This is how it starts, in the spring of 2010 I tried to kill myself. I remember those moments very clearly. It was raining, I was looking outside at the Peavine Mountains. I remember that I felt everything and nothing. I had spent years feeling this way, and it was a place I didn’t want to be at anymore.
I received a text from someone who used to be a friend that said Why don’t you kill yourself, no one would care and it confirmed that I was making the right choice.
I probably downed enough pills to kill a small man, but woke up the next morning.
That’s something people don’t talk about. How you feel after failing at this.
I got up, went to school, and pretended it was any other day.
I remember I was in Spanish class, back row, and the teacher got a phone call from the office. The office said I needed to go to the counselor’s office. Everyone went OOoooooOoooo and I felt like I knew what it was about, but hadn’t thought they could know because I didn’t tell anyone.
When I got to the counselor’s office she informed me someone had told her I had tried to kill myself. I think she asked me about ten times to clarify whether it was a thought, a plan, or an attempt.
Which was really hard for me, but it was an attempt. I felt that everyone was trying to downplay it. She said we needed to call my parents and tell them what happened.
The saddest thing that has ever happened to me was hearing my mom sobbing on the phone. She was so sad and blamed herself. My dad didn’t take it seriously, but that’s the guy he is.
I was rushed to my shrink’s office. I had been seeing her since I was four-years-old.
She decided to immediately put me on antidepressants and we scheduled one meeting a week for three months after that.
For a really long time, I didn’t care about getting better. I still knew killing myself was what I wanted to do.
A few months later, I watched The Lovely Bones with my mother and I just broke down in tears because the little girl in that movie, spoiler, dies, and is so okay with her death. She’s happy in her version of heaven and I realized that I wouldn’t be happy in mine.
So I went back to my therapist and started to fight for my life. My story wasn’t over and I changed.
I used to think my sadness didn’t equal the sum of my trauma. I would add it up in my head and it never made sense.
Here they are: sexually assaulted at a young age with no recollection of what happened, my parents hating each other which eventually lead to divorce, me trying to kill myself, my great-grandfather dying, one of my good friends killing himself after he promised me that it gets better, dealing with my own mental health issues – including severe body dysmorphia, having knee surgery, breaking my leg and spending three years of high school on crutches, having my heart broken by the person I loved, self-harming, and probably some other things that I’m forgetting.
I would add these things up in my head and it just didn’t make sense for how unhappy I was. Many many years later I realized that my sadness doesn’t have to be the sum of my traumas. I have a chemical unbalance in my brain and it is no fault of my own for that.
During my junior year of college the psychiatrist I was seeing suggested that we change my diagnosis to bipolar 2 disorder which made a whole lot of sense because in between my bouts of extreme depression, I would have these seemingly normal moments where I thought – and everyone around me thought – she’s finally getting better.
We added an antipsychotic and a mood stabilizer to my daily regimen, and things got better.
I should have known to refill my prescription prior to it running out, but when you struggle with so many things it’s hard to wrap you head around it all.
I ran out of my medication, I didn’t leave my room for almost a month, I gained twenty pounds in that month because I would starve myself for days then binge eat. I was self-harming almost daily. And everything felt really, really bad.
After that, things got a little better.
I graduated from college, I did volunteer work in a foreign country, and I moved back to my home town.
After getting my first big girl job, I realized that my next big girl step was taking care of myself.
I self-harmed last year for the first time in almost two years and I knew I needed a new coping mechanism.
It took five months before I could finally meet with a psychiatrist who immediately agreed for me to return to my regimen of antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, and antidepressants.
I’m now two weeks back on my medications and, other than feeling sleepy, things seem to be getting normal.
I finally went to a gym twice in one week, I packed my lunch every day for work, I made time to hang out with my friends, and I didn’t feel like I was trapped in my bed.
Although I know this sadness will be with me forever, I know I have the power to control it. And although I know the mood swings are inevitable, I can feel them coming and prepare to control them.
For anyone struggling, I hope you know that the struggles of today will not be the struggles of tomorrow. And I hope you know that your story is not over.
I am thankful for TWLOHA, seeing a child laugh, seeing my mom succeed, my baby brother growing, the rain, wild flowers, snow on the mountains, puppies and kitties, the flicker of candles, and the hope that I have found.