Hell of depression

The nation I was born to is, statistically, one of most suicidal in the world. It is quite inevitable that growing up I either knew or knew of people who took their own life. I never condemned them, even when religious education taught it. It wasn’t part of my upbringing to do so, and it definitely wasn’t in my heart and soul. But, on the other hand, I never really understood them either.

It’s not that I was always happy. Objectively, my childhood and youth were ok. Subjectively, I was unhappy a lot, but then again, I’d now say, nothing out of the ordinary. I was told I’m too sensitive (or sensible) and I hurt too quickly. (That’s a story for another time and place.) Whatever the cause, noone would describe me as joyful all the time. Still, I could not apprehend the feelings of depression and suicidal thoughts.

Until my daughter was born. A child wished for, wanted, expected with joy, our little miracle. It wasn’t easy, those nine months of pregnancy, and it wasn’t without complications, her birth. But I’d never imagine that it would be the beginning of … Well, hell.

Yes, now I know, when I cried every day at the hospital, they should have know, should have seen, should have helped me. Now I know postpartum depression is not so uncommon. Now I know how easier it can be if a mother gets help in the start. (Yes, another story for another place and time.) None of that matters. Because it took two years of pain and hurt, two years, until my mother took me to the doctor’s and said to him that it cannot go on like this. And I knew I could not go on for a long time before that.

I now know how blissfully ignorant I was, not knowing the hollows of depression. How it is when, at the same time, you feel too much, mostly pain, and nothing at all, because all the pain made you numb. When you don’t want to die but you don’t want to live anymore. When every breath hurts. When you cry so much, and yet not enough, because no tears can wash away the sorrow. When you feel weak, because you cannot go on.

Maybe it all began long before that. Maybe I really was sensitive from day one. I think of that day, one of the luckiest days of my life, when my Light came into the world, as also the day when I started seeing the darkest shadows of life.

Because in the years that came, I started healing, but I never really healed. And in just a few years I experienced so many pains on physical and emotional level… It’s more that a decade of my life with depression, and almost a decade of my life with constant pain in my body, a result of serious illness. I’ve faced the news that I never wish anyone would have to, and at age of 30 my body was so ill I could not take care of my children or myself. Sometimes my pains are so bad I think I’m losing my mind. It’s just a fact for me: I do know pain.

And knowing it, I say without a doubt: there is no greater pain than the pain of the soul, of the heart. No worse condition than depression. Because no matter how hard it is, how damaged the body is, if you have the will, you can live days that are given to you. Depression takes exactly that away. The ability to live life.

Many illness can end life. Depression makes you dead when you’re still alive. And that, that is what hell looks like.

Alenka H., 2021

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