In light of #BellLetsTalk trending on Twitter, I’ve decided to go back in time to share a post I thought I’d never share again. But, I need to put it back out there. I was recently contacted by someone on Twitter who was seeking help in whether or not they should get help with their depression. It reminded me that we need to talk. You shouldn’t fear seeking help – help that could change your life.
This is my story.
My Fight For Life
If you know me, you know I like to talk. I like to get to know people on a personal level. I’m very approachable, honest and can talk about anything with ease. I’m a freethinker with an opinion on just about everything, but possess the kindness and politeness of trying to understand things from another person’s perspective. It’s one of my more prominent characteristics, and something I pride myself on as I have not found many who share these traits.
However, there are some things I haven’t discussed out of fear. Things very little people know about me.
My life was not what I wanted it to be for a very long time. I bottled my emotions and by doing so I drove myself in direction that nearly claimed my life.
What I’m about to reveal is something very personal that I have kept between myself and very few people for a very long time. A conversation with my boyfriend followed by a friends’ recent blog post by got me thinking about my life and the struggles I’ve endured, but have not discussed openly.
I’ve battled depression most of my life. It began around age twelve and lasted until age twenty-four. I was in programs in school that allowed me to see a counselor several times a week. I fought to be socially accepted by everyone, but I was not the person most people thought I was.
I was addicted to pills for four years and a self-harmer for nine. After I swore pills off, I tried to kill myself.
I didn’t know how to talk. By the time I had gone off the edge, I was no longer seeing a counselor and I had no family around me. I bottled up every emotion. I hid from the world. When the ticking bomb inside me would go off, I would mutilate my own body. I have scars on my arms, neck, legs, stomach, and hands that will never go away. It was easy to hide it because cutting eventually became a “thing” and people assumed I was just one of those weird emo kids. As much as I hated being thrown into that sick and twisted trend, I knew I’d rather have people think that than know what was really going on at the time.
I fear the day my daughter realizes what’s on my arm and ask me what happened. How does someone explain to their child that they hurt themselves because they didn’t know how to deal with their own life? How do you explain that it was the only thing that could make you feel better for so long?
I stopped taking pills to try and better myself. That was the first big decision I ever made on my own. However, I shouldn’t have been on my own when I made it. One night at a party I locked myself in an upstairs bedroom with a kitchen knife and bottle of Goldschlager. I was found barely conscious at 2am. They argued over whether or not to take me to a hospital because they were afraid they’d get busted for underage drinking and drug possession, so my boyfriend at the time took me back to his place where I stayed in bed for a week.
That was the worst night of my life. I’m sharing this with you because I made a promise to myself long ago to be more open and not dwell on the past so much. I’m sharing this with you because it shouldn’t be uncommon to confront our struggles openly.
The best thing I ever did for me was get myself out of that lifestyle. Sure I made unwise decisions during my healing process, but I also made good decisions that helped me along the way.
I’ve been doing a lot better. For a while I wouldn’t even take Tylenol. Now I’m happy to say I have that part of me under control and it is truly something to be proud of myself for.
I haven’t been chronically depressed in about a year. I’m happier. I haven’t harmed myself in three years, but that hasn’t gone without struggle. Self-harm is something know I will spend the rest of my life fighting, and fighting is exactly what I intend to do.
Thanks for reading.
“We need never be ashamed of our tears.”
I was wrong to think it was over. I was wrong to think I had moved on without any help at all. This past summer, I fell. I fell hard. It hit me out of no where and stayed with me to the point where I was forced to get help. Three years of no self-harm flew out the window. I had a complete breakdown and I fell apart. That’s what happens when you ignore what is really going on.
I lost my grandmother to depression. She killed herself to get away from it, leaving her children abandoned and erasing the future bond between grandmother and grandchild. I, like my grandmother, face the same demons. But, unlike my grandmother, I had some strength left in me to fight those demons back.
I will spend the rest of my life fighting for my life. I know this now more than ever. I found the strength to get help; to talk about it… because no one should ever be ashamed or be made ashamed to talk about how they feel. If you suffer from chronic depression or have thoughts of suicide, it’s not something that is going to go away overnight. You need help. Don’t do what I did and let yourself think it’s over – it’s not. It never is, but just because it’s something you’ll spend your life fighting doesn’t mean that life isn’t worth living. There are so many things worth living for, and so many different things to help you in your battle with mental illness. Believe me. There are people out there who care. People who want you to talk. So please, talk.
If you ever want to talk openly about your struggles, want more information on how I’m managing, or just need a shoulder to cry on – please email me. firstname.lastname@example.org
Love and LIFE,