I just read a blog post from a very talented young writer suffering from depression, which led me to want to post this.
The nature of your illness is that your brain will latch onto any thought that it can to justify why you are unhappy/apathetic/unable to wake up in the morning. So very likely you blame yourself for your depression. You think, you just need to get over it. Your life is fine, no one used to beat you every day, you're just being a whiny little goth emo wussy with first world problems, there are people being massacred somewhere in the world and yet here you are wanting to kill yourself, what's wrong with you? You don't deserve to feel this way. There are people with real problems in the world. Blah blah blah.
Bullshit. All of it is bullshit. Your feelings are real, and they are not your fault. They aren't necessarily anyone's fault. Depression is a physical illness that alters the chemistry of your brain. It can be caused by life circumstances -- being in a prolonged state of despair or severe anxiety over things that are really happening can cause your brain to get stuck in that mode, so even getting out of those circumstances doesn't make you happy, and then you blame yourself for not being happy because what kind of an ingrate wouldn't be happy at escaping such awful circumstances? No. It's not your fault. Depression can also be caused by simple genetics, nothing at all is wrong with your life, you just hate yourself and wish you were dead and it's all your fault you're such a whiny emo bastard. No. Not your fault.
You cannot wish yourself out of depression any more than a diabetic can wish themselves a new pancreas. It is biochemical. It's happening in your brain. The essence of you, your fundamental selfness, is not depression. It's more like, for whatever reason, your brain has stopped manufacturing neurotransmitters that you need to live and be happy. Don't blame your brain, it's not its fault either, any more than it would be your arm's fault for not being able to lift stuff after it got broken. You can do things that might help kickstart your brain into making the stuff you need -- get more exercise, change your diet, surround yourself with things that make you happy -- but they may not work. That is not your fault.
You don't want to take meds. You think they're a crutch. Newsflash: when your leg is broken you need a crutch. You think taking meds would acknowledge that you are permanently broken, or insane. No one wants to be broken or insane. Well, you might be permanently broken, and maybe you need glue. Refusing to admit to yourself the facts won't make them go away. It's not your fault. Your illness wants you to believe there is no hope, so you'll latch onto any reason to believe all of this is your fault and it's just because you're pathetic and you deserve this and NO. None of this is your fault. You may possibly have the power to fix it, but that doesn't make it your fault.
None of the meds you've taken have worked for you. That's not your fault. Maybe you're on the wrong meds, or maybe you just won't respond to meds. Still not your fault. There are other treatments. It may possibly be something in your life that hurts really badly but that you can't bring yourself to admit to, like maybe the career path you have been planning since you were 6 and that you are locked into and everyone expects of you is actually turning out to be something you hate. Or maybe you're gay or transgender or asexual and you're terrified of the lack of support you'll get from anyone you love. Or maybe you're in an abusive relationship but you haven't admitted that to yourself yet. Or maybe you're in a job you hate profoundly but you need to pay the bills so badly you can't admit how much you hate it.
It's not your fault. None of that is your fault. But there are ways out. Other people who have been under as much pressure as you have found ways out. Some problems, it's easier to escape as you get older. If that's the kind of problem you have then hang in there; don't despair, you may find a way out and it might be sooner than you think. Therapy can help, if you can get a good therapist. There are lots of bad therapists in the world. There are also good ones. If you can't get therapy talk to a friend, vent on a blog, get it out there somehow. Being locked in your own head will make you worse.
I have been through this multiple times. My future career plans were destroyed by a bout with depression in grad school that I refused to acknowledge for what it was because surely my life was too good to warrant me being depressed about anything. Ten years later I almost killed myself because my boyfriend yelled at me for buying the wrong tomatoes. I've had nights where the entire concept of love just up and vanished, and I cried hysterically because I couldn't remember what it felt like to love or be loved and I thought I would be that way forever. I've had years where the slow low-level dull grind of depression wore down my brain until I couldn't concentrate on anything and then it was my fault that I turned stupid and wasn't getting any work done. I know what it's like to want to die to silence the voice in your head that says that you're awful and nothing is worth anything. I know what it's like to be too apathetic to bother to do it. I know what it's like to be unable to call a doctor to get help because that would involve interacting with a human being and anyway it won't help and I deserve it anyhow for not being strong enough to just fix it. I'm forty-five years old and I've been struggling with this thing on and off for longer than some of you have been alive.
It's not my fault. It's not your fault. Do everything you can to help yourself, and when you can't because the voice in your head says you're too awful and worthless to deserve to be helped, remember that that's not you, and it's not true. There's a reason the Kinks said "There's a red under my bed, and there's a little yellow man in my head, and there's a true blue inside of me that keeps stopping me from touching you, wanting you, loving you"; there's a reason Trent Reznor said "It won't give up, it wants me dead, goddamn this noise inside my head". You're not insane, you're not literally hearing voices, but there is an emotion being imposed on you that you don't deserve to have to feel and it is not your fault and you're not crazy, you're just depressed. There's nothing wrong with your rationality, but rationality is driven at its base by first principles that are set by emotion, and there is something wrong with your emotions and it is not your fault and many many other people have the same problem and many of them have gotten help. And sometimes you get help and you get better and then it comes back. It's not your fault. You can get out of that one too. And if you don't get out it's still not your fault. And if it kills you it's still not your fault. But fight it anyway, because it's not your fault but you don't deserve to have to suffer it and you have a lot to give the world and you deserve to be happy and to accomplish the things you wanted to accomplish in life.
No one can step in and rescue you from yourself. Your loved ones and your friends may be able to help you to fight this battle, but they can't fight it for you. Your illness tells you not to bother to fight because what's the point anyway and you deserve this and you're not worth saving. NO. That is the noise inside your head, the one Trent Reznor was talking about. That's not you and it's a liar. It will try to kill you or to ruin your life. It might win, and if it does, it's not your fault. But try not to let it win because FUCK THAT STUPID VOICE IN YOUR HEAD YOU DESERVE TO LIVE AND BE HAPPY AND YOU ARE NOT WORTHLESS AND IT IS TOTALLY FUCKING UNFAIR THAT YOU GOT STUCK WITH THIS ILLNESS BECAUSE YOU DON'T DESERVE IT AND IT'S NOT YOUR FAULT AND FUCK DEPRESSION ANYWAY IT DOESN'T DESERVE TO WIN.
You have the right to feel what you feel. It is a real feeling. But it is caused by an illness. You cannot make it go away by "being strong" anymore than you could make cancer or diabetes go away. You need care. You need help. And you deserve these things. Maybe someone else made it go away by "being strong", but maybe theirs wasn't as bad as yours or maybe they ate some foods that drove it into remission and anyway they are not you. Still not your fault. You're not weak. You're ill, and it's not your fault, and you deserve help.