On Depression

If you are thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Line.
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Chat with them.
More comfortable in person? Find a local center.
How you get help isn’t important. What’s important is keeping you alive and with us.

I don’t know if I have depression. I don’t know if I ever have. I’ve never gotten help for it. I have been OK and I continue to be OK.

I have never thought about killing myself but I do struggle with sadness. Before I was married, I lived alone for much of that time. While I often enjoyed the quiet and solitude it gave me. There were some times when I needed to be near another human being.

I used to go see movies just to get out of my apartment and be near people. I would smile and chat with the cashiers and laugh and cry at the movie in the theater. I needed to feel something. I needed to share that feeling with other people.

Now that I’m married, I always have someone nearby. And that’s a comfort. Sharing a life with a warm, loving woman has been the height of my life. Knowing she’s near and she loves me helps to keep the ugly feelings at bay.

But there is still sadness. I struggle with it when I’m alone and I’m up late. It comes in the night to take away my joy.

My goal is to fall asleep before the sadness comes. Before it can talk to me and remind me of all the things I’ve done wrong or could do wrong.

Volunteer Counselor

I’ve never had suicidal thoughts. I’ve talked with people who have. I used to volunteer at a teen chat site my freshman year of college. It helped to keep me sane as much as it did those I talked to.

I would often hang out in the chat room at TeenAdviceOnline (TAO for short) at all hours of the night. I didn’t sleep much, I never have. So I would sit at my desk and chat with other people who needed a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen.

I will never forget the night I helped someone from my school.

While we were all anonymous through the chat, the IP addresses were logged and visible to those of us who volunteered. It helped when we needed to try to get help to people offline.

I was chatting with a woman one night. It was late, as it always was, and I noticed her IP address was very similar to mine. It was on the same network. She was at VCU just as I was.

In the course of talking, I learned she was a freshman too and having a really hard time of things. I could relate to her on so many levels. We were both struggling in our own way. But she had some other stuff going on. I don’t remember the specifics, as it’s been over a decade since this happened.

But after hours, I learned she was in a dorm across a small park from me. It was only a block or two from where I was living. I tried to get her to meet me in person to talk.

Midnight Meeting?

She agreed and I logged off and walked across the park to the other dorm. I didn’t know who she was, what she looked like or even what room she was in. But I had described myself and what I was wearing.

I sat and waited in the lobby. I perked up every time a woman came downstairs. But none of them were her, at least none of them admitted as much.

They ventured out with friends, or to meet people and invite them up. They collected mail or food. I waited for her. I waited for an hour. Then, realizing she was not going to come and it would be morning before too long, I told the guard at the front desk why I was there and what little I knew.

I wasn’t able to give much detail and I don’t know if it mattered at all. But I did what little I could.

When I got back to my room, I logged back on to see if she had returned. She had not. I asked the other volunteers if they had seen her or anyone from a similar IP address as me. No one had.

She told me she was leaving school and would be better at home. I hope she did. I hope she got help and her life got better. I will never know what happened to her.

I don’t often think about her, but I do sometimes. And wonder whatever became of her.

I hope she’s still alive. I hope she’s happy. Or at least content in her life.

Why am I telling you this?

I write this not to extol my value or that I deserve praise. I write this to share how we can all make a difference. I write this to share that we all need somebody. We all have our own darkness. Our own pain. We all have days we feel will never end.

We all need help. We all need someone to listen to us. To help us through the darkness. To help let the light shine back into our lives. Some people are down and need time. But other people need help. They’re not going to simply snap out of it. They’re not having a bad day.

I try to be as open as I can to people in my life that I am here if they ever need to talk. I extend that invitation to anyone within sight of these words. If you need to talk, talk to me.

I want to help

Write me an email: peroty@gmail.com
Leave me a comment.
I’m on Facebook, Twitter, and App.net.
Message me. Talk to me. Let me be your shoulder to cry on or ear to listen.

I want to help. If not me, find someone you know, online or off and talk to them.
If not them, call the National Suicide Prevention Line.
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Chat with them.

Even if you do not call, look through the ideas and resources on the site.
Even though it may not feel like it, I can guarantee you someone in your life cares very deeply about you. They may be too afraid or shy to act on it. But they care for you. They want you to be OK. They want you to be alive. They love you.

I know these words seem hollow and when the clouds roll in, it’s hard to see the light.
But the light is there. It’s not hopeless.
I love you.
I want to help.

Get Help

Call the National Suicide Prevention Line.
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Chat with them.
More comfortable in person? Find a local center.
How you get help isn’t important. What’s important is keeping you alive and with us.