The only place I didn’t hurt and life seemed okay was in my dreams. When I slept, I had amazing dreams. Life was peaceful and all my hopes played out in front of me. As Life became harder I retreated into my dreams. Each time staying longer in this colorful world away from reality that seemed so dim, dark, and lonely.
It happened so fast yet so slow that I didn’t understand what was going on. I was young, growing out of the teenage years, but not quite an adult. I didn’t know the signs and symptoms of depression. I thought of an old person that hated life, hated themselves, hated everything around them. That wasn’t me. Right? I thought I was the girl that loved everything and everyone, yet I loved my dreams just a bit more. I was free there.
As time went on, I began to skip school so I could learn in my dreams. I began to stop talking to my friends because my dreams were where the relationships were perfect. I began to be too tired to fight, too tired to be sad, too tired to love. I wanted and needed easy.
My life up to that point had been a rollercoaster and I didn’t know how to process it. I didn’t have anyone to sit down and process it with me. It was overwhelming, like a flood, sweeping in and taking everything with it. I was fragile, lonely, tired, in too deep.
As the sleepiness took over each and every day I retreated away from the world and slept. Often times sleeping for 16 hours and spending the rest of my day planning out what I would explore in my dream that night. My dreams became my reality while the times I was awake became my nightmare.
I often wondered what it would be like if I just slept forever. It was better there. I pictured a beautiful green pasture. Fields of daisies, the sun shining where I could feel the heat on my face. It was truly a beautiful place to be. My awake world was cold, harsh, cruel. I felt out of place in the awake world. I was awkward, ugly, my heart hurt, no one understood me, I didn’t understand myself.
I remember waking up one day to my friends surrounding me asking me where I’ve been. I missed around 20 days of school at this time throughout two months. I spent less time talking to them and they were concerned as to where I went. I was once this loud, bubbly spirit, and now I was this drowsy, reclusive girl.
I couldn’t explain to them where I went. I couldn’t explain to them my thoughts. I couldn’t explain to myself what was going on. Something had gripped me so tight that I began to stop fighting it. I let it take me. I let the depression take hold and I now welcomed it as you would with your first love. It was my blanket of protection. I could not be hurt when I was asleep. I was invincible there. I was welcomed in my subconscious.
When I hear that someone killed themselves, I can understand. I can understand slipping so deep that you can’t and you refuse to come back from it. It’s hard for those who never experienced this hold to understand what was going on in that persons mind. Same as depression. It’s easy to put a face or a label on it, but it’s so much more. I was thankfully rescued and saved from myself. I was saved, but it will always be a wave that can take me back out to the depths if I’m not aware. It’s always lurking waiting for me to slip. It’s always lurking waiting for anyone to slip. The most important thing about these situations is being aware and talking. If you think someone is going through it, help them. Talk to them. Be there for them.
My friends made it a point to come over and wake me up and make me talk. I had people in my life that shook me out of it when I didn’t want to. These people went to extremes to make me transition back into reality. I hated them at the time. For the longest time I thought they were exaggerating the problem. I was fine. I was just tired, right?
I’m thankful for my struggle because it has made me a million times more compassionate for others and their pain. It’s made me open my eyes to mental health. It’s made me open with my family and friends.
If you’re struggling or you know someone that is, there’s help out there. Don’t feel like you’re alone. You’re not.
The National Suicide Prevention Line: 1-800-273-8255