You’re being such a bitch!!! It was that simple phrase that anyone with sisters would say to each other. But to me, it was that statement that broke me down. It was that moment that I fell apart, and admitted to my mom and sister that I needed help. I remember it like it was yesterday, but it feels like a lifetime ago. But it’s only been 20 months since that moment, the moment that changed who I was.
Before I tell you all about my journey, let me give you some history. My father committed suicide 8 years ago. He was suffering from the disease MS. Was he depressed? In my eyes, NO not at all, but that’s one of the many answers my family will never have. When you lose a loved one to suicide it is a different kind of grieving. All rules go out the window. There is no book on how to grieve and how to cope with losing someone that way. I had a million different emotions in my grieving process.
On that day all I felt was shock, it wasn’t till the next day that I finally had a real emotion. ANGER!!! I remember sitting on the couch with my mom and sisters, and screaming how mad I was. I didn’t understand why my dad, decided that he no longer wanted to be our dad. I didn’t think of it in a way that he was sick and suffering, I took it was a personal attack. He left us with all this pain and I didn’t know how to handle it. So I handled it the way, I thought you should. I didn’t cry because I missed my dad, I cried because I had so much hate and anger in me. My family didn’t feel the way I did, and to me they were dealing with it wrong. Those not being angry with him just made me angrier. I let the anger and hate I had for him consume me. I let it take over every memory I ever had of him.
I have come to learn that anger is just depression turn inwards. I do not blame my dad for my depression. I know that I have a mental illness and it’s called depression. I suffered with my depression for a while before I admitted to anyone and to myself that I was depressed. Whenever someone would ask me how I was, I would say, “I’M FINE, I’M JUST TIRED” or “I’M OKAY, JUST LONG DAY AT WORK”. But in reality every day that I lied to myself, I let the darkness get worse. I let it consume who I was.
I think that it hit me that I needed help was when I felt nothing, I felt numb. The only way I can explain it is I wasn’t happy but I wasn’t sad either. I felt like I was living because I had to, not because I wanted too. December 31st 2013, is the day I finally admitted the secret that I was holding in for so long, I was DEPRESSED! Thinking about it now I can’t even tell you why my sister called me bitch, but I’m thankful she did. It’s that comment when I broke down and cried. When I got asked what was wrong, I just cried harder. I remember telling my mom that “I can’t do this anymore”, she explained to me that it wasn’t my fault that I was depressed. And that it was okay. She asked my sister to run upstairs for something, I waited till I thought she couldn’t hear me and I finally said out loud “Mom, I don’t want to live anymore, I want to kill myself.” The look on her face is something that I will never forget, and I hope to never see again.
My sister never made a comment on what I said, she never questioned me or made me feel horrible for putting us through this again. My mom hugged me tighter and told me we were going to get me help. Within seconds she was on the phone making doctor’s appointments for me. Since it was New Year’s Eve we all went over my oldest sister’s house. It was that night that my mom and I told the other two sisters what was going on. My family never made me like I was alone in this horrible battle. I remember lying in bed one night just crying, that you would have thought my world just collapsed, my sister just lay with me and let me cry. She didn’t let go of me until there were no more tears left.
Within the next few days, I was never left alone. It was something that made them feel better and made me know I was safe. I got put on medication and went to see a therapist. Because I was never left alone for months, I became reliant on my family always staying with me. I would get a panic attack if I was left home for more than a half hour. It wasn’t a simple thing to just have someone with me at all times; I need my mom or my sister that was there when everything happened. They were my safety zone. I was put on medication and went to therapy. They are not miracle solutions. I was not cured the next day, or the next month. I had good days and bad days, there were days that I would laugh and feel like myself again. And then there days where I would just lay in bed and cry and sleep.
It took me going to an intense outpatient place for me to really understand things about my mental illness and to understand that I am not the only one going through this, that there is sun at the end of this long journey. But most of all I understood why my dad did, what he did and I no longer hated him. When I cry for him now, it’s because I miss my dad, my dad that I was lucky enough to have for 20 years. I went to the outpatient place for 3 months; it was during that process that I started to feel like myself again. It has been 6 months since I’ve done with my intense therapy.
Am I cured of this disease? No, I don’t think I will never be cured of depression, but I do not let the darkness of depression consume me, I know what my triggers are and I know how to deal with them. I know when I need to ask for help before it’s too late. I will never forget the pain I put my family through, but it was that pain that saved my life. It was them never giving up on me, that made me fight harder. Getting to the place I am now, was a long and extremely difficult journey, but it’s my journey and I can say that I made it through it. And that is something I very proud of!!