It’s been a long time since I’ve had the ability, time, energy to put something together. It’s a struggle that I, well I struggle with. And as such, this is one of those moments where things kinda get a little more “real”. One of those moments that I open the curtain a little, and reveal something a bit more on the personal side about myself.
This is something that I knew that I was eventually going to touch on, to write about, to share at some point. Because there is a part of me that wants to believe that candid honesty can be cathartic in these instances.
The real truth is that I have struggled immensely with major depression for as long as I can remember. I remember being in the fourth grade, and wanting to die. I tried to take my life in the seventh grade, and then again in the tenth grade. And when I became a full-fledged adult, none of those feelings or urges ceased or abated. It is something that at this point, I just accept as a part of who I am as a person. I have been in and out of therapy since I was a very small child. I have been on nearly every single medication that is supposed to help with depression/anxiety/bipolar disorder.
This has been my life. And this is still my life. If I am honest, it’s something that will in all likelihood always be a part of my life.
About 18 months ago, I had a serious suicide attempt. It was the result of untreated severe PTSD that had manifested itself outwardly, and had become something that I could no longer deal with on my own. I spent about a week in a mental health treatment facility, and upon my “release” (don’t even bother getting me started), I began a rigorous therapy program that was aimed at helping me cope with my PTSD.
Let’s fast forward to right now.
Change is the antithesis of what is cool and okay with people like me. I crave stability and stasis. I have always been that way. It really pissed my ex-husband when I said it, but I picked him because he was a safe, stable, and secure choice. I need that, and I refuse to apologize for that not so basic need of mine.
Looking back on the last six-plus months of my life, and oh man. The only thing that has stayed the same is where I draw a paycheck from. Seriously. Every single detail of my life is changed. And that has been so incredibly hard to cope with. But I feel like and maintain that I have done an amazing job at it. Especially given my intrinsic needs.
Except for lately. For the last few months or so. Since about a month before my birthday, actually. I started to notice that something was stirring under the surface for me. I stopped sleeping as soundly. I all but stopped eating. And I got to the point where I needed to set reminders on my phone for really easy basic self-care stuff, like showering and laundry. I became completely consumed with this heavy emptiness. It’s like being full of black sand. And my head is under water. And I can’t wake up. That’s literally what comes to mind.
Tonight, I reached out to one of those suicide and depression text help lines. Because there’s this loneliness that I have never been able to completely shake. Sometimes it’s a little more distant than others, but lately it has been pervasive and consuming. I couldn’t stop crying. I couldn’t rid myself of this very very very specific suicidal thought that’s become more and more prevalent in the forefront of my mind. And I had heard about this help line on NPR a couple of weeks ago.
I recognized that just like anything that anyone deals with, I’m really and truly powerless to handle this on my own. I recognize that I need serious, real, and professional help in treating my depression. Not like I didn’t realize that ten, fifteen, hell twenty years ago. I’ve always known that this is something that I am simply not equipped to deal with. And part of my starting this blog was trying to deal with it; trying to find some kind of outlet outside of my head.
I cannot and will not speak for anyone about those help lines. I know for a fact that they serve a wonderful purpose, and help hundreds (if not thousands) of people who face the same kind of pain that I do. But after chatting with a stranger named “Kelly” for a couple of hours, I recognize that there is nothing that I am going to gain from staring at a screen waiting for some stranger to read a response from his or her script.
But that’s not the point here.
It really amazes me how large of a stigma exists concerning mental health in today’s first world American society. It boggles the mind that I can type all of this, but I cannot tap my friend, my roommate, my coworker, name a person, on the shoulder and say that I’m hurting and scared and I need help. In today’s candid social society, that kind of honesty is shunned and avoided.
But why? Why do we feel this compunction to avoid this very real part of the human experience? And it’s not just depression! It’s generalized anxiety disorder, ADHD, schizophrenia, BPD, and so many other mental health issues. It figuratively kills me that there is more support for someone saying that they’ve got an addiction issue than there is for someone admitting that they’re suffering mentally and/or emotionally.
One of my coworkers said that she didn’t come out with everyone on Tuesdays because she’s more or less depressed. Hearing the context and verbiage used for that conversation made my stomach turn. Because depression isn’t some cute excuse you can use when you don’t want to ~hang out~. Depression is setting a reminder to shower every couple of days and just standing there a touch away from the water. It’s forgetting to eat for a day or two because you have no appetite. It’s doing literally the absolute bare minimum to get through each day, and then being exhausted because you’ve expended every bit of energy and now can’t will yourself to take care of yourself. It’s all of that and so much more.
For me, at least.
And worst of all, it’s waking up everyday and trying to find a new reason to keep going, because not quite in the back of your head, you’ve got some dark ideas on how to fix everything.
Enough of the sad, dark stuff. How do you pull yourself out of this? Is there even a real solution to all of this? Or do you have to rely on medication and therapy until the very end?
These are questions I ask myself around 4:30-5p every single goddamned day. How do you pull yourself out of that very deep and very dark hole. What exactly does it take to be happy and whole and filled with hope for the future.
I’m not stating those as questions. I’m stating those as statements, because I don’t want or need a verbal answer. I am actively searching for a more tangible answer that can be seen and felt rather than just heard. Even though this is the lowest I’ve felt in memory, I choose to believe that I’m not done fighting the good fight. Even if it means a long and painful fight.
**If you or someone you know is thinking of hurting yourself/them-self, there are so so so many resources out there. You can call the suicide prevention hotline 1-800-273-8255, or you can text the Crisis Help Line at 741741. There are options out there. Use them, because you matter, even if you can’t see it, you are the light at the end of the tunnel for someone out there.**