My Name is Alex and I’m a Psychotic.

I realise that is not the best opening line in a conversation, but sometimes it feels important to introduce myself in such a way. Because I am a paranoid, anxious, depressed, psychotic. But I am still just as normal as the next person. Okay I am medicated up to the eyeballs, and if I stopped my meds it’d probably not be long until I am talking to the television or licking the windows. But I am still a person. But with each condition so badly mixed into my personality, I have to explain that there is an unseen fault somewhere in my circuitry.

          The reason why I raise that point is simple. You can tell a lot about a person, by the way they react to your honesty. Some people will become concerned, but I guess I’m not after concern or sympathy. Some people will become scared, look at you like you are Johnny from the Shining, but they aren’t the right sort of person either. The third type of reaction is the one I look for. Understanding. To be able to talk about something that is such a large part of my life, without the fear that I am going to be judged on every word I say. Those people are hard to find. But should they be?

          What is so fundamentally wrong with being mentally ill that it is still tagged to words such as insanity? Should words like insane not be replaced by words like delusional? Shouldn’t they be outcast like racial slurs? I think they should. But they aren’t, and unless they are, people who are ill will just have to deal with the labels. But what causes the segregation? I think a lot of it stems from a lack of understanding. So if that’s the case, then I will try to explain to you what depression is like. How you feel, and what you think. But I am no expert, and can only speak from my own point of view. Here goes:

          Depression is not ‘oh my gosh, this is the end of the world’. Depression is more ‘I wish this was the end of the world’. I find myself at times of severe lows, lying in bed crying. waiting for the end of the world. Praying to a god I half-believe in to stop me from waking up the next day. Praying for a quick and painless and death. Just not wanting to live anymore.

          Someone who is depressed is naturally a pessimist. Personally I am also obsessive about the root cause of my depression. I am depressed because I don’t think my dad loved me as a child. Because when he picked alcohol and cannabis instead of his wife and two children, I very much blamed myself. My natural negativity led me to conclude it was my fault. That I was just not good enough. As I have grown up I have become increasingly concerned about the way others see me. Not in a vain or narcissistic way, more not wanting to be disliked. Not wanting to fetch back those painful memories of my pre-teen years.

          But even though depression is the deepest darkest pit of despair. For there is no word for feeling worse about yourself. It has become an overused term. I think that could be the number one culprit, the main reason people don’t understand. The habit people have of using the word so flippantly ruins the word’s own impact. Depression is by its very definition, ‘prolonged feelings of despondency and dejection’. But what does that mean? Dejection means to be saddened, to have low spirits. Despondency, a loss of hope or courage. I think those two words sum up depression perfectly. The feeling of hopelessness and the pointlessness of everything.

          Having so little motivation to get out of bed, to get dressed or shower, that you just don’t. There’s no reason to in your own head. This feeling is so far from the popular use of the word, that I think there should be a new one thought up. Depression is a feeling that can last a lifetime. Depression will certainly last at least a few weeks. Depression is not a feeling of sadness so fleeting that it is gone in a day or two. Depression is not crashing your car. Depression is looking at every passing brick wall and thinking ‘would it really matter?’ and if you don’t understand why, you have never been deeply depressed.

          The further into this description I get, the more concerned I am that I’m wrongly explaining the feeling. My solution to that was to talk to a friend who is the same, and I asked him for an example. He mentioned a scene from the film, Fight Club. In the scene in question, Edward Norton imagines the plane he is on crashing. The people on the plane are screaming, and he is calmly sat there thinking, ‘Life insurance pays off triple if you die on a business trip.’ My friend said he had had a similar experience. That he sat there, not caring if the plane would crash. Not that he wanted to kill himself. Just that he didn’t want to live, to quote him ‘The idea that it wouldn’t be particularly terrible if you just stopped existing.’

          That feeling of complete indifference of existence is a feeling I have frequently. Extending itself into all aspects of life. It leads to countless ‘What’s the point?’s’ and ‘Why should I bother?’s’  and it is the biggest hurdle of depression to overcome. One that I can’t offer a solution to, because I’ve yet to find one. But i would hope that anyone who has read this far will at least think twice before they take the word depression in place of something less severe.

Alex Davies is a new contributor and one that Cultured Vultures welcome back for the near future.

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