The Burden of Positivity in Depression

I’m starting to wonder what happened to me on March 3rd, 2005. This time last week, I published Into the Darkness, a poem I interpreted with strength as it seemed to describe overcoming a surrounding darkness. For the first time ever, I have turned the page to find a poem written on the same day. In fact, it seems this poem is a sort of answer to the one published last week.

As last week, this poem was written when I was a 14-year-old freshman in high school. I have a suspicion I read the previous poem after I wrote it and was impacted enough that my response needed to be in poem form.

I Carry My Burden

I’m all right now
I’m okay
Life is a torment
Yet I figured out a way
I can save myself
No one can comfort me
And no one need to know my pain
I don’t need someone
To carry my burden
Life is hard enough
Without worrying about others
Believe me, I’m all right
Though nothing will ever be the same

There are so many options here, and I have no idea which is true. Did I read the previous poem immediately after writing it only to feel it was too dark? Did I worry someone would find my notebook and wish to reassure them I wasn’t super depressed? Or, did something really happen? Perhaps I walked away from the notebook, experienced an event, read a book or played a game that spoke to me.

Knowing what I know now, this sudden change of tone scares me a bit. I don’t remember seriously considering suicide outside of middle school, but this is the sort of dialog I’d expect to hear from someone who did. They say if you know someone who is particularly somber and depressed who suddenly becomes happy, to be worried. When this change happens suddenly, it can be a sign they have decided to take their life. I clearly am still experiencing pain, it’s just a pain I feel guilty speaking of. I end the poem by saying nothing will be the same.  What was 14-year-old TK thinking? In a month, she’d be 15, which means she’d only have to suffer for three more years before she escaped. After nine years of dealing with these dark feelings, what was three more?

This photo, “Depression please cut to the chase.” is copyright (c) 2014 darcyadelaide and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license.. The image was cropped to create the featured image.
This photo, “Depression please cut to the chase.” is copyright (c) 2014 darcyadelaide and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license.. The image was cropped to create the featured image.

Yet, I actually have no idea if that’s what I was feeling. I’ve worked very hard to black out everything between the ages of 5 and 17 from memory. These words bring back very little. For whatever reason, I want to say I just felt the first was too depressing and felt the need to be more cheerful.

Whatever my motivation, I don’t believe myself. I was sort of strong as a teenager. I was strong enough to convince myself I was all I needed. How else would I have survived? I treated the idea that no one was there to save me as a fact. That meant I was the only one who could help me. I accept I had to believe that to survive the next day, but I don’t honestly believe I could overcome anything all on my own.

Do you feel this poem marks a good or bad movement in my emotional health? Did you know the signs of suicide when you were 14? Do you think it’s possible for someone with depression to ever overcome their demons all on their own?

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10 thoughts on “The Burden of Positivity in Depression”

  1. The poem does sound suicidal, however, I’ve written things that could be interpreted as dark when I’ve had a completely different motivation. It’s interesting to look back at the things written during our teen years.
    I was a teenager in the ’80s and I’m sure at 14, I had no idea of the signs of suicide. The only thing I’d actually been told about it was that it was an unforgivable sin and a one way ticket to hell. I accepted that information at face value back then. Now, as the parent of a child with type two bipolar disorder, a condition that causes severe, nearly catatonic depressive episodes, I don’t believe that a loving God would condemn a seriously ill person to hell for a decision made when not in their right mind.

    1. I went to Catholic school through the 90s and the rule was then that killing yourself is always wrong, but people who are mentally ill are sick and can’t be held responsible for their actions. Since you have to be mentally ill to kill yourself, then people who kill themselves aren’t actually sinning… or something like that.

      I’m not really sure about me. I was far more at risk for suicide when I was in middle school. I was still depressed here, but I was working my way out of it. I can’t imagine I was too serious.

  2. I believe it is possible for somebody to overcome depression on their own, but it is better to have help. I think part of the evil of depression is that it leaves one feeling alone. Part of coming out of it is realizing, through help offered by others, that one is not alone.

    1. It’s always better to have help. I wish I had help. I’m happy with the person I am today but I will never say who I am is worth the suffering I went through. Nothing it worth that. No one deserves that. I wish we had better ways of addressing depression and other mental issues right away. Maybe people wouldn’t have to suffer if only they felt like someone cared.

      1. Yes, there are issues with how we as a society address these things, but far too many people can’t acknowledge their problems to themselves, let alone others who can help.

        I’m in the midst of situational depression and while I have friends who support me, the people who really have the power to do something about it in a real way seem completely oblivious — both to my struggles and their ability to help me with it. Sigh.

        1. But I think a lot of people fear getting help as well. Our whole discussion on mental illness is in it’s infancy. I had a friend who tried to take their life once. My father wanted me to stay away from them after. I of course did not do that, but my father didn’t understand. “So they just take that pill and they never try to die again?” he asked like that was the stupidest thing ever.

          I mean, so many people don’t even believe things like depression as a mental illness are real. We’ve got a lot of challenges to overcome.

          I feel you, though. I am no longer dealing with depression, but when I was, I felt like those who should know didn’t help. Those I told didn’t do anything. Even worse, some who tried to help seemed to attack me. Those are not good reactions and they shouldn’t be normal.

  3. The “Books” say that in some cases it can be overcome without help,but most cases of depression need help.It’s like mastering coordination while being inebreated. My first wife, and second daughter and my current wife are being treated since they were clinically diagonosed from twenty to four and three years ago. Funny as a nineteen year old, I remember my first wife saying, “I know its day but everything seems so dark.”. As a nineteen year old myself it was just puzzling to me what she was trying to say. Today they are all well and planning for thanksgiving.

    1. I do think most people should have help and soon. It might not have to get so bad if we knew how to address early signs. People might not have to go on medication if it’s addressed before it gets too serious. I really think we need to overhaul the whole way we think of mental illness.

  4. Yes, you can definitely overcome depression. A therapist helps, but so does exercise, fish oil, meditation and lots of sun. And sometimes meds. In any case, to any one reading this miserable and alone, know if can get better. I enjoy your blog.

    1. I wish people focused on that more. As I said to other commenters here, if we addressed depression before it got too bad, it might never require medication. Not in every case, but some.

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