Since I did a previous blog post on mania (check the tags), I thought I would do another post on depression. I have bipolar disorder, so I am uniquely placed to talk about both.
Depression is not sadness. Rather, depression is the absence of feeling. During mania, you feel everything too keenly. During depression, you feel nothing.
Human beings are always supposed to have some emotion inside them, even if it’s just something like boredom or general happiness, or even sadness or anger. And in depressed people – who are constantly apathetic – we can learn why.
Depressed people lose all energy. They lose all will to do anything. They lose all will to socialize with other human beings. Eventually, their life loses all meaning, and they want to die.
There are two different ways of being suicidal.
The first, and most common, is what I call passively suicidal. This is just a general feeling that your life sucks and death would be preferable. In this state, you are not going to take your own life, but you would not move out of the way if a car was about to run over you.
Then there is actively suicidal. In this state, you actively decide to kill yourself. For obvious reasons, it is the most famous and usually doesn’t last very long.
There are in turn two different ways of being actively suicidal.
The first, and most famous, is planned suicide. This is when you willfully decide to end your life, and over the long term make a detailed plan in which to end your life.
But this is not the most common type of suicide. The most common type of suicide is what I call impulsive suicide. This happens when your life already sucks, and then something awful happens, and it’s the straw that breaks the camel’s back. You suddenly and impulsively decide to end your life in the nearest available way.
This is deadly. Someone can find out about a plan; someone can potentially talk the suicidal person out of suicide. During impulsive suicide, no plan is made and there is no one there to talk the suicidal person out of it. Impulsive suicide, especially if there is immediately available means of death, is what kills.
Let me clarify one point. I said that a depressed person’s life “sucks.” This is both true and not true. It is certainly true that person has clinical depression, and cannot just “get over it,” and that is terrible. But the rest of it is all perception. Suicidal depression can sometimes happen for absolutely no reason.
The person perceives that their life is awful because they feel terrible – there may not necessarily be anything physically wrong.