Hey lovely blog-readers and friends and family peoples. I wanted to give out a little mental health update, and it felt too long and personal and everything to just post on Facebook or Twitter, so I’m blogging about it.
You should be warned going into it, though, that this post will deal with mental health issues including depression and suicidal thoughts.
Basically…I’m not OK. I wasn’t feeling great all week, beginning with an incident last Friday that led to very strong suicidal feelings (including making a plan to kill myself). It passed—at least the suicidal part did—and although I was still having panic attacks, depressive thoughts and all-around sorrow over the next few days, I though I was past the worst of it.
Cue yesterday. Although I know what the trigger for this latest episode was, it doesn’t change the fact that things have devolved to a point far beyond what I logically should be feeling today. And so, yesterday. Yesterday I began to have a panic attack which quickly turned into uncontrollable sobbing and with that came thoughts—a desire to hurt myself—to potentially do more than that.
I left the house in a rush, worried that I would end up harming myself if I stayed. So I ran out and met a good friend, emailing my therapist and psychiatrist as I went.
Which leads us to now. I’m sitting on my best friend’s couch in Alphabet City, view of One World Trade Center to my left, “Friends” on TV and help within easy reach should I need it. I’m taking a break, surrounding myself with friends and staying safe. Because after a chat with my doctor yesterday, we concluded that my options were simple: find somewhere to stay for a few nights and someone(s) to be with for a few days, or go to the emergency room and check myself into a hospital.
Because of the fear that if left alone or to go about my normal life, I might harm myself, temporarily or in a more permanent sense. I say that not to worry or freak you out, but to impress upon you the seriousness of the situation.
There was fear for my life. I felt fear for my life, as did my doctor and others concerned. So I’m hiding out in Manhattan for a few days, taking things slowly, and riding out this latest episode.
Episodes like this don’t last forever. They come, they wrack you and wring you dry, and then they leave. It’s mostly a matter of riding it out as safely as possible until you can return to a semblance of normalcy.
I say “semblance.” There’s little normalcy in life when you’re depressed. Almost every day is another opportunity to be sad, to be wracked with sorrow. Even this past Sunday, as I left a wonderful service at church…I was crying. I took a picture while waiting for the subway cause, well, that’s what I do. I chronicle what depression looks like.
It looks like that. It looks like waking up, getting dressed nicely and crying off all your makeup.
It looks like going out, smiling and laughing with friends but as soon as you’re alone, sinking so quickly you can barely catch your breath.
It looks like being chronically and hopelessly depressed. It looks like knowing that a “cure,” a “healing” is unlikely, and slowly (strugglingly) coming to terms with that. It looks like accepting that sometimes sick days mean mind-sick days, because when your brain is against you there’s little you can do.
And it looks like worrying about this, because I know so many will take these words and be sad about them, when really…this is me being hopeful. This is me saying, “it’s going to be OK.” Because in the end—this is a good scenario.
The bad scenario is one in which I didn’t reach out, didn’t ask for help, didn’t take time off or work to get through this. The bad scenario is one in which I hurt myself or worse. The bad scenario is…it’s really bad.
The good scenario is the yet-sucky one I’m living, and yeah, as much as it stinks that this, what’s happening right now, is considered good…it could be worse. It could be much worse.
So I’m grateful for what I do have: life. Friends who can help me. The ability to reach out. A support system.
I know I have much to be grateful for, and I am grateful for it all. But that doesn’t negate that I have depression, a disease, a chemical imbalance, something hard to manage. It’s real, and it’s hard, and it’s chronic. My depression does not mean I am not happy or joyful or grateful.
All it means is that I have depression. I want y’all to take hope from that. Knowing that even in the darkness, I see light. I know that God is with me even in this time, as dark as it gets, and I know that the act of sinking is not a rejection of Him. It is simply the way it is.
If you have questions—encouragement—concerns—feel free to comment or email or reach out. I can’t promise I’ll respond immediately, but I will read and be grateful. ❤