Imagine standing in the middle of an escalator. Above you is a place of safety. Below you is a cliff. The escalator is constantly moving down and you’re doing just enough to stay far from the cliff where it could mean death. One step at a time you move up, slowly, because you are already tired. But with every step you are also dragged down. You’ve been doing the same thing for several months now, maybe even years. And your goal now is to just stay alive.
You have two choices: rest and fall off the cliff and die or continue climbing. But it feels like you are climbing an insurmountable mountain. You’ve felt this before. When the elevator at work was not working and you work at the 10th floor. There’s a point, maybe on the 5th floor, when you just want to sit down and rest.
But this is life we are talking about, and sitting down or giving up on the climb would mean an end to two things: life and pain.
If you give up on the climb, because your calves are already on fire and your back is going numb, with your lungs cold from the heavy intake of air, and your head is starting to droop, in just a few moment you’ll find peace. Everything will end.
“Why don’t you climb up and hurry?” a friend asks while he’s on the other elevator going up.
“I’m too tired,” you say to him.
photo credit: slimmer_jimmer
Another person asks, “well, why did you ride that elevator, then?”
That’s the thing, you didn’t ride that elevator by choice. You were pushed onto it by accident, totally out of your control.
Soon more people will notice. Others will try to help by looking for the stop button, but there isn’t one. There would be close friends throwing ropes at you, but they’re always shorter than you can reach.
Soon people will get annoyed at you and will just try to forget about you. And you’re fine with that. Well, not fine with people leaving you to your own devices, but what can you do? You’re out of energy.
This is how depression is like. You have just enough energy to keep on fighting to stay alive, and at the same time you’re constantly tired and no matter what you do you still fail. It’s like riding a never-ending escalator.
It’s great if someone can help you get out of your predicament, but it’s also great if people will just leave you alone.
And then one day your friends will look past the annoyance and form a human chain and drag you out of the escalator. Or a professional never-ending-escalatorogist will help you get out.
Writing this has ruined my day because it feels like I’ve relieved the years I’ve been depressed. I wanted to start over and use a different analogy, but what the hell. I started with an escalator so I just tried my best to finish with it.
If I were to restart, I’d pick drowning.
photo credit: db_in_uk
Imagine clinging on a boulder in the middle of a river on a stormy day. You’re tired and you’re constantly adjusting yourself in order to not just slip away and drown. You know in your heart that letting go would end all the hardships, but you want to live to see another day. People on the bank are shouting, “swim towards us!” but you can’t. You can’t battle the strong rapids. You will drown.
Are you a friend of someone who might be depressed? All you have to do is to just be there.
Depressed people get tired of fighting, of clinging on that slippery boulder. And when people get tired, they tend to fall asleep. But you have got to be there to keep them awake, lest they’ll slip away onto their eternal sleep. Just be there until the storm goes away and the river calms down.
Just be there for depressed people and if possible ask for a professional’s help.
Featured image by [ piXo ].