My Very Real Struggle With Sticking Around
To tell you the absolute truth, I’m just not sure.
I have no idea how to answer my doctor when she says, “Do you feel like taking your own life right now?”
I have justified a couple ways to answer her that sway towards yes but also sway towards no.
Here are my various feelings and emotions when she asks me:
1. Fear: If I say yes, she will put me in the hospital on a ward I still don’t feel I belong on (even though I do).
2. Hopelessness: If I say yes, she will amp up my medicine… again, which causes me to feel hopeless because we always go up and it never works for more than a week or so.
3. Magnified Pain and Doom: If I continue to say no, I will continue to sit alone in isolation and one day, the pain may get to be so much, that I really do end my life.
See, I’m in that terrible place again, and I’m debating who I would like to know about it.
If I call my mom, usually my go-to when my thoughts spiral downwards at racing speed, her response will be, “Did you call your doctor?”
The feeling I get when she asks me this is that punch-in-the-stomach feeling because because I know my doctor can’t help me on the spot, like right now, like make this horrific pain and sorrow disappear. She will only want to speak to me about my meds and the dosage and what we can change and what we can ween off of, ween on, take more, take less, be on three different ones now not just two. It’s the never-ending guessing game: my brain chemistry. And no one can fix it on the spot.
So today, it happens. I was was going along swimmingly (which means able to show up for the day in a normal sort of way, not completely wanting to disappear when the sun comes up and escape back to sleep where I feel safe). And then I wasn’t. I was off. My mind was off to the races, my body filled with pain and heaviness and my thoughts kept telling me I can’t handle this roller coaster to hell any longer.
I go to exercise because that is one of the things listed on my “when in crisis” to-do list.
During class I am crying so loudly and nearly having a panic attack because the pain feels so heavy and relentless. The endorphin rush doesn’t do a darn thing. My panic attack consists of these morbid ideas of how the quality of my life is not good. It’s not worth only having 12 good days out of 31. The remainder are painful. I go into how it’s not fair, not poor me, but why, why, why do I have to carry this evil torture of despair? I don’t want it.
The class ends, and I go out and immediately call my doctor and leave her a message which says, “Hi, it’s Courtney and yes, I know we just spoke one day ago, but I fell down the hole again and I am hopeless… so.. .um, give me a call back.”
Tears, tears and more tears. This message is left way too often, and I am not sure I will ever be able to articulate the courage or the swallowed pride it takes to make these calls.
I have people from work who need things from me — not for today at this moment, a few days away. In my mind I am thinking of a perfect depressed reply, “Hi, yeah, um, I am kind of fighting to stay in my life right now and not do anything stupid, so sure, yes I will get those documents right to you.” Of course I don’t say that, it’s just one of the many dark things one thinks of when she is in “that place.”
Next I realize the list of things I have done in the last three months to feel better, enjoy life more, not fall in deep/dark holes:
1. I went gluten/dairy free.
2. I eat sugar once a week.
3. I have not drank alcohol in four years.
4. I work out five days a week.
5. I take vitiamin D and B.
6. I pray.
7. I go to support groups.
8. I meditate.
9. I journal.
10. I help other people.
Seriously, why can’t I feel better?
I am beyond longing to feel “happiness” — that would just be a major bonus. I want peace of mind. I want inner peace. I want freedom from my mind that wants to take me down.
So I do my usual pep talk with myself and list all the things I need to live for — I should live for: my family, my little boys, my husband, my siblings, my friends. I feel so detached from that list of things because that is what depression does — it causes you pain and sorrow, it wears you down to the lowest of low energy levels and it makes you think the list is important but in a sense, wouldn’t they all want you to feel peace?
This is my truth. This is my battle. This is something I choose to share because if there is another human being out in the world who reads this and relates, this may be something that helps them hang on more more day.
I hang on to write this, and others hang on because they read this.
We pay it forward sharing our stories.
We save one another because not everyone understands us, and as much as that hurts, it’s the truth and that’s why we have this community.
We are not alone in this fight and although our heads want us to believe that, it’s the furthest thing from the truth.
If you or someone you know needs help, please visit the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741. Head here for a list of crisis centers around the world.
The Crisis Text Line is looking for volunteers! If you’re interesting in becoming a Crisis Counselor, you can learn more information here.