Depression was incredibly deceptive. It didn’t visit me everyday. Some days I was completely fine. And it was those few days out of the week that allowed me to hold on to the notion that I was OK…even though I wasn’t.
Depression was illogical — because it caused me to think destructive thoughts. When my severe depression lead me to consider taking my own life, I was not thinking clearly. I was not thinking about what I have to offer. I was not thinking about what I meant to other people. I was only thinking about the negative things. I was only thinking about how my depression was affecting those around me. I was only thinking about how better off they would be if I weren’t there. Although that may sound asinine to others, it made complete sense when I was wedged deep inside the destructive mind of a broken person. And on this particular evening, when I was feeling completely unhinged, I thought about how much relief could be had, for both myself and my son, if I just stopped it all.
My son was sitting in the living room watching TV and playing computer games, when I sat down next to him and hugged him and kissed him. I got a piece of paper and wrote down “911” and had a discussion with him about knowing how and when to use that number. I gave him one more kiss and then I went into the bathroom and cried hysterically. I mentally argued with myself for a long time. Although the only audible sound that was coming from my body was sobbing, internally I was screaming at myself:
WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! YOUR SON IS IN THERE! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?! JUST SHUT UP AND END IT! YOU CAN’T BE LIKE THIS! YOU’RE HURTING!
Curled up in the fetal position on the floor, I was pounding my head to make the thoughts stop. But when they became too loud to handle, I stood up and scoured the medicine cabinet for pills. As fate would have it, I didn’t have that many pills — at least not enough to take my life with. I felt both relieved and disappointed. Relieved because deep down, I felt as though I wasn’t ready to leave this world. But disappointed because I had worked myself up so much, and also because I was still hurting and I needed something to take the hurt away. So I swallowed the pills that I did have, because then at least it would numb the pain that I was feeling at that moment. I didn’t know by what other means I could find myself capable of taking my own life, so in a moment of desperation I contacted my brother. I don’t remember all that was said, honestly. But I do remember feeling at ease by the end of the conversation. By this point, Aidan had fallen asleep. So I went in my room, got in the bed, and sat there thinking for a long time. I didn’t know what I would have done if I actually did have enough medicine, nor did I know what I would have done if I didn’t contact my brother. But I did know that had I not mustered up the courage to inform my family previously, that I was going through a rough time, I wasn’t sure if I would have contacted my brother at all. That action alone, made it clear to me that I wasn’t ready to leave this world. I reached out, when many other people in my situation don’t. So for the first time in a long time, I went to sleep hopeful.
That very next day I went to my school and made an appointment to go speak with someone. Talking to an objective person was the best thing I could have ever done. I was able to release anything and everything that had accumulated and taken up valuable space in my mind. I didn’t cry, I sobbed. I let everything out and I did so in a way that it no longer had a hold on me. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t scared to express how I was truly feeling. It was invigorating and life-changing. My therapist equipped me with tools and strategies to help me deal with my emotions. So I withdrew from all my classes with no conceptual plan of when I would go back, arguably the best decision I’ve ever made. I knew that some people would be disappointed, but for the first time in my life, I didn’t care. It wasn’t about them. It was about me. I needed to make decisions about my life for me and no one else. Because when I am the best that I can be for me, I am the best for my child and for my loved ones. I needed to take a step back and re-evaluate what it was that I wanted out of life. I needed to be happy. I wanted to be happy. So I made it a duty in my life: to always seek happiness and to go to it when I find it.
That was a year ago, but it feels like a lifetime ago. I have never been in a place as dark as then, and I have no intention of ever going back. I traveled, I worked, I hiked, I meditated, I did yoga, I mended relationships, I searched for myself, and I found her. I came back to school, but I am here for me. I do the things that bring me happiness and I challenge the things that do not. I leave situations when I know that they are not productive to my well-being. Sometimes I have bad days. But when I recognize them, I fight them — but not in the way I did back then. Last year, I fought my negative feelings in a harmful way. I fought their legitimacy. I no longer do that. I acknowledge that my feelings are valid, no matter if they’re good or bad. But if they are bad, I fight their hold on me. I make myself leave the environment in which I am in that may be triggering the not-so-great feelings.
I laugh. I laugh all the time. I find laughter in bleak situations. I write. I let it all go in my journal and then on my blog for the entire world to see, so that I’m no longer hindered by negative feelings. They can only have power over me if I allow them to. But most importantly, I choose to be me each and every day — authentically and unapologetically. I no longer have the desire to please everybody. I am living in my own truth, the most liberating and breathtaking thing I’ve ever done. And I will never do myself the injustice of putting the expectations from others, before my own.