Depression and exit strategies …….. the holy grail of depression sufferers

black dog

I was speaking to another “depressive”(someone who suffers from depression – usually with Generalised Anxiety Disorder and possibly Stress thrown in for shits and giggles — I might have just made that word up, but it seems to work, so I am going to leave it there) a week or two ago and we were chatting about shit and things and really playing catch up.

We had not seen each other in quite some time, so it was a very nice catch up and we did spend a lot of the time laughing, and snorting.

The conversation took a turn and we started speaking about the fact that we both suffer from Depression — not the “here take one pill and call me in the morning kind” but the sort that takes you 13 years of therapy to really understand what it is you are working with.

Years of enduring shitty therapists to eventually find the good one who was able to really guide you and assist you.

Years of the wrong medication, in the wrong dosages to eventually find a fantastic psychiatrist who understood you. Who saw you at your worst, and built you up from a shivering shaking rambling idiot to someone who could almost pass for normal.  And not spill tea on his rug.

Years of guilt of what you were exposing your family to.  Years of feeling that you were a burden – you are a burden, nothing you do will change the fact that you are such a burden.

Hiding your depressive episodes because you feel your family and friends are so “sick of your shit” — when in reality you cannot hide a depressive episode for all the Zoloft in the world.

We had different journeys but they were similar in many respects.

Then strangely the conversation moved onto “suicide plans” and we almost in unison agreed we each had our own plan.

A plan we had been harbouring for years.

I am not going to speak for all Depressives here, but I think it is often something that most people do not realise about people with Major/Chronic Depression.

We have a suicide plan.  Or most of us do at any rate.

Most of us think about our plan once a day or maybe once a week.

I think about my plan in the same way I would think about whether I need new toothpaste.  Just something to tick off the shopping list.

In some cases “the plan” is quite elaborate and in others it is beautiful in it’s simplicity.

Suicide – contrary to popular belief does not need “a reason” or even “a really bad spate of depression” and is in most cases not a “cry for help.”

I think people with chronic depression do not see it as a way to get help, they see it as a way to leave because the blackness has just become too much.  And they cannot see any light at the end of the famous tunnel.

Depression is a life long illness.

It drags you into a black sinking hole where you no longer can see anything, there is no hope of small spark of light.  It is just this heavy blackness where no light or hope can pass.  You eventually start to accept that in fact there is not any light.

The blackness creeps over you like a shadow, and before you have realised it, you are enfolded in it’s robe of cold darkness and a sense of being alone – bitterly alone.

Nothing anyone says or does changes that darkness.

You feel alone.  You feel desperate.

You feel like that darkness will last forever.

You can not imagine a time when you were not being swallowed by that darkness, you cannot imagine a time when that darkness will recede.

You just cannot.

And sooner or later you cannot live in the bleak and desperate darkness any more.


Breathing is a challenge.  Faking it through the day is exhausting.

Faking it through your life eventually becomes unrealistic.

You also want to round house kick the next person who tells you to “just wake up happy….”

You do not believe you will ever get out of the hole.  So you start to think of how to just stop.  Everything.

You can be thankful and rejoice that you have the right medication, the right dose, and if you are in an emergency you just need to phone your Dr Psychiatrist and mention to the secretary that you are having a “self harm” kind of day, and an appointment will open for you almost immediately.

{Everyone do a huge clap for a great Medical Aid…..}

I have only phoned my Psychiatrist once with a “I need to speak to him” sort of day. And he magically opened a time slot in his already crammed diary because he knew that I really needed to speak to him.

My friend and I compared notes on the sort of things that we think about.

What worries us about committing suicide, what we factor in as a possibly route, time of day that would work, location and so on, and it was quite amazing how much of it was the same for both of us.

We actually laughed in a “this is really fucked up….” sort of way.

Then just to add strange, we both agreed we were technically in really happy places at this exact moment, but that did not stop the thought of an exit strategy being foremost in our minds.

