Tuesday, May 1, 2012


I have always found the persistent voice of excessive criticism to be one of the most difficult aspects of depression. Just to be clear, this is not a literal voice that I hear, but rather a persistent pressure giving rise to self-critical thoughts. It is a relentless pressure to find fault, not so much in particulars but in my life as a whole. My voice tells me that I am a failure and that it was foolishness to ever think that I might amount to anything. It is these thoughts that give rise to suicidal ideations. I feel small and anxious in opposing this tendency because I can't point to anything in my life that would be evidence for not being a failure. This pressure tempts me to believe that everyone would be better off without me. It was this train of thought that ended in a suicide attempt.

It is accurate to say that I have hit a low point in my life. The death of my mother coupled with my wife deciding that suddenly she's really been a lesbian almost drove me insane last year. The double abandonment hurt immensely. I had been close to my mother, we spoke by phone almost everyday. Zoya, my wife, gave me only the vaguest of inklings that all was not well in our marriage. My mother's death and Zoya's leaving in the same week was a profound shock. She moved out the day before my birthday, to add insult to injury.

The illusions in this posting's title? The most painful is the relentless pressure of self-critical thoughts to believe horrible things about myself. Opposing the relentless pressure requires strength of character. I do not have the luxury of a belief in God and Christianity or that there is a higher purpose to my life or that there is a lesson to be learned in all of this. These thoughts are neither "true" nor "false," but these thoughts present themselves as true, meaning without an alternative. This makes this pressure oppressive in their relentlessness. The temptation is to believe in truth and that these thoughts and pressure are not representations and reflections of other things going on in my life.

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