Guest writer Cormac Ryan with an account of his struggle against depression.
Earlier in the week, I was listening to a song that contained the lyrics "Please help me, I'm alone and I'm drowning". It pretty much floored me and, apart from listening to that song repeatedly, I've done little else for the rest of the week. Drowning, I can relate to.
When I was a boy, one of the games I used to play with myself was racing to a given point, a telegraph pole, a lamppost or a tree, and if I reached there before counting to a particular number the prize would be that God would let me die before my next birthday.
For pretty much most of my life I think I have basically just not wanted to be here. Not wanted to live. A substantial part of it I've actually been wishing to be taken away, and most of the other time has been just not wanting to exist.
I was born in late 1980, into a family that was still reeling from the death of Baby Stephen less than two years previously. As much as I'm sure they tried for it not to be, it must have been incredibly tough for my four grieving family members to deal with their ongoing sorrow coupled with the turbulence of another baby arriving into their home.
Then, a short time later, when I was one, I died. Or nearly died. That is to say, apparently I was clinically dead, or pronounced dead at one point. So it took me a good while to recover physically and emotionally from that trauma. My speech was impaired for a long time as I slowly gathered myself back together in the time after.
A few years pass, as I move on, but the one thing I do remember is the hardship facing the day each morning. I don't remember much from that time, but I do remember how tough it was facing each morning. And, that's something that has never stopped from then 'til now. Mornings are hell. Having to accept every 24hrs that you're still fucking alive can be soul destroying.
Then the bullying started. I mentioned that before in my Q&A a couple of years ago. Real creeping low grade stuff, but it built into a crescendo and maintained that of me being treated like a dog by those that should have been my friends for a solid three+ years.
So, by the age of 10, 11, or 12, I just felt really fucked. Totally fucked. In latter years, people often guessed that I was feeling bad because my folks had split up, or something of that ilk. To be honest, at that point (my parents split when I was 14) I already felt so fucked I'm not even sure how much it registered. Honestly, I kind of brushed through it with a general feeling of numbness. It felt very manageable.
Likewise when the local nonce forced himself on me one night. Thanfully, I fought him off. But I remember pacing up and down my room trying to process what the feck had just happened. And then I didn't thing about it for years. I just passed it off.
I remember with both the bullying and the nonce not wanting to tell anyone because I was afraid that my big brother would do something to get himself into trouble.
So, drowning ... sometimes when i'm swimming in the sea, when I jump in and am totally submerged, that can be the best part of my day. When I'm there under the water, sometime I find myself thinking, "just don't go back up", "stay down, to feck"... "Who'll miss you?".