When Your Mental Health Story Isn't Inspirational
I’ve read many stories of recovery and positive uplifting successes. So I’ve always thought I shouldn’t write my story because that’s not where I’m at. How could I ever be an inspiration to anyone if I can’t be one for myself? That’s the main purpose of sharing your story — if it can inspire one person to hold on and keep fighting, then it’s worth it.
But lately I’ve been thinking, what if there’s someone out there just like me who is constantly struggling? Someone who can appreciate the success stories of others, but who feels defeated because they aren’t representative of their situation.
What if that someone reads my story and knows I too feel like I am on the outside looking in?
To say I struggle with depression is an understatement. It began in childhood, over 30 years ago, and wasted no time sinking its teeth into my mind. It didn’t whisper, it screamed: “I hate you!” I remember being around 7 years old, telling myself those very words over and over again. This was the start of my self-harming behaviors. I felt alone and unlikable. I was the quiet, withdrawn kid who was an easy target for bullying. The unfortunate reality of depression is that as it tells you all these negative thoughts; it also tells you that you can’t tell anyone. I thought no one would understand and people would look at me differently. All I wanted was to fit in with everyone else. To be accepted.
So I kept my mouth shut until I was 24 years old. I wanted to die. That’s when I started therapy. To add insult to injury, my therapist would doze off during our sessions. I felt unimportant. I was referred to a psychiatrist who spent five minutes with me and prescribed me medication. They told me it would take eight weeks to notice a difference. I needed help now, not two months later. I had my first two suicide attempts within those two months. I was hopeless. For the next five years, I cycled through new therapists, new psychiatrists, multiple medications and periods of doing no therapy at all. In 2003, I took my self-harming to a new level and had to get stitches. The doctor told the nurse to “hurry up and get psych in here and get her out of my ER.” I felt worthless and discarded. The next day, I was admitted into a psychiatric facility for the first time. It was everything I imagined prison to be like. They strip searched me, went through my clothes, took my shoe laces, let me make a quick phone call, locked every door behind me and said I couldn’t leave. I was terrified. Shortly after, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. Then over the years they have added, bipolar 2 disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. I’m still not convinced it all fits. In 2009, I had my third suicide attempt. One month later I went into a residential treatment center for seven months, alternating between inpatient and outpatient care. In February 2016, I attempted my fourth suicide attempt. Four months later, I spent 30 days in an inpatient trauma treatment center.
That was two months ago.
Depression has consumed every day of my life, as far back as I can remember. Slowly, thoughts of suicide have become almost daily. I have lost count of how many times I have been hospitalized. Some days coping is easier than others. Most days, I don’t want to get out of bed and make the best of it. Right now, I am merely coping my way through life. Day after day. Sometimes, moment by moment. I am struggling and it is hard. But I am still trying. I go to therapy every week, see the psychiatrist every month and comply with taking my meds the best I can. I put into practice what I have been taught to the best of my ability. I know my depression is with me for life.
If you are out there struggling and have chronic depression like I do, I get it. I really, really get it and it sucks.
Don’t give up — I haven’t.
If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
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