Day 5: “A time you thought about ending your own life”
Over the years I have suffered from various bouts with depression. Some were more serious than others. For a time in junior high school I saw my sadness reflected back at me in the character of Darlene Connor, the middle child on the television show Roseanne. I would come home from school each day and plop down on the sofa, watching television for hours on end. I had a meticulously planned schedule of shows, but I didn’t like the vast majority of them. In my mind I was filling each block of time until I would be tired enough to sleep, then I would begrudgingly get up and do it again the next day.
Except for the weekends when my mother took me out, I would come home from school on a Friday and stay in my room until it was time for school again on Monday. My life revolved around WPIX 11’s weekend movie schedule. They aired movies at 1pm, 3pm, and 5pm. At 7pm there would be some hour long show, at which point I would switch over to Ghostwriter on PBS. Then I’d go right back to watching movies at 8pm.
These movies were my only refuge. I grew to appreciate some of the B movie actors who showed up in them over and over again. I watched many of the same movies repeatedly and I will always have an affection for them because they probably saved me. Though I’ve gone through other depressions, this is the one that stands out to me. It was the only one where I really thought about ending my life. It was the only one where I would look at knives and pills and think “maybe.” I would think about how it would feel and how long it would take, and when, where, and how I would do it.
As I think back on that time I realize it was also the only time in my life where I felt any real frustration towards my mother. She was amazing and thoughtful, but I think she was depressed too, and just as lonely as I was. We didn’t even fight very much, but we couldn’t relate to each other as well as we always had. At the same time, it was the desire to not leave her by herself that made it so I could never actually go through with it.