My family cottage is overflowing with three things: wilderness nick-knacks, Ukrainian pride, and VHS tapes of classic films. My fondest memories include the first time, years ago, when I dug through the collection on a rainy day, dusted off the cover of Good Will Hunting, and spent the evening transfixed by this film’s depth and sincerity. Alluring as Matt Damon’s ingenious bad-boy character was, it was Robin William’s performance that left me speechless, pressing the rewind button. Never again quite the same human being; honest art will alter you. It places something extraordinary and undying in the palm of your hand- the inspiration to lead a truthful life. There is no greater gift. It seems as though it is when the sun is shining the brightest that the ominous clouds abruptly swarm clear skies. In our darkest hours, we are merely shadows of our internalities- the world is the least suspecting of one’s anguish when it is the most overwhelming. I have often wondered if living with an untroubled mind would benefit the life that I lead, and I am always led to the same conclusion. It is in our obscurity that we find our greatness, our yell for life, our cry for tomorrow. With the presence of ingenious exists something cryptic that is far less acknowledged, understood, and accepted. Clinical depression is a relentless burning that does not corrode the flesh, it is an ache that does not subside even with the accompaniment of the strongest remedies; it is a disease that consumes the lives of many people you and I know intimately. It is far too common of a belief that mental illness is not genuine because it is not physically visible- although the look in the eyes of a tormented mind cannot be missed by one whom knows intimately the depths of such a silent suffering. Just as one with a broken leg cannot scale challenging heights, one possessing a broken spirit cannot charge up the dismaying mountains that dwell within. There was a time in my life when I romanticized suicide; I believed that dying by my own hand could be not only dark, but somehow beautifully dark. It is easy to fall back on the possibility that if things were to get unbearable, surrendering yourself to a blade could end the anguish. This next part is important- There is nothing beautiful about suicide. It cuts short an extraordinary story with an abrupt slam, and then there is nothing. It is the end of the quiet sunrise over the pastures in your dreams; it is the end of all dreams. At the height of my gloom, I was partaking in activities and behaviors that only led to further harm and destruction. If you are feeling hopeless or suicidal at any level…
-Get out of bed. Put on something comfortable, sit outside in an area that is heavily exposed to the sunlight. Stay here for at least 20 minutes.
-Eat well and sufficiently. The deterioration of your body only amplifies the deterioration of your mind and emotional stability.
-Do not consume alcohol. It is a depressant. It will counteract any medication you’re taking for depression and will also allow you to marinate in your misery while simultaneously making irresponsible decisions.
-Volunteer at a local homeless, animal, or women’s shelter. Helping those who cannot help themselves will remind you of your luxuries and privileges, thus ridding your thoughts of self-pity and melancholy.
-Run. Run until you see the light. Running 5 miles a day lifted me out of a deep slump. (Just make sure you have enough water on hand, and a granola bar in case of unexpected blood-sugar drops.)
-Visit a petting zoo/animal shelter and interact. Animals are miracle workers.
-Feed birds and squirrels while on your way out to work or school. Brave little creatures eating from your hand will make you smile..I can almost guarantee it.
-Do not feel superior to medication. A doctor knows best. I’ve been taking a daily anti-depressant for over two years and it does help. It does not work miracles, only you can do that. But it helps.
-Read enlightening books. I’d recommend The Shack by William P. Young.
-Pick one objective, patient person whom you trust wholly to confide in, preferably someone whom is an elder in your life. If you cannot think of anyone that fits this description, you can call one of these hotlines listed in the link below
If you are uncomfortable with the idea of a hotline, please feel welcome to confide in me personally. My full name is Hayley Nobili (Facebook), and I am usually awake at ungodly hours.
I remember waking up in residence for the first time in university and feeling like there was a stranger inside of me holding a knife to the throat of my happiness. Nothing in my life was wrong. I was in love with a boy whose beauty was timeless (apparently that clock ran out of batteries) and my family had made sure that my room had everything and anything I could possibly need to feel comfortable in my new space. I was 17 years old, I had everything to live for, yet I longed passionately after death. Depression is not a choice; it is not a temporary mood swing that will pass, it is a disease that need be acknowledged with professional treatment. Depression and sadness are not synonymous. Robin Williams did not die of sadness; it is a disease that killed him.
There is a sun shining inside of you, you must pay attention to its light, not its fire.
Written by Hayley Nobili