Initially, I was extremely panicked. It was hard for me to accept the reality that I would be caught by depression again. Especially due to the painful memories from 20 years ago, I didn't believe that I could get out of it this time, because I knew the torment and struggle, especially the uncertainty and small probability of getting out, and I felt hopeless.
Because twenty years ago, I was young, and believed that everything could restart. But now, forty-three years old, in middle age, living such a failed life, with no chance and confident to restart. One day when I had to make dinner for my kids. Faced with the ingredients already prepared, I was unable to start, with my heart racing, and my mind confused, like ants on a hot pan. I picked up one thing then put it down, followed by picking up another. I had no idea what I wanted to do. In short, the behavior was totally in disordered and I was in a state of uncontrollable panic. Finally, I had to go back to my bedroom, close the door, and lie down in the dark, calling out to the God in agony.
I gradually accepted the reality that I was suffering from depression after about a month, and after that, I started to go through a long process of falling down, as if I was in a mud puddle and sucked in little by little. The biggest trouble of depression that it could bring a direct blow to a person's will, depriving them of their sense of joy and leading to a complete loss of the sense of meaning about life.
Depression first leads to an extremely low mood and viewing everything in a negative light. Nothing--including food, sex, travel, reading, money, etc., could hold my interest. I was unable to smile at all. My facial muscles can barely disguise a smile for social reasons, but the sadness that still exists in my heart. The house used to be full of laughter, but now the atmosphere has become dull and dreary.
My memory and thinking level dropped dramatically, even below the level of a five or six-year-old child. Before I really fell into depression, I couldn't recall the name of a colleague who was present at our dinner time.
And when I was suffering from the depression, I used to continue my ability to work, but when I sat in front of the computer to prepare for a class, I had trouble recalling the abstract academic terms, and I often sat for an hour, but had no idea to make any further improvements to the PPT I already had. I once tried to get out of depression by reciting the Bible, but I failed to memorize it, although I had read it fifty times, however, my daughter read it five times and knew it by heart.
Thoughts are like heavy mud, flowing more and more slowly, and stopping there simply, day after day, and finally stinking. Not to mention the creativity. For six months, I didn't have any lively ideas, but just repeatedly revolved around a few problems in the same place, and didn't make the slightest progress.
I used to research various ways of suicide through the Internet. For a long time, when I had to go out to seek medical help, as soon as I saw a tall building, I started to count the number of floors in the building. I was thinking about which floor to jump from can be the fastest and least painful to end their lives? So I had to force myself to walk past with my head down whenever I passed a tall building.
The scariest thing was the loss of willpower. Because nothing attracted my interest, and felt I was doomed to fail at anything I did, I started to lose motivation to do anything. I became afraid to go out alone. It's really ridiculous and unimaginable that a veteran self-help traveler like me, who used to be able to pick up a backpack and travel around the world at any time, became afraid to go out, afraid to take a cab, afraid to take the subway and train.
As for the sleep situation, at the beginning, because of anxiety and panic, I often couldn't sleep all night long, but in the middle and late stages, because I delayed too long, I didn't have the courage to commit suicide, so I always comforted myself every day before going to bed, “No matter what, let's live one more day, I'll think about it tomorrow, now sleep first”. So, every day, tossing and turning, drowsy at least 15 hours of sleep. And when I didn't sleep, I was watching movies or flipping through some books to kill time.
For six months, I did not work, and rarely contacted anyone other than my family, except for two or three of my closest friends.
The road to recovery accompanied by family members
I would not be able to cross the wilderness of depression alone and tell my story without my wife and daughter. If there is only one person I should be grateful so many, my beloved deserves it. We are rare soul mates, although it took her three or four months to realize how terrible depression is. She stood by my side and fought the same battle!
For people with depression, the mind has completely shut down, no new information can enter and hard to change their cognitive structure. Sufferers are most afraid of hearing others say, “If you want to get out, you can get out” or “You must pull yourself together”. Such words can only put great pressure on the patient and quickly push them to the depths of suicide. My beloved never said that. She endured everything in silence, hiding my condition from my mother and daughter.
She knew I loved movies and the only way to distract me a little was to watch them, so she kept buying me movie DVDs and watching them in silence with me at night or on weekends. She tolerates me sleeping at least fifteen hours a day or more, as long as I choose not to give up.
Every morning around 1:00 am, when I left the living room after watching a movie and went back to my bedroom through the dark hallway, I could always see a crescent-shaped wall lamp with a warm light. This lamp and her love, like a lighthouse in the long night, kept me from losing my way and giving up my last bit of hope.
If my lover is my overt tool to overcome depression, then my daughter is my secret one. For six months, we concealed my condition from her. On April 21, the day after I came out of depression, I told her, “Dad is sick, do you know?” She said, “I don't know, what's wrong with you? Tell me now.” “Dad is sick with a fool's disease”. She was amazed, “When you were teaching me math, when you played the number guessing game, didn't you do it fast and accurately?”
After leaving the wilderness of depression, I felt my mental strength became extremely strong and my sense of happiness and humor exploded. I felt like I didn't have any enemies left in my heart, I wanted to hug everyone on the street, I wanted to meet everyone and say, “what can I do for you? “. In particular, I feel that no circumstances or things can affect my mind anymore.