“If you’ve never felt weak, you’ve never been given the chance to see how strong you actually are.”
I’m going to be completely honest here, I’ve been crying a lot lately. I’m finally at the age where I am okay with that. I used to think that letting myself cry made me weak, but I was wrong.
Tears are the way your body speaks when you can’t seem to get the words out.
With the holidays coming up and the weather changing, I want to talk about where I was this time last year. This is a blog post that I haven’t particularly wanted to write because it’s extremely difficult for me to be this vulnerable, but I’m ready to share my reality in hopes that someone reading this has been where I was and doesn’t feel so alone.
My depression was at its peak. I was losing the battle, convinced that there was nothing better for me. I was struggling with my home life, academic life, and social life. My mom had a stroke in March which landed her in the ICU where doctors discovered she has lupus. My heart fell out of my chest thinking about what all of this meant. My parent’s split up in May and I began to question everything I knew about what loving someone meant. After their divorce was finalized, I lost hope. I refused to talk to my friends about what was going on. I wasn’t speaking to my dad. My mom and brothers were the only people keeping me somewhat together but I was scared to talk to them about how I was feeling. I think for a long time I didn’t tell anyone what I was going through internally because I was ashamed of myself. I didn’t want to get out of bed. There is a cloud of shame that follows you around when you have depression. It’s the thought of not wanting to burden anyone with your problems. The truth is, mental illness will never be a burden to talk about with someone who truly cares for you. They will love you unconditionally and assist you into getting back on the right path, however, that doesn’t change how the feeling effects. For me, it wasn’t just about the shame. I was scared that people would look at me differently after knowing that I was suicidal. I would say I’ve done an excellent job at hiding my problems from the media. No one knew I was depressed. You could scroll through my Instagram and only see a girl who likes to talk about fashion and fun things. Little did anyone know, I had hit rock bottom. I left for Colorado with my aunt so that I could get away from the chaos and the noise that was overwhelming my world. I didn’t have my phone. I spent the week sitting on the porch writing about my heartbreak. I wrote about my childhood, things I’ve never told anyone. I wrote about feeling abandoned. I wrote about every single thing that popped into my head. After each page was done, I would go back and re-read it. After going through those pages for seven days, I decided that I wanted to get better. My mind was just playing tricks. Thankfully, I have a wonderful support system in my house and I asked for the help I knew I needed. Otherwise, the odds of me being here today, writing this post, would be slim to none. After a week of conversing with my therapist and my mother, we decided to pursue out-patient program as opposed to going to a facility for thirty days. This consisted of talk therapy once a week and dialectical behavior therapy twice a week for eleven months.
“Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy tries to identify and change negative thinking patterns and pushes for positive behavioral changes. DBT may be used to treat suicidal and other self-destructive behaviors.”
In the last year, I’ve experienced a lot of trauma. Honestly, the last month of my life has been harder than all of 2018 put together. I’ve watched the people I love go through unspeakable things. My life feels like constant chaos. I learned how to cope with everything from nightmares to panic attacks to emotion regulation in DBT. It completely changed the way I approach daily situations.
I went from not being able to leave my house for days at a time to now walking out the front door with ease. There are times when I think back and wonder why suicide ever even crossed my mind. Now, that’s never even a thought no matter how hard things are. That’s the tricky thing about depression. It doesn't matter what you’re going through, you think that you’re never going to get through it. It’s been a year and here I am telling this story, something I never would have been able to do had I taken my life. I got through it.
I never thought that I would get to this point in my life. My situation hasn’t changed but my outlook has. My situation, hasn’t changed in a year. My parent’s are still divorced. My mother is still ill. I still have depression. And yet, I have skills to cope. I refuse to let myself focus on the negatives. When my depression comes knocking at my door, I shut it. I do everything earthly possible to push it away. It doesn’t mean that I don’t still struggle with depression and anxiety on a daily basis. I do. But I decided to pull myself out of the pit of despair and instead walk on the path of light. My dream in life has always been to help people. So I focus my energy on writing every single thing down in hopes one day it inspires me to write something that helps someone going through the same things I have been through.
Moral of the story
As someone very awesome once said to me, “Shit happens and then you die.” Suicide is never the answer and I am so grateful to be here today. So if you’re reading this and you’re thinking the same thoughts I used to think, know that things really do get better. Ask for help. Do things that make you happy. Love well. There are a million different solutions that are substantially better than suicide.