If you’ve seen Panic Room, and if you have depression, you might already know what I’m about to describe. There’s this stock scene in literature and films where a person answers the door on a “wellness check” from a police officer who has been called to the residence due to a neighbor or family concern. The person who answers the door is painfully conflicted because on the one hand, there is somebody behind the door pointing a gun at her temple and if she tells the cop she is in danger, she will be long gone before she has any chance at being safe. On the other hand, this might be the one chance, the closest by far, that she does have of getting out of the situation alive and she could be sealing her own fate by not signalling to the cop because she is afraid of death.
I don’t know whose gun it is but I do know that I’m for sure the one answering that door when I’m in an episode. Maybe, in some screwed up way, I am also the person holding the gun, maybe it is the depressed part of me holding the gun. Maybe it is just depression embodied or it is all of the scars in my life that have been waiting to burst open simultaneously (I know that sounds a little Good Charlotte-ish but that’s the only way I can think to word it).
Regardless, every time somebody texts me, calls me, reaches out to me in any way, or asks if I am alright, I am standing at that door staring down the barrel both of what seems like my only chance of getting away from the threat hidden in the shadow, and at the sure consequences of what will happen if I dare approach the threshold. As trite as these scenes seem to be, they are so real for me because I know what it feels like to be looking at help you desperately need but not being able to say that you need it and watching it walk away. I don’t know what I need when people who know how I’m feeling ask me how I can make this better. I don’t know. As much as I love to make to-do lists, if I knew, we wouldn’t be talking about it.
The only thing I know is that I need something. Something is threatening me. Something is controlling and isolating me. In spite of the fact that it is invisible and some people might think all in my head, it is very real to me. I know there is no physical gun held to my head but that doesn’t mean that rational thought has any chance of changing the physiological reactions my body is having to the barrel it feels. I want out more than anything and I know I am held captive and cannot walk out on my own but at the same time, crossing that line of telling somebody how badly I need help feels about as safe as setting myself on fire.