2:52 in the morning.I woke from a sound sleep. Laying here, I felt the tears hit my pillow before I realize that I am crying. I am in darkness, once again. I pray to God,"Please, not again." The too familiar voice of hopelessness eases itself into my cognitive being and the battle with my depression begins. "Stop fighting me, just give in; it will be better for everyone." My fight to stay alive has started.
It is the seduction and power of depression that is the worst. When I read and hear about suicide, I understand. I am a suicide survivor. Some will tell you those who commit suicide are cowards; they were weak; they are sinners destined for hell. It's all easy to say when you have not experienced the horror of the darkness yourself. Coward? Weak? I am neither of those.
I am a Suicide Survivor
We don’t hear about suicide unless it happens to celebrities — Robin Williams was a shock. How could an amazing man like that be in enough pain to take his life? I understand. We often project an image on the outside while we cry on the inside. We don't hear about everyday folk that mental illness claims. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention states, an average of 117 people die a day by suicide. That's almost five an hour, so while I have been writing and you have been reading, someone has taken their life. Having been the one who counted out her pills into neat rows, with a shot of Patron at the end of each, I took them with the hope of never waking - I did it because I could no longer take the days of darkness. I could no longer stand being alone. I couldn't bare the look of pain in the eyes of those I love or the avoidance of those I love.
What I Have Lost is Devastating
My children who can’t cope daily with a mother with mental illness. As my son put it, “I can’t handle waiting every day for the call that says, this time she was successful, she’s gone.” The family who just don’t want to deal with “my issues” and respond by alienating me. Fear of an intimate relationship because depression is a burden I feel guilty to share. Friends who “disappear” during my dark times. The loss of a well-paid, successful, career. The distant, doubtful, dreams of process development, public speaking, and being a published author that still fill my head. The financial confines of a monthly disability and pension income.
I am the face of mental illness people don’t want to acknowledge. I am the subtle eradication of a promising, thriving woman to one who is simply grateful for the basic things in life. In that is the blessing that keeps me alive. It is the strength I will use in tonight's battle with depression.
A Warrior in the Fight Against Depression
When I say I am a grateful survivor — it is sincere. I am thankful for each day I have the courage to get out of bed and face the world. In honesty, I would rather stay safe in the cocoon of my home where I am most content. Grateful that I have survived multiple attempts to end my life, too many medications to remember, shock treatments, countless hospital stays, hours of doctor appointments, therapy, classes, and programs. I cannot comprehend the time of my life that I have been a warrior in the fight against depression.
Grateful, I am a survivor, to be sitting here at 3 in the morning typing this.
With the acceptance of my mental illness and its limitations comes accountability. I do everything within my means to challenge this deceitful, vicious, life-threatening illness. I use the lessons I have gathered over the years. I remind myself of those that have ended their lives too soon. I gather around my pictures of those I love. I write down my reasons to be here tomorrow. I fight the voice of depression -- yes, there are those who love me and would miss me. The reality of depression and suicide is -- to always have a plan in place -- I have a group of friends that I can do check-ins with if I am not doing well. I always keep my medication in a high out of the way spot that requires effort to get to them. If I am feeling tempted, I will remove them from my house. At any time I am not feeling I can keep myself safe, I admit myself to the hospital. I simply will not play with my life.
If you are feeling hopeless and are having any thoughts of hurting yourself, click this link http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1.800.273.8255. Don’t make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion.
affectionately yours, Laura