I know there’s going to be a lot of exposure on depression over the next few weeks after such a public and unexpected suicide. I just wanted to have a chance to tell my story.
Most of what I post on this blog is about my battle with depression and anxiety. I suffer from chronic pain, and I can’t lie and tell you it’s easy. I can’t tell you that I don’t have fleeting thoughts of crashing my car because a stay in the hospital would be a welcome break. I can’t tell you that I don’t just about cry with the mere thought of having to get out of bed some mornings. I cry in the shower. I pray a lot. I try not to cry in the car anymore. And unfortunately, this is much better.
I spent years in abusive relationships, being abandoned by alcoholics, becoming an alcoholic. I was on cocaine, I slept with people I worked with, I did whatever I could to escape myself. I stayed high for just about my entire time in high school. I didn’t like being me. I didn’t like who I was. I was vulnerable and I was tired of people hurting me. I was tired of taking care of everyone else and feeling like no one gave a rip about me. I didn’t want to be around people because they just made me feel worse. They didn’t want to listen to my problems, but they sure wanted to tell me all about thiers.
And I did this. I lived in this pit for most of my life. I look back now and I realize I was depressed when I was about 8 and I just stayed there. I tried to hang myself with a belt from my bunk bed when I was 8. I would think about running away. I would think a lot about how to kill myself.
I began drinking when I was 12, and that was also when I started using relationships as a “high”. I would have a new boyfriend every few months. I was always flirting with guys. If they didn’t seem attracted to me, I was viscous and mean to them. I got in fights, I stayed drunk or high, I didn’t care if I lived.
Depression is a heavy weight. It will drag around with you and not even the best friend or most wonderful relationship in the world can get rid of it. It will stay with you until you get professional help.
2 years ago, I couldn’t do it anymore. I didn’t want to get out of bed, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t stay awake, and I felt like I was just completely losing my mind. I thought a LOT about hurting myself and I didn’t know how I could go on. I couldn’t live like that anymore, something had to change. I was insanely desperate. I can’t tell you how distraught I was. I was just a total mess. I hated myself, I had put on weight, no one could talk to me. I was a twist of anger, sadness and just thorns of self preservation. I wasn’t ready for medication, but I was ready for therapy. I found someone close to my work, so I wouldn’t have an excuse (I could go on the way home). It was a slow process, it took weeks to see any difference, and it took months before anyone else could really say “you seem like you’re doing better”.
I worked hard in there. I would scream, yell, cry, disassociate, analyze myself with a fine tooth comb, and I took everything my therapist said to heart. I really liked her, she made sure I had a safe place to become whole again. It took a year of going every week before I really felt “together”. A solid year of transformation.
Depression is a serious disorder. I never wanted to tell anyone about going to therapy because I didn’t want them to think I was crazy, or say the irritating and completely ignorant “what do you have to be depressed about”. I can’t tell you how much it pisses me off when people say that.
I don’t go to therapy anymore, but I’ve learned a lot about depression and how to deal with it. I have learned it’s a lifelong thing, just like addiction. You have to be very self aware, use the tools you were given in therapy and work at it. For the rest of your life. I find ways to deal with it, and I don’t give in to the things I want to do when it comes over me. I don’t isolate myself, I don’t shut down and I don’t keep it all inside. That just helps it all stew and become darker and heavier.
Just like any serious illness, it takes real professional help to fight this. And don’t think for a minute that this isn’t a fight. Every morning, I get up, I realize that if I’m still alive, God has a purpose for me, and I put on my gloves and do battle. Some days I’m victorious, and I can’t tell you the glory of the satisfaction of a fulfulling day. The feeling all is right with the world when you lay down to go to sleep at night. And if I get my butt kicked that day, I’m gentle with myself, I do something nice for myself, and pray for the strength to do it all again tomorrow.
But now that I know how to fight, I’m having a lot more victories. In that, there is hope.