08/15/2014 04:43 pm ET Updated Oct 15, 2014

If He Couldn't Do It, How Can I?

The five stages of grief are drinking, drinking, drinking, watching Jumanji, and acceptance, right? Whenever someone takes their own life, it terrifies me, having dealt with depression and anxiety. If someone I looked up to, someone with more mental health resources can't break out of this sickness, how can I?

I think part of the problem is I'm thinking about it too logically. When I go to the dark place, it's more of a panicked flurried compilation of different emotions and feelings. My heart beats so hard I feel like I'm going to explode and my breathing rate skyrockets. In that type of moment no one is thinking logically.

During my dark periods I'll feel almost obligated to stay in my room, sometimes to not even leave my bed. I'll just lie for hours watching Battlestar Galactica lacking the ambition to do anything, even shower or feed myself. Almost every time I have one of those weeks I'll wake up every night in a frightened panic haunted by the same thought. Sometimes I even say it out loud, "I need some space." I don't mean space from my job or my friends or my art, I mean space from me.

For a long time I hated that I was depressed. I hated the constant anxiety that often manifested itself as an eating disorder or panic attacks. I felt guilty for being sick. I wanted desperately not to need medication or therapy to make myself "normal." I envied people strong enough that they didn't need medicine. But, there's nothing wrong with needing medication. One wouldn't feel guilty for needing medication or a heart transplant if they have a heart condition. Mental health problems don't make me or anyone else weaker.

So that question... "if he couldn't beat depression, how can I?" doesn't have an easy answer, but fortunately my friend Andy reminded me that I'm not the only one asking myself that right now. That in itself is comforting. A big part of depression and anxiety is feeling isolated and disconnected from others, and it makes me feel better that I might not be the only one asking myself that question.

I don't have an answer to that question. I do know that I can't give up on seeking mental health. I owe it to my friends and family who love me to always keep trying. I owe it to the future people I can help only if I keep my anxiety in check. I owe it to anyone I can make laugh. I owe it to myself, because I do love the person I am. When I ask myself "if he couldn't do it, how can I?" the answer is, "I don't know, but I'm gonna try."


Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.