Adam Schwartz has spent more than a third of his life battling depression. At the age of 10, he began periods of school refusal, bouts of destruction, physical illness, endless trials with unsuccessful drug regimes and contemplation of suicide.
His newly published book mum, i wish i was dead tells the story of his journey through this illness. An excerpt is included below this email from Adam to his mother Anne when he was aged 15.
Date: 2 May 2006 (aged 15 years)
To: Anne (mum)
If you where wondering this is how I feel (sorry about the spelling) …
I hate my life right now, like I cant stand how it is. Tonight I wanted to throw my self down the stairs just to avoid another day. My life repeats it self over and over I hate it. I don’t want to go on. And if I do I am extremely worried that dangerous things will happen to myself or others.
I will one day go to far and hurt myself terribly and if its not me it will be someone else. If they piss me off that much I will hurt them too much. I don’t enjoy any day no matter what I do and now there is school I don’t wake up and feel happy, I wake up and wish I never did. Friends I thought I had I don’t. And impressions I got from people.
I was wrong I am continuously being hurt by people over and over it doesn’t stop. I feel like shit I just want to leave everything. I don’t care if I die or I leave or everything just stops. I just cant do this any more, its been like this for six years and it shits me that nothing has changed even though I have and I hate it. I cry my self to sleep and everything for me is an effort. I get so frustrated doing things because I am always having to work for myself I cant just ever be happy. I have to work for it and no matter how hard I work or how hard I try I am still in the same position as before and every time I think its all going to be ok it isn’t and everything fucks up again.
I am so unhappy, I cant sleep because I roll around and yes I even tried reading but no it still did not work. I am so sick of how everything is in a cycle and a bad cycle nothing can be good for me. I want to wake up happy. I want to smile because I feel like smiling not because I feel I have to. I want to just enjoy my life and who I am and what I am doing and who I am with. I don’t and I haven’t.
I put on this fake smile and laugh and yes everything is good, I cant take it. I don’t want to take it anymore I cry all I do is cry, I have nothing else. Exercise only subsides the problems but they are all still there. I still cry after gym, and when I am with someone I have to hold it back. I feel like crying because I feel my life is so hard and yes I am sure people go through it but know one does at my age.
Since I was ten it has been bad and continues to get worse. I just want to fit in, I want to be happy instead of sad. I want to wake up and not feel worried about what will happen during that day and be able to fall asleep at night without tears. I don’t look forward to anything. I have no inspiration, even when we were going to the sea food restaurant I wasn’t even looking forward to it. I couldn’t have even cared less what happened and at art nothing comes.
I cant do anything anymore. Sometimes I just wish I get hit by a car or that a terrorist blows a car up into me or a bus while I am on it or anything, I just hate it all and I have for a long time. I am emotionally drained. I am still here but I feel like I am not here. My body is but my mind is dead. I am not wanting my life. I know it is only going to get worse, it always does I no longer know how I am going to deal with what I can do but the only thing I do know is that I can no longer continue like this.
I decided to write it out because I think this every night and I cant sleep so here it is, its 1:22 am and I probably wont be asleep until 2 or 3 am which sucks because all I want is my sleep and that’s something I cant get at night which leaves me physically exhausted as well as emotionally. So I have no idea of what to do but that is basically how I feel at this very moment and how I have been feeling for a long time and most likely will continue to feel this way for unfortunately a very long time. So now you have it in writing …
My parents were only gone for a few weeks, and since I loved staying with my grandparents who always spoilt me rotten, that was no hardship. My parents came back and the school year started. But almost as soon as the holidays had ended, it became clear that I was descending into another bad space.
Mum knew something wasn’t right, I knew something wasn’t right, but I still had no idea how to express it. I don’t recall being taught this at home, but in society males seem to be taught to suppress their feelings, to toughen up. If you do feel bad, you’re taught to think positively, or forget it because tomorrow is another day. That’s all well and good generally, if you have a bad moment or two. For me, the issue was that the next day was never any better. The next day was the same, if not worse. Consecutive bad days, without a break from these debilitating thoughts and feelings, take a significant toll, both physically and emotionally.
Because my closest family relationship was with my mum, she copped the worst of it. I guess it is a sign of how secure I felt with mum that I could save my worst outbursts for her, although that would have been cold comfort for her to know. I definitely took for granted that my family, and mum in particular, would always be there for me, no matter how poorly I behaved.
Any question directed to me, even an innocuous enquiry about how I was going or what I was doing, would send me right off. It sounds crazy, but I felt judged or ridiculed. Most nights of the week, mum, dad, Nathan and I would sit down for dinner and talk. One night, as we were sitting at the table eating our meal, something was said that annoyed me. It can’t have been so significant because I don’t even remember what the comment was. Whether it was about school, food, girls, my weight or whatever else may have triggered me, I am not entirely sure. Nonetheless, something was said that sent me over the edge. Whatever it was, I lost it. I snapped. Standing up and slamming my fists on the table, I called them fucking idiots and said, ‘I’m done with all your shit; I’m leaving’. I was very angry and I swore as I stormed to my room, wedging something into the door to keep them out.