Reflections on a Year in the Grips of Depression

This year was supposed to be the year I sorted myself out. It hasn’t quite worked out like that. Although I started 2016 in a pretty dark place, I had no idea 12 months ago it was going to push me further into the abyss than I had ever been.

Reflecting on the year that’s passed stirs up a lot of emotions. There have been great times spent with friends and family, particularly our once-in-a-lifetime trip to Australia. Something I was in total denial about at the beginning of the year. Yet, there have also been the worst of times. Even though it felt unimaginable this time last year, there were times in 2016 that were far worse than anything I’ve been through before.

I came back from Australia at the end of August on a high, with so many great memories and feeling strong and sorted out as we headed into the new school year. Two weeks later, I tried to end my life.

The events of the past four months, the suicide attempt, the hospitalization, the social services assessment and the loss of so many things I held dear, have left me totally shell-shocked. I didn’t intend or expect, on that September day, to be seeing another new year. However, I am. Despite the fact that I’m still patching things back together and some of the cracks will never heal, I’m glad, now, to be here.

As I think about the year ahead, I know I’m standing on unstable ground. I know I can’t make promises about what’s going to happen with my mental health. I’m not making resolutions I may not be able to keep. Even though I’m still reeling from the experiences I’ve been through, I feel I’m ending 2016 in a better place than I was 12 months ago.

I’m changed, without a doubt. I’ve lived through things I never expected to. I’m still rocked by the trauma of it all. I have a new diagnosis and another potential secondary diagnosis. I have new medication and an intensive program of therapy helping me make sense of the mess.

It’s true that I’m not where I hoped to be at the end of 2016 — content, confident, together and healed. I’m still wrestling with the demons of mental illness, bearing new scars on the inside and the outside, far from healed. Yet, I’m not where I was either.

With the help of my family, the National Health Service and the best friends anyone could have, I’ve lived through the worst time of my life and survived. I’m looking ahead to a new year with something I was lacking this time last year: hope.

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. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.

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