Thursday, September 10, 2015
This is always a weird day for me.. As important as I believe this day is to raise awareness and start conversations, I tend to try avoid talking about it too much. It's difficult to acknowledge the past and sort through those emotions. It's painful! And for someone like me who feels like an annoyance and burden more often than not, telling my story can feel awkward - I tell myself that no one honestly cares.. I imagine people rolling their eyes as they scroll through Facebook, or biting their tongue as I pour my heart out to them. So I don't.
Self-hatred is something I still deal with day in and day out. Living with clinical depression and anxiety can be debilitating at times. And although logically I know that talking helps, I clam up. I pull back into my own shell until I'm in this dark and very scary place. A place where I continue to tell myself lies - believing that no one, not even my husband of nearly 6 years, actually loves me. A place where I sit with phone in my hand, debating on whether or not I should call someone.. reach out. A place where I've been alone in my house for a week and have no desire to leave any time soon.. Although serious thoughts of suicide have become fewer and further between - I would be lying if I said this is something I have truly overcome.
Depression is not something that affects only moody and hormonal teenagers. It has been 11 years since my diagnosis. [Trigger Warning::] I vividly remember being 12 years old, sitting in my bedroom with a bottle of stolen prescription pills ready to end my entire life. 12 YEARS OLD!! I was a child. After I didn't die (I didn't know what I was taking, thank God. But I did end up very sick) and I told my parents what I had done, I remember someone telling my parents that this is something teenagers do. A psychiatrist I had seen told my mom I could be put on Prozac for a few years and that would fix things until I was "over it." Luckily my mom had enough sense to yank me from his care and have me seen by someone else. Now 11 years later, as a married woman, I'm still not over it. It sickens me that SOME people have this mentality that this is something that only threatens our youth..
In the last 12 months, my husband and I have lost 2 people very close to us to suicide. Of course I won't go into much detail, but I can tell you that neither of them were teenage girls. They were 2 very different people with very different lives, yet they both felt there was no other way. They felt there was no hope. They felt they had no choice. Their own demons had fed them lie after lie and led them to believe their life was not worth living... that they didn't matter enough. And by the mourning that followed their deaths.. I can tell you that was not true. EVERY life matters... Right now our world is consumed by this race war. Everywhere you look you see- Black Lives Matter. White Lives Matter.
WHATEVER! ALL LIVES MATTER!
How is this a difficult concept to understand? This year we lost 2 great lives. 2 lives that affected us in such a way, that with their death, a piece of us was taken. We were shaken. And it's changed the way we live our daily life. I wish that those 2 incredible people knew how much they mattered.. how the life they lived still matters to this day.
Now I won't say suicide is selfish. I won't talk about the pain it leaves behind for everyone else. Because the times that suicide became a real option for me..When I thought it was my ONLY option... I didn't care enough about other people to stop. I didn't care about myself. I didn't care about anything. And when I DID care about other people... I hated myself so much that I turned to self-harm. Of course I don't believe that suicide is ever the answer... but shaming people will not keep them here.
So what CAN you do? You can be there for people. Be kind! Be a loving and caring human being to everyone you meet. Sometimes we don't know that people are struggling, we don't know the battle they're fighting. Think of Robin Williams .. his death took the world by surprise. One of the funniest men to have lived, yet his own world was so dark and sad.. So show love to everyone. I have become pretty good at faking a smile the last 11 years of my life. Some people are shocked when they hear about the extent of my depression and anxiety. However, there are people in my life who DO know... and for the most part, these people have been my solid ground in this world. I have amazing friends who look for signs of me pulling away back into my own shell. When they notice these things, they offer support. They check up on me. And because of their encouragement, I get help. For me, help comes in the form of prayer, meditation, vitamins and supplements, exercise, sunshine, and quality time with people. If this is something your friend needs, please be there for them.. Don't make them feel like they are burdening you, because soon they will stop asking for your help.
It has taken my YEARS to come to the understanding that my life DOES in fact matter. Years to even accept that if I were to leave this earth that my husband would even miss me. THAT is the kind of craziness my depression hisses to me. If you have never experienced it, you might not quite get it, but my hope is that you'll make an effort to gain some understanding for your friends sake.. your mom's sake.. a sister.. brother.. grandparent.. uncle.. Depression and suicide does not discriminate based on age, gender, sexual orientation, or economic standing.
And if you are the one feeling alone.. please hear me. You life matters. You would be missed. And life is so worth living... I KNOW that it doesn't feel like it now. I know that you can't imagine any alternate universe where things will ever feel okay.. but I promise it does get better. That phrase has become so cliche, but that's because it's true. If I had ended my life at 12 years old, I wouldn't have made some of the best friends in the world, wouldn't have married my soulmate, wouldn't have found God and become a Christian... I wouldn't have traveled from coast to coast singing Taylor Swift songs with my husband. I wouldn't have learned to cook. I wouldn't have a chance to still learn to bake. lol I wouldn't have learned more about the military or helped other spouses get a handle on this crazy life. I wouldn't have seen my nephews grow up, even from afar. I wouldn't have become so close with my sister. I wouldn't have a chance to become a mom someday.. I wouldn't have known what it means to live. Please believe me that your life matters, because I know now that my life does too..
If you are feeling like suicide is the only option, or if you're concerned for someone you know.. please call the National Suicide Lifeline. 1 (800) 273-8255
Posted by Caitlin Quinn at 4:24 PM