I think at least in part you understand why you feel the way you do. “It’s like I’d be willing to deal with the physical pain if it meant that I would be freed from all responsibilities for a while AND be cared for by others.”
Being hurt and thus incapable of caring for yourself means that you would have few or no responsibilities. You would no longer have to do things for yourself. People would understand that you were incapacitated and would no longer hold you accountable. In theory, you would be free. I believe these fantasies correlate with your depression. Individuals with depression often feel like they don’t have the physical or mental energy to fulfill their responsibilities. It would be easier not to have responsibilities. Life is difficult; it is even more difficult when living with depression.
Related to this is the idea that being incapacitated might serve to decrease guilt. For instance, if an individual with depression lacks the energy to take their child to soccer practice or go to the grocery store, they might feel guilty. They may feel that depression is not a good enough reason for being “irresponsible” but being incapacitated is. If someone is incapacitated then it’s obvious that they cannot attend to their responsibilities. Thus in your mind becoming incapacitated might serve to eliminate feelings of guilt.
Individuals with depression tend to worry about being able to complete even the simplest tasks of life. For instance, if you don’t have the energy to take a bath or sit down to pay your bills or go to the grocery store then you will be very worried about all of the many other and more complicated things that must be done as a part of life. Fantasizing about being incapacitated may free you psychologically from worrying about overall life responsibilities.
It is important to keep in mind that depression is as real and as incapacitating as a physical injury. In fact, some contend that depression is actually a physical disease of the brain. Some studies of the brain show distinct physical differences between individuals with depression and those without depression.
Wishing for an accident or an injury is not the correct course of action. A physical injury would only ensure further suffering and distress. It is a blessing to be physically healthy. I am reminded of the wise words of Abraham Maslow who stated that he was “convinced that getting used to our blessings is one of the most important nonevil generators of human evil, tragedy, and suffering. What we take for granted we undervalue…”.
My recommendation is to seek treatment for your long-standing depression. Depression is treatable. It may take time but treatment is a worthwhile endeavor. It works for many people and it can work for you too. Here is a link to a directory where you can search for therapists in your community. Please take care. Thanks for writing.