The smallest things can set me off into a “depression cloud” that lasts for days. Once, I dropped an egg roll and didn’t get out of bed for a week. When I was in the 4th grade, I forgot a homework assignment at home and received a 0 – my parents had to pick me up from school because I hyperventilated and was inconsolable. I missed an additional two days of school because the seemingly small event rocked my world and made me sick.
When something big happens, and I’m lucky to say that things of this nature have only happened a select few times in my life, I have to bring out all of the stops to get to the next day, hour, minute. The event doesn’t need to be discussed. Hurt is hurt. Failures are failures. It can happen to anyone.
Through the last few days, I have received call after call, text after text, email after email of friends telling me that they loved me.
“I’m thinking about you.”
“If you need to talk, please don’t hesitate to call me.”
“Have you been drinking water?”
“Please don’t do anything bad.”
“You are worthy and you can get through this.”
“I love you and I need you in my life.”
I’m thankful for the outpouring of love that I have received. It has, quite literally, kept me going for the last week.
It’s hard to describe or talk about the thoughts that make you want to hurt yourself. For the first 48 hours or so, I kept having to audibly talk myself out of the thoughts that bubbled into my head. I had to tell myself that the world was NOT better off without me. That my friends would NOT feel relieved if I weren’t here anymore. I reminded myself that my family would be destroyed if something ever happened to me. Even small things like, “… but who would take care of my chickens?”, have kept me around. I worry that this is a touchy subject to bring up, that it might sound dramatic to talk about, but I’ve always vowed to be honest about my struggles here.
Not wanting to be alive anymore is exhausting. I didn’t want to tell anyone because I didn’t want them to think I was being dramatic. I didn’t want to be alone because I didn’t completely trust myself. I pulled half of my eyelashes out by the root and twisted and tangled my hair, trying not to rip it all out of my head (Trichotillomania – a super cute disorder that I’ve had since childhood.) My anxiety that makes me terrified of dying and my depression that makes me want to be dead were constantly raging against each other in my head. I stayed in bed, I didn’t shower. I threw up when I tried to eat. I watched hours of insipid television. I did my very best to drown out the world around me and to feel nothing.
It was a battle that seemed would never cease. It seems though, that light will always come out of darkness, even if the lights tend to flicker for a while.
I’m doing better. I’m able to eat without throwing up. Correspond to friends without feeling like they are feeding me lies to make me feel better (That’s one of the worst things I have ever encountered, by the way. The feeling that the people that you love more than anything are conspiring against you, wanting you to fail, delighting in your failures.) I’m terrified of brushing my hair for the first time, but with enough conditioner, I suppose anything is possible.
I’m starting to devour the ideas that I poured into PAGES of journals. That’s something that I always find interesting when climbing out of the ditch. When I feel like there is no hope, I somehow end up coming up with hundreds of ideas. Ideas for stories, art projects, writing prompts, community service. I create lists, reformat resumes, start new reading lists, plunk weird melodies out on the piano. Creativity is weird and inspiration comes at me HARD when I feel that I have nothing to live for. Stay tuned, I have started 15 drafts for blog posts.
Maybe we all have some sort of override when it feels like we are self destructing? Maybe not, but I’m thankful that it has worked out for me so far.
I know that this isn’t over. I know that moments of clarity will come and go as I try to overcome this. I know that years from now, this particular event will still send me into a heap of tears. I know that I will beat myself up about this and that I will have to go to battle with those nasty thoughts, but I know that I’m backed up by an army of talented, passionate, forgiving, and hilarious people. I still haven’t figured out why my friends stick around, but they always do and I will ALWAYS be thankful.
I’ve gone back to the whole “being unapologetically myself” concept many times this year and, in a way, I hope that this post can go hand-in-hand with that. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve collapsed onto the floor, I’ve cried messy tears, and I’ve screamed at the sky. I can’t take back anything that happened yesterday, but I can try to set myself up for success tomorrow. Even if “success” tomorrow is only defined by working a comb through my hair.
I love you all. Thank you for reading. I will be okay.