Since the suicide of Robin Williams there has been alot of talk about depression going on. I am going to try and share my experience as well as the mental conditioning I used to escape it. My goal is to facilitate understanding of this disease, how it changes you, and hopefully help others find their way out of the darkness. This is not a sob story, I neither need nor want sympathy. It was a part of my path. Part 1 will explain my descent into darkness, part 2 will explain how I found my way out.
My nightmare started when I was around 13 but the seeds had been planted long before. I had been taught to empathize at a young age by my mother with all the best intentions. Being exceptionally intelligent I picked it up quickly and well understood its value. This lead me to start to see the horrific state that the world was in. Suffering on such a massive scale and so much of it needless. I found it truly unsettling at the time but my curiosity and energy kept my mind too busy to dwell on it.
This was about the time I started school. I was small for my age and my birthday fell in a way that I was actually younger than my classmates. I was smaller than most of the girls in fact. My intellect quickly earned me labels like nerd and geek as well, in other words I was an easy target. Although I didn't know it until much later I have PTSD from incidents in my very early childhood that I don't remember which rendered me practically paralyzed under stress. To put it mildly I was bullied. I dealt with it as best as I could, I could convince neither my parents nor teachers how bad it was or how miserable it was making me. I went to school sick to my stomach practically every day for years from the stress.
As time went on it only got worse. Year after year the bullying got worse and I grew increasingly aware of the horrors of the world. My growing perception of the evils of humanity combined with the stress of being bullied piled upon me until I was finally crushed by it. The light faded from my world and all that I had left was darkness. I went gothic practically overnight as both an outward manifestation of the darkness consuming me and a show of rebellion against a world I increasingly didn't want to be a part of. I lashed out at everyone around me and started contemplating suicide as the misery and hatred grew.
Imagine the psychological abuse of having someone telling you that you are worthless. Telling you day after day that humanity is a plague, callous and malevolent. Telling you week after week that the human life brings misery, suffering, and death everywhere it goes and you are powerless to stop it. Telling you month after month nothing you do matters and anything you dare care for will eventually whither and die. Year after year it goes on and you lose the will to fight back. Now imagine that voice is in your head and you cannot silence it. Its always there infecting your every thought in a malicious, unyielding effort to break you.
I grew cold and withdrawn, nothing mattered anymore. After a certain point a positive feedback loop is formed and the darkness feeds itself. The neuro connections in your head continually reinforce themselves and you can't break the cycle. The world seems ugly and twisted. After you have lost the will to live nothing is beautiful, nothing is interesting, and you go around practically starving because even your food tastes bad. I have heard it said that depression is just someone feeling sorry for themselves, by comparison that would be a welcome reprieve. Ten years of my life were lost to this illness, I was in my mid twenties before I found my way out.