My arms are wrapped around like they will never let go. Breath in. Breath out. You can do this. My brain is in hyper drive with thoughts shooting in every direction. Nothing is settled. At that very moment I felt extremely lost and unsteady. Yet all I could do is remember that where my daughter was, I too once sat. The only difference between her and I is the trigger that set our genetic components off and the fact she is a bit younger than I was when my journey began. Eight years ago I thought that my struggles with depression and post-traumatic stress disorder were no longer. I had learned that my dark friend would always be there, but that it was not in charge in our relationship and I did not fear it. For eight years I lived in peace having learned to love myself as I am and seeing my strengths. Yet three months ago I lay on a bed with my daughter holding her as tight as I could as she struggled with all the emotions running through her. I heard her say words I once did. She verbalized her feelings of hopelessness and how she felt no one would care if she were gone. She had a plan to leave this world and my heart sunk. Her diagnosis is depression/anxiety disorder. Her trigger is bullying. This is becoming a theme among our youth unfortunately, one that needs to change.
I should have known. My dark friend has always been devious. This time I am standing on the other side of the doorway. Often times on my past journey I would hear people say things like, people with mental health issues or those who attempt suicide are selfish. I am not a big fan of that word, especially now that I have lived on both sides of this struggle. Recently my husband had a conversation with my daughter and something he stated really hit home. He told her that her that what helped him when I was in the depths of my depression was that he had seen all sides of me. This helped him to understand that when I had days I was debilitated that it was not I, but it was the depression/PTSD speaking for me. He was the first man whom on the initial date I told my story to and gave him the opportunity to call it quits before it started. The thing is he knew I was not selfish. I was struggling. Simply put I had an illness no different than the chronic hypertension I struggle with now. A trigger set off the genetic component and it took years of therapy, various medicines, and support to help me find my way back. So now I hold my daughter tight. Let selfish be a word of the past and warrior be our future. Those who fight mental illness are warriors battling against chemicals that are twisted and turned the wrong way. Let us continue.