On September 25, 2012 I tried to end my life with a bunch of pills and a bottle of Jack Daniels. Most people don’t know that. Most people don’t know that I have been struggling with mental illness since my late 20’s. People don’t know this because I made my family promise not to tell anyone how damaged and weak I thought I was. It has only been recently that my extended family was told the horror that has been my life off and on for the last 8 years.
I was ashamed and embarrassed that I couldn’t control my own thoughts. A person should be able to do at least that, right? What did I have to be so sad about? I had a blessed life. Went to a good college, had a great job, great friends, I was healthy, I traveled, and I had started graduate school.
When you finally admit that this is not normal and that you cannot control the depression, you try everything to get your brain and your life back to how it was when you were on top of the world. All the doctors, medications, treatments, therapy, yoga, meditation, acupressure didn’t work. Do you know how expensive it is to be crazy? I lost my job, my boyfriend, friends, my mind and my 24 inch waist.
The darkness is not quiet. Sometimes it speaks loudly to me. The darkness pierces through my logical, rational and reasonable mind. It shouts, “You will never find a husband nor ever be a good mother. You tricked everyone at school into thinking you were smart and talked your way into that 6 figure job. Soon they will all find out the truth. You are a burden and draining all the goodness and love out of the people who care about you. You are not fun anymore because you are so sad. You are not helping anyone nor contributing anything good. You are just a load of stress and drama for anyone who knows you.” The darkness clings to me like wet clothes. I yell back, “But I love things! I love game night and I love food and my friends and family. I don’t want to leave.” The darkness roars back. “You should just end it.” I cannot breathe because the darkness is squeezing my body and taking up all the good air. I try to bark back, “Shut up…” but it comes out feebly because of all the tears. The darkness is not just hopelessness and desperation. It is overwhelming despair and all consuming misery screaming its penetrating lies.
Knowing that those thoughts aren’t healthy or normal, and not being able to control the rapid and persistent onslaught of negativity and anguish in my own mind. Who thinks like this? I was a pharmaceutical rep in the psychiatry division. I know how the meds works and what chemical changes are happening in my brain. I have literally tried to will my neurotransmitters to behave.
By God’s grace, I am still alive. It’s been almost 2 years since that devastating and yet redeeming day. I have found not only eternal salvation in God, but an earthly salvation in Him daily.
I am feeling better than I have in years. I have a great doctor who has finally found a combination of medications that help keep the depression at bay. My family is amazing; infinitely loving and incredibly supportive. (If you know them- give them a hug, because they have been through a lot too.) I have friends whose love for me convinces me there is a God. Where else could such love come from?
I am not an eloquent writer nor do I have a unique story. I write this in part, selfishly. I don’t want to have to explain why I am not working or why I had to drop out of grad school. But I also write this to try to explain how depression feels and how it destroys. And to give hope that it isn’t always a death sentence.
Things people said that helped me:
“Can I come over and vacuum your house?”
“Can I go pick up some groceries for you?”
“God loves you.”
“I love you.”