September is National Suicide Prevention Month. September 10th was World Suicide Prevention Day and the beginning of Suicide Prevention Week. I had intentions of having this post up before the 10th…but life just gets in the way sometimes. As someone that battles depression and anxiety, this topic weighs very heavy on my heart. The main message from TWLOHA this year is “STAY.” I think it is SO IMPORTANT to be open and real about our struggles. We should never feel like we have to hide. Our journeys are important—the good AND the bad. I’ve been there. I’ve had many moments where it didn’t seem like it was worth it to get out of bed, or put any effort towards life anymore. I’ve felt hopeless. I’ve felt like I didn’t matter and like no one cared. But I was wrong with those thoughts…so wrong. People care. When you think “no one will miss me if I’m gone”…..you’re wrong. It’s always worth it to stay. Give life another chance, because you are worth it. You were made for life. While we may never understand the “why” behind our struggle, I can tell you that it is important to share your story. My heart aches for those that battle suicidal thoughts. While I have never had a serious plan to end my life, those thoughts of “I don’t even want to live anymore” or “Is it really worth it?” have crossed my mind so many times. It breaks my heart and scares me. Even in the midst of depression, I know my worth…but I know there are so many others out there battling the same thoughts I do, but don’t know how much they are worth it. YOU ARE WORTH IT. ALWAYS. We should not be silent. I will not be silent. Whether or not you fight the battle in your own body, it’s important to be aware. Understand the symptoms…you may spot them in your best friend before she spots them in herself (still thankful for the close friends that called me out on my crap when I was denying that the depression was a problem.) There’s someone out there that always needs the reminder that they are loved and worthy of continuing on in this life. Let’s fight this battle together. We are never alone. I’m staying. Are you?
Today, I want to share my personal struggle with you. While I haven’t been silent about my struggle, I’ve never shared it this way, so it’s a little nervewracking. My depression and anxiety seriously began to rear its ugly head early in 2016, but looking back on everything, I can honestly say I had struggled with it before then. I didn’t seek a doctor for help until early in 2017. I was on a break from school during this time and was working 1pm-9pm. Most days, I didn’t get out of bed until 12:30. On a few of those days, it was 12:50 and I walked into work late with the “I don’t have my life together and I just don’t care today” attitude. Showering was overwhelming to me because it seemed like so much work to get into the shower, stand under the water, and clean myself…so I pushed showering until the last possible moment. If I did get up at a decent time during the morning, I would end up napping at least once. Life was overwhelming. Hanging with a friend for a few hours would wear me out. I would wake up 5-6 times a night and no matter how much I slept, I never felt rested. While I lost a ton of weight, I had pretty healthy/regular eating habits and often ate small portions. But during extra rough times, I would binge eat alone or just forget to eat altogether for a day or so. If you knew me during this time and you’re now thinking “what? I had no idea!”….many people didn’t. I hid it really well. Very few people knew how difficult it was becoming for me.
By the time I decided to become a real adult and establish care with a primary care doc, I was at the end of my rope. I had never needed to take medicine regularly in my life, but I was perfectly fine admitting that I needed other help and asked for medication. So, I was prescribed an antidepressant. A little over a month later, my doctor prescribed me an as needed anxiety med. I’m on my 4th antidepressant since February—3 medicines, 4 different dosages. It’s been a rollercoaster—from one pill going from working to not working, and another causing tactile hallucinations. And we can’t forget about that dang anxiety. Both can sometimes put me in physical pain. One minute I’ll feel awesome, and the next minute my stomach will be turned upside down and my right shoulder will hurt so bad it’s about a 7 on a 1-10 scale because my anxiety has spiked. Or my body will hurt from sleeping so much because that’s all I have the energy to do. Or I’ll become so nauseated I have to force myself to eat because I know I’m hungry but everything makes me want to vomit.
I’m feeling great on the medicine I’m on right now. My only side effect is some whacked out dreams that sometimes turn into nightmares, but I’m pretty content on it right now so I don’t foresee any changes. While I know I need to be more serious about seeking counseling, I’m honestly doing well right now. I still have days where I sleep in, or take a nap during the day. I almost want to throw a party when I realize I’ve made it through the day without a nap. I refuse to let those low moments get me down. I’m determined to be a decent, functioning member of society-so I often push through tiredness and the desire to just be alone so I can socialize. Even on the days that I’m feeling wonderful and am having a great time socially, it often wears me out and if anything begins to make me a little anxious…that wonderful feeling begins to fade. I can feel it on the inside—it’s almost like I’m slipping down into a hole.
For the most part, I still hide pretty well how I’m feeling. While I want to share my story, it’s not something I need to wear on my sleeve daily. There’s a time and a place to share. That time and place is here and now. This probably isn’t the last time you’ll see me speak on this subject. This is my journey. I’m continuing my story. I am pushing on because I know I am worth it. I love that I get to share my story with you. I’m so glad you are here on this Earth to do life with me.
Now, go out and love the world well. Let’s kick some depression and anxiety butt.
See you there.