‘No Retreat, No Surrender’ – Depression through words
“Depression steals away whoever you were, prevents you from seeing who you might be, and replaces your life with a black hole . . . Nothing that human-beings value matters any more – music, laughter, love, sex, children, toasted bagels and the Sunday New York Times – because nothing can reach the person trapped in the void . . . Suicide sounds terrific, but much too difficult to plan and complete.” (David A. Karp, Speaking of Sadness)
I decided to write about this to allow me to comment on how bad things can get and that it doesn’t always have to lead down the same path. I have suffered for years with depression, and I have attempted suicide more than once. Even now, I never know if it is luck or bad luck that made the difference between me writing this and me not having seen the past few years at all.
Worse is that I know I am by no means alone in this at university. You may be expecting the same tired clichés you have all heard so often before, of how ‘you have a lot to live for’, ‘you will be missed’ and the barrage of unwavering one liners friends, family and counsellors have thrown at you in the past, but that’s not what I’m going to do because it doesn’t help.
No one has the right to say that attempting to take your own life is right or wrong or whether it will give you any peace, because life isn’t decided for us, we are the ones who change and mould it. Having depression makes us our own worst enemies as every time we need help, it’s the furthest thing from our minds. This can change, there are counsellors at university to help and when you find the right one for you, they are not as patronising or clichéd as you may expect. There are also new sports to try and societies, I realise it may all seem run of the mill but it really can help.
A spokesperson from the mental health charity Hit Back, who promote wellbeing through ‘active living’ expressed their thoughts on getting a helping hand, said: “Asking for help doesn’t mean you are weak, it doesn’t mean you have given in. Even the best of us need a helping hand occasionally. If you need help we will always be here and so will many others.”
The person you are is in there somewhere you just have to find them again, few people realise that those suffering are not the people they were, that it can create a different person in their place but that doesn’t mean that that person cannot be found again and a love of life brought back. I am not saying I will never do something that so many describe as ‘stupid’ again but right now, right this second, I am trying and we all can, do not retreat and do not surrender.
Do you need to talk? Visit Student Minds or email them (firstname.lastname@example.org). Or, visit CCCU’s support services or email them at (email@example.com).