Depression does not go away.

In my case, and I am thankful daily, my depression has really been under control for more than two years now, if not three.  I am on a good set of medication that I do not fuck with.

I stick to my medication.  No matter how good I am feeling, I do not tweak it, change it or think I can just miss a few.

My medication keeps me on track.  My medication keeps the black dog at bay.  For the most part.

Where I am in my head is generally a good place.

The only issue I am experiencing at the moment, is a very high state of anxiety, and stress that is influencing my sleep patterns.  And a lack of sleep or a shift in my sleep is a huge red flag of concern — I do not function well without sleep.

I realise that last blog post might not have echoed that sentiment, but I am amazed at what I have coped with in the last two years, and how much I have risen above all this shit to be more of who I have wanted to be for a very long time.

Some days I do feel like I am drowning.

But those days are few, and they usually are limited to days.  They do not start to turn into weeks and months, like before.

I am far happier than I used to be — again I realise that based on the last blog post that sounds like a whopper of a lie —- but my job is not to convince you of it.

I feel happier in the inside part that really matters.

I have a clearer idea of who I am.  I do somehow even when the days are tough, I do still feel happier with who I am.  Now. Than who I was before.

Sure I have an exit strategy ….. and I realise how insane that sounds.

How can I be happy if I think about suicide?

It is actually possible.

depression comix

{…… thanks fuck all dopamine or serotonin or what ever else my brain cannot manufacture or absorb ….. }

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  1. Reblogged this on Discovering ratchet and commented:
    I went for drinks with some friends and friends of friends last night. One dude, who I’ll call OG, recounted a story almost 10 years old, of how he broke up with his ex after her 2nd suicidal attempt. How he’d felt trapped and tricked. She’d looked so normal for the first 2 years, emotionally volatile, sure, but normal. After the first suicide attempt he learned she’d tried other times, before him. This was a recurring mental issue, one that might kill her and would inevitably derail his own life. He felt he had no choice but to make the best decision for his own life and future, and leave her. Leaving her freed him up to focus on building up his own life, success and well-being. However, almost a decade on, she still refuses to talk to him. One of his friends hypothesized that his ex felt shame, “Sometimes, when you’ve acted in a way that was just too awful and unacceptable, you can’t face any reminders of that, the shame is too painful.”

    I stayed quiet throughout that conversation, which I regret.

    I didn’t say that I suffer from depression.

    I didn’t say that OG’s comments confirms one of my deepest insecurities, that anyone who gets to know the real me, and meets my shadow, will run, will deem me unworthy the effort of loving, I come with too much baggage.

    I didn’t say that this is why I’ve chosen to remain single for 7 years now. I don’t think I can survive another instance of giving all of myself, working through the terror of vulnerability, attempting to build a life with someone, only for it to fall apart because the burden of my shadow is too heavy to bear. I chose a life of loneliness, limiting how much I inflict my depression on friends and family, rather than face the unbearable pain of being rejected. I also chose loneliness because I don’t ever want to be the reason someone holds back on living their life, choosing to stick with me & my sickness out of loyalty. My shadow stifles my dreams and happiness. I don’t think I could accept if it stifled anyone else’s too. I completely understand and respect OG’s decision to leave the girl.

    I didn’t say that they’d gotten it all wrong. The shame is not derived from the “unacceptable” act of trying to take one’s life – only someone who has never suffered from depression would think that suicide is unacceptable or selfish. Without ever having met the girl, or been present in that decade-old saga, I would argue that the girl deems OG’s actions as concrete proof that she is unlovable, something to be abandoned once her true self is revealed. A depressive spends all day every day trying to survive, look normal, hide the mess from the world. On the rare occasions that a depressive reveals their true self to anyone – something incredibly traumatic and shameful – being rejected gives their sick brain all the ammunition necessary to convince them they are worthless. Having to face a reminder of that? Unbearably painful. I too would be incapable of facing such a reminder.

