However globally important this subject may be, the reason why I’m taking on such a dreadful subject today is a personal itch I can’t seem to scratch no matter what I do.
Since finding out about Reckful‘s passing, I’ve been carrying a heavy load in my heart that follows me everywhere I go. I can’t say I’ve been a loyal fan or anything like that – whenever I’d drop by one of his streams, I wouldn’t understand much about the content he streamed due to my own poor PvP skills. However, Reckful’s chat would greet everyone in the most pleasant way, and the very vibe of his personality was the reason why even people like me – the Arena noobies – were attracted to his community.
When I found out he took his own life, it hit home for me. It hit home hard. All the mental barriers have been lifted, and I was suddenly looking at a fellow colleague’s death (regardless of how overwhelmingly bigger his community rightfully is).
Somewhere far away, a man who loved World of Wacraft, who streamed games he was passionate about, who had a community of people who loved him dearly, died by his own hand. In what world would that not hit home for me?
On top of all that, he wasn’t just a respected content creator. He was an artist, whose photography was majestic to look at. As someone who’s passionate about macro and nature photography, I see every one of deaths like this one as a terrible loss.
For years, he had also battled his own demons, including depression. That’s where it gets incredibly personal and painful for me.
As someone who has gone through years of battling depression, anxiety, and lack of self-worthiness, I’m aware that I’d been hanging off my own mental cliff far too many times in my teenage years.
My situation at home and in one of my relationships wasn’t great at the time, but it hardly would have been the reason to end my life. Still, I remember countless nights of going to bed in tears, crying myself to sleep, and hoping with all my heart I wouldn’t wake up tomorrow. Hoping I wouldn’t live another day.
If this sounds like the usual teenage drama everyone goes through, so be it. But that wasn’t the worst part. The scariest feelings would happen in the morning – when a good night’s sleep doesn’t fix things. When I’d wake up, take a second to remember where I had left off the night before, and sink into disappointment due to still drawing breath.
I was a horrible mess. How else could I describe a 15-year-old girl who has so much to look forward to. yet refuses to feel the joy of being alive and having at least the roof above her head?
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to depression. If you’re so far confused by my story, I honestly envy you. It means you’ve never had to go through it.
Sometimes, people who haven’t been through depression themselves and hear about it being the cause of someone taking their life, a question emerges.
“Was it just depression, or was there another reason for it?”
I can’t blame them – a person who’s never been through it can’t possibly understand how one can ignore all the beautiful things to look forward to. Even beautiful things currently around them, however uncommon they may seem.
For anyone who’s never had the pleasure of battling depression, here’s what it feels like and why it’s so devastating.
You know like, when you’re wearing sunglasses, you see through the lenses, but you also see around them? You’ve got the shade covering your eyesight, but you know it’s not real. You’re aware that the world is much brighter on the outside, and that looking through the shades is your choice you can choose to abandon at any time.
With depression, it’s like having sunglasses on, but there isn’t even a hint of what goes on in the real world. The shades are covering your whole eyesight, and you’re under the illusion of it being the real picture. You’re not taking them off, because you don’t know you can. It just feels like the only choice.
The shades you look through aren’t just affecting the way you see things. It’s an emotional filter, clouding your judgement, making you believe things will never get better. The things you already have and own lose value dramatically. Love for everything you have around you gets replaced by apathy. You lack the energy for movement.
In some cases, the most difficult ones, there’s enough energy left only for one movement – the one that gets you out of your misery, but leaves your loved ones in chaos and nightmare.
If you’ve ever wondered why people who are battling depression and suicidal thoughts aren’t given advice that sounds like “here’s 40 things you can do right now to get yourself out of depression…”, that’s why. A person going through this stage only has energy for one action. That’s why it’s so very important for that action to be the correct one.
Talking to friends and family is not it. They love you, but they don’t know how to help you if they’re not trained for it. They want depression to go away, but they can only treat the consequence – not the cause.
Walking around the block isn’t the answer. Seeing a movie isn’t the answer.
Only, and I mean only grabbing the phone and calling the suicide lifeline, is the right action to do when you’ve only got energy for one thing. Those are the people that can and will help you.
I’m not saying this because it’s the right thing to say. I’m saying it, because I’ve had my fair share of these phone calls. Now that I look back at them, I understand how carefully asked all their questions were, how genuinely understanding those unfamiliar voices sounded. Those people are trained to take your shades off and show you that there’s a clouded world you can’t see right now.
I’m not a trained person in battling depression – if anything, I’m one of the worst people to take advice from, since I lack the clear eyesight of people who have never been affected by it.
However, since I’m choosing to influence the world through my content and be present on social media where people get reached, I feel the responsibility to take some action.
I’m going to work harder on pointing people towards the meaningful actions during their crisis.
I may not have anything new to say or add to the perspective, but I’m a terrific listener.
If you want someone to listen, I’ll be there to the best of my abilities. My replies may be crippled by my own hardships, but I’ll do my best.
But before you reach out to me, to your friends and family, to anyone else; if you’re thinking about taking your own life, please, contact someone who’s best equipped to help you. Make that one action you have the willpower to perform – count.