I can still remember the first day I heard auditory command hallucinations- telling me to kill myself. I can still hear them, whispering, telling me how useless I was, how much of a burden I was. I can still remember that day on January 12, 2012, when I was only 16, how I tried to take my own life.
And I remember waking up the next day thinking to myself “why does God hate me so much that He wants me to live?”
It has been an uphill battle of medications and hospitalizations. Bandages around my wrists and long silences in group therapy. Self-harm was my way of coping with the pain of living. Albeit it was a negative coping skill, it was the one I turned to nonetheless. Everyday when I got home from school I would march upstairs, peel off the bandage from the night before, and cut a little deeper.
But it never really fixed the pain. I have trauma, I have my own abandonment issues. But all things considered, I have a good life. And I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just “snap out of it”. The depression was a room with only my name on the door and no matter how many times I screamed for help, it seemed no one could hear me. So I cut deeper.
It got to the point that I truly believed I was a burden on those around me. I was becoming a regular at the psychiatric hospital in my community.
But then something -and to this day I’m not sure what, clicked- I realized that I couldn’t climb out of my hole that I alone had dug if I didn’t reach out and grab someone’s hand. And along came my therapist, my boyfriend, my mom, and God (or whatever higher power you believe in). I found hope. I found that even in my darkest trials, I was not a burden. So I grabbed their hands, I grabbed every life preserver they threw at me, even if it was a floating pink flamingo, and they pulled me to shore. Up and out.
You see, the only way out is up. And once you’ve hit rock bottom, well, the sky looks pretty damn enticing.
But I couldn’t give up, no matter how badly I wanted to- because my dog needed me, my boyfriend needed me, my mom needed me. Tomorrow needed me.
So I held onto hope. Because God loves us so much that he wants us to live.
It was a long process to get to where I am today, and it didn’t happen over night. I stayed for a month at the psychiatric facility, I switched therapists and medications. But I stayed and I worked the program. I fell in love with the little things in life.
16-year-old Bri would have never thought that she would be 26, running her own business and working for a community magazine- telling other people’s stories. But hey, I guess dreams really do come true.
I live with bipolar 1 disorder and I stopped self-harming on May 5, 2021.
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