In Blackest Night – Depression & The Omerta
noun, Italian. 1. secrecy sworn to by oath; code of silence
My last post seems fairly ‘popular’. By that I mean relatable and, to some, an inspiration. One can only hope that this decade holds the end, like the eighties/early nineties did to the Mafia thanks to RICO, to the silence of the afflicted. This unwritten and unspoken code of silence that society seems to force us to uphold must be broken. I can only speak for myself when I say this but we are always told to talk about it. To not let it build up and consume us. But what’s the use of telling us to talk about it and then shun us when we try? It’s like a miser saying we all need to give more to charity. It doesn’t work. This isn’t a one-way street.
So if I take to my blog or Twitter or Facebook to vent, let me have that moment. Let me just say it. Don’t stifle me. Don’t judge me. And, if you don’t like it, just leave me the fuck alone while I say what needs to be said before the darkness swallows me up once more.
I was having a ‘better’ week until yesterday. I felt like I was coming to the end of my most recent and most brutal relapse. Tuesday, like most days after a run of ‘good’ days, was like a sledgehammer to my cerebral cortex. The feeling of being fucked over and that the world is against me hit home; clawing me back down to Earth with a ghastly gravitational grip. It makes me wish I didn’t have ‘good’ days (I have started calling them ‘better’ days because it’s pretty fucking difficult having that shadow of an anvil follow your feet around and still call it a ‘good’ day).
So how do I channel this negativity into something that doesn’t chew me up and spit me out? The shit doesn’t deserve to get to chalk that up on the scoreboard – I can’t let it beat nor define me. But I still have to go through it. I still have to face up to it and experience it. Tell me the answer, I have no idea.
Until recently, I slept. A lot. I’ve mentioned it before and I’ve come up with possible reasons why. Now, when I sleep it’s not through laziness, although others may perceive it that way. I’m hoping I’m not the only one here but I feel like I need to sleep. It’s a hard feeling to describe–I have a pulse that jackhammers in my neck and my head feels light. My heart-rate is elevated and I feel exhausted. Words can’t describe what it actually is; the word ‘tired’ doesn’t do it justice. Even ‘exhausted’ doesn’t come close. It feels like every fibre of my being needs to shutdown or at least have some semblance of respite. I find it tough talking about this because it sounds like excuses. It sounds like I’m laying it on thick. Perhaps not talking about it plays a huge part in it because of the energy it takes to keep it quiet.
I bought Carrie Fisher’s Audible audiobook “Wishful Drinking” a week or two ago and only got around to start listening to it today. In it, she says something that made absolute sense to me. I mentioned suicide in my last post and I know I’ve talked about it before across various platforms but something about it didn’t seem right. It didn’t feel right. She wrote/spoke about how it wasn’t so much thinking about dying but more thinking about not being alive. To many, that may come across as the same thing re-worded but there’s more to it than that.
I feel we should talk about suicide more. We should have open minds when it comes to the difficult subjects. I’ve though, for the past fifteen years (roughly) that thinking about death and not existing any more was ‘normal’. Maybe that’s why depression didn’t seem like a concern because what I thought was ‘normal’ and what actually ‘is’ are very different things. Bit to think about not being alive is something different entirely. To picture a world and resulting impacts of you not existing is vastly different from wishing you were dead. One is more speculative while the other is a tad too final. Should we feel or be ashamed that we wonder what things would be like if we stopped existing or what things would be like if we had never been born? How is it that different from wishing you hadn’t had that large Big Mac or that you hadn’t skipped the gym last night? Or wondering what would have happened if you had actually answered the phone to an unknown number?
An example of this ties in with something that is coming up to an anniversary for me. I blogged before about my ‘wish’ on Crowdwish and how I had almost missed the opportunity because I thought the e-mail was spam just like anything that says you’ve won something or you’re going to benefit from – how many actually are legit? OK, so it wasn’t life changing like a lottery win but it was a great experience nonetheless and certainly a good memory to have. It’s not every day you get a signed script of ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ with Tom Hardy’s scribble on it.
There s nothing wrong with pondering how different things could be (positive or negative). To me, that’s part of the human condition. It’s not like ‘The Butterfly Effect’ where you actually get to live those altered timelines. Nor do you have to concern yourself with the fate of Iris West because of the choice of underwear you made last Tuesday.
I hate the way society has conditioned us to think and feel. To break free from that constraint is like a glitch in the ‘Matrix’. Just because I want to talk about mental health and my experiences doesn’t make me Neo looking to break the system. It’s more like tweaking the code to make the system work more efficiently.
By upholding this phantom code of silence we are doing a massive disservice to ourselves. We’re selling the reality short and, in doing so, allow others to play us and try to take advantage because their system doesn’t allow for our way of being. Their way of rationalising everything doesn’t apply here because it is impossible to justify, quantify or even objectify mental illness. Without going all ‘Anonymous’ and instigate a mutiny, all that I can say is we have to open up about this because if no one knows, no one will help. No one will care – whether it be genuine or because it is their duty to care. Nothing will change. Social ignorance will continue and we find ourselves stuck in an endless loop. Change never happened by staying quiet. Nothing ever changed by doing nothing.
Say something. Anything. Don’t let the apathy of society silence us – it’s only ourselves who suffer.