    I didn’t say that I admired the girl – 10 years is a lot of years to put up with a sick brain, good for her for still being alive.


    • I am so deeply moved by this story — it rings bells and hits so many of the little pingy lights on my internal pinball machine.
      Thank you for sharing.

  2. Everday Mommy of Two

     /  February 27, 2016

    Slowly throughout the last 5 years I have grown to realize and accept that I suffer from depression. (Along with anxiety because let’s face it, the pharoahs decided having just one isn’t enough.) Only last year did I reach out for help. I’d hit rock bottom yet again. I couldn’t control my want to no longer be here. But looking into my son and now husbands eyes, I knew I couldn’t leave. I couldn’t leave my son wondering why his mother took her life. Wondering why he wasn’t good enough for her to stay. I think that’s what has saved me to date; I’m a thinker. I over think everything (probably due to anxiety). I am still learning to deal with all of it. How to live a normal life. Is it possible? I for one do not have a clue! My life never seems normal!
    This description of depression is so spot on. Depression is such a hard emotion to grasp. Its difficult to understand why you can’t just ‘think about the good things’ or ‘be happy with what you have.’ Its never that easy!
    Enjoyed reading this!

  3. Hey you!

    Just to let you know that I linked this post in my most recent blog post:

    Hope all is well 🙂

  4. Your explanation of depression is spot on!!! It’s like I wrote it myself. A black hole that swallows you whole. Don’t get me started on the bullshit that people say when they have no clue what depression entails. It never leaves you, it’s there lingering for one false move and then you’re back there. It’s nice to know that I’m not alone in feeling like this. Some days are shit, some are better. Thanks for sharing your story on depression, it made me feel better. 🙂

  5. I got help the day I had a meltdown bc I couldn’t decide on an exit strategy and it caused me even more crushing anxiety.

    That was sufficiently bizarre that I realized my depression had spiralled quickly out of control (my 3rd depressive episode on 5 years). It was a refrain “I can’t handle this much longer, I can’t handle this much longer”.

    So yeah, I relate, but not really. Xox.

    • It is strange/not so strange that we often find ourselves sitting on the ends of our bed, muttering the same phrases – mine have been “I can’t handle this any more” as well as “I can’t do this any more” – the doing part being breath, function, just get through a day.

      • Everday Mommy of Two

         /  February 27, 2016

        Yes! Often times I have said ‘I can’t do this anymore’ and my husband fears I mean us and that I want a divorce. I laugh. In the tension of things I let out a chuckle. “No dear, I can’t do breathing anymore. Life. Blinking. Thinking. Being here.” Never do I allow him to think he causes any of this because he doesn’t. He’s why I am still here today. Still fighting the same battle.💕

  6. Karen

     /  December 17, 2015

    You are doing a good job. Hang in there chicken! Very proud of you. But I agree with your statement, it does feel better having a fantasy “exit strategy” – in my case def fantasy. Thank goodness for the things that keep us here.

  7. makupsy

     /  December 17, 2015

    I can relate to this post. So many days I have thought about it, when I cross the road I think of just throwing myself into a car. When I visit my parents for the weekend I think of walking to the railway line and throwing myself into a train. Quick and hopefully painless death. At work they have a lift they are fixing and I have often thought about going all the way up to the 7th floor and then throwing myself through the open lift doors. When I leave the house I make sure that everything is clean and in order in case today is the day I decide to finally commit suicide. They are very disturbing thoughts and I have almost every other day. I don’t even know if I am depressed or simply sad but I guess I will never know because in my country there are no facilities to talk about things like this and so you are left with just you and your thoughts. I do hope it’s just a phase that will eventually pass but I have realised I have had these thoughts since I finished College and they are getting more intense.
    I am glad I am not alone with the suicide thoughts however, I just wish I didn’t think of them as much.
    Thank you for sharing your story 🙂

  1. Judd Apatow is my mentor | Discovering ratchet

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