t return calls and never want to hang out, family who doesn’t seem to care that you spend the holidays alone. You’d think I must be a horrible person to deserve this. I think I must be a horrible person sometimes, though I don’t know what I’ve done wrong. Sure, I used to drink a few too many beers. And for that I deserve this?

I’ve become so convinced that I’m of so little value to anyone that I don’t try to reach out much anymore. When I spoke with my parents last, I pointed out to them that if something were to happen to me I likely wouldn’t be missed for very long at all by anyone. The fact that I would say this to my parents just shows how detached I’ve become. Things that once seemed like reasons for living now seem like things that would go on without me. I’m not threatening suicide, but I feel like I’ve known for a very long time that this is how things will end for me. I am convinced of these truths:

  • There is no great, romantic love waiting for me.
  • The longer I live, the more of a burden I will become to those who are forced to deal with me.
  • Eventually, I will get tired of this life, I will run out of hope, I will feel I’ve done all the good I can possibly do, and I will realize that nothing but loneliness stretches out in front of me. That is when I will end it.

This isn’t a cry for help. It’s just me trying to make a clear statement on what my life with depression is like. Maybe these words will ring true for someone else with depression; maybe they will help someone else understand all the things that go on in my head when I’m saying nothing at all. I don’t think this will make any difference for me, though. A handful of people who know me in real life know of this blog. I am betting none of them will read it and care enough to say anything to me. That’s how convinced I’ve become of my own invisibility.

But I really wish I wasn’t spending another Thanksgiving alone.

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5 thoughts on “Cheesecake and Suicide

  1. Hi. I don’t have depression but I’ve had periods in my life where it felt like depression and for a long time.
    You’ve done a lot to take control of your life. running, diet, helping others. A Ph.D candidate? You should be proud of that. Most people would never even think of applying for a PH.D. program. You obviously have something going on there.
    i’m a 48 yr old father of two teenagers. I’ve felt some of the same things that you have. I sometimes think of my self as a blade of grass, one amung billions, completely undistinguishable from any others. I exist only to facilitate everyone else’s lives.
    For me running has become my thing. It clears my head and reduces stress. I can set goals and often time acheive them. Running is mine. I don’t need anyone elses approval or encouragement and I don’t care if they don’t like it.
    I know that you are busy, but have you thought of joining a running club? I’m not good at making friends but I have found a few at my club.
    Sorry for the ramble. Hopefully i’m not off base here.

  2. I get what you’re saying. Joining a running group has been difficult partly because of my schedule; I really wanted to join a training group this fall until I realized that I was going to miss half the training runs on nights when I have to work. Volunteering was a way to find some community through running and that made me happy, but it all seems to come back to these holiday times when there’s no work, no school, and I’m just by myself with my thoughts. Some people would love having this time off, but I’d gladly trade it to feel less isolated. I don’t know. Blades of grass… I am also trying to find the joy in what I do for others. But it doesn’t seem to fill a whole life for me, you know? Thanks for thinking of me, though. It means a lot.

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  4. I hope you won’t have to spend Thanksgiving alone. We don’t have it here, but Christmas is coming up and that’s much the same. I certainly have had those days, weeks even, when I’ve felt utterly worthless and unappreciated. Sometimes it feels like I shouldn’t be in this world. But..well of course there’s a but,I hope you don’t mind the but. Put out what you want to get back, that’s my suggestion. It’s not easy giving out friendliness and kindness when you feel so alone, but I think the ‘pointing outwards’ rather than inwards has some psychological benefit, and people do respond in kind, more times than not. Maybe it’s too hard for you, in your state of mind. You are of value xoxo

  5. I suffered pretty severe depression a couple years ago. A lot of what you said is a stark reminder of those feelings; feelings that still come to the surface and are hard to brush away. For me it helps just to have someone say “I hear ya. I get it.” and not feel completely invisible.

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