I hope you are doing well and enjoying this last month of the year (and the decade, whoa – time flies). Today, I want to talk about my mental health journey (yes, again, haha – kind of becoming the main theme here, isn’t it?).
It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I don’t know about you, but sometimes the days blend together so quickly that I can hardly believe weeks, or even months, have actually passed while I’ve kept moving forward as best I can. I’ve been thinking a lot about my journey lately – how far I’ve come since this time last year, and the year prior – and how my journey might have changed if I had made different decisions during moments that are clearly pivotal in the rearview…
So this came through my email a few minutes ago thanks to Live Nation…I don’t even have this artist listed as a favorite, so why this came to me today, I don’t know. That said, it REALLY makes me angry when people judge others for using medication to manage mental health.
Dear Goo Goo Dolls,
Not cool. As someone who takes medication to manage suicidal ideation and panic attacks, this facetious “Are you sad? Take a pill.” commentary is not only offensive, but blatantly adds to the already overwhelming stigma other mental health warriors face. And given National Suicide Prevention Day just passed, I find this even more unsavory- how insensitive can one be? It makes light of the many struggles people face before they even muster up the courage to seek help. Do you know how long and hard I fought with myself before I chose to seek medical help over taking my own life? Do you know the hell I went through when my first medication failed and I had to taper off it entirely before I could even begin to try another one? Do you honestly think I wasn’t also in therapy, surrounded by concerned love ones, and still fighting with every breath not to give in to the overwhelming urge to end my life?
Do you know what it’s like to feel like the you that is “you” is no longer in control of your body? Do you know the overwhelming guilt and shame I felt, knowing I was hurting everyone around me? Do you know that the real issue isn’t that I was “being selfish” and “only thinking of my own pain”, but that I honestly believed I was such a burden to EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING GOOD IN MY LIFE, that the only thing I could do to make things right by those I love, would be to remove myself permanently? Do you know, can you even possibly imagine, how it feels to have that thought running through your head at full volume 24 hours a day for months on end? As the you that is “you” keeps trying to remind yourself that you aren’t a burden and people would be hurt if you left? Do you know how hard it is to convince yourself that you need to stay when everything in you is saying you should go? Do you know what it is like to be afraid to breathe too deeply because it isn’t “you” controlling your body and you are literally terrified that any small move you make will be the one that allows the depression to fully take over, to lift your body off the couch and head to the kitchen and…? Do you have any idea, any at all, how scary that is? How much it hurts? How much I still look back and wish I never had to face those thoughts? Do you know that I TRIED to heal myself without medication? Do you know it is simply one of the MANY tools in my mental health kit to keep myself sane and functioning as a member of my family, my friend circle, my job, and society in general?
How DARE you belittle the struggle the goes in to even contemplating using medication. And how DARE you shame those who are willing to use ANY tool they can in their battles to KEEP. MOVING. FORWARD. To keep surviving. To keep choosing to stay. Shame on you.
So no, I won’t be buying your new music. Ever. And yeah, you probably don’t care. That’s fine. I got this off my chest. And if someday you see it and it makes you pause for just a moment, that makes this rant worth it.
With all due respect, I sincerely hope you grow up.
I hope the weekend has been treating you well. In today’s post, I want to reflect on lessons I’ve learned from my mental health journey. I hope that what I’ve learned may in some way help someone else to avoid falling as far as I did in 2018. I hope that what I’ve learned helps someone else.
I’m not sure what to write today. What I had planned to share, upon discussing it further with the person involved, well – permission to share was rescinded to preserve their mental health. And that’s absolutely okay – it is their story to share if and when they are ready and while I think it offers an important perspective in terms of mental health journeys, I’m not willing to jeopardize their journey in favor of clarifying my own. I’m…well, I’m sad and worried and regretful that my mental health journey is still such a pain point for them when I am doing so much better. So I guess what I want to talk about today is guilt.
As mentioned at the close of yesterday’s post, the remainder of my recovery journey to now had a few other bumps. I’ll be discussing those moments of backtracking before continuing with how positive things have been. As with previous heavy topic posts, please note that this one may be a painful read, at least for the first few paragraphs – if you want to skip it, I understand. The post does include mentions of suicide, so if that is a trigger for you, please go ahead and avoid this post, or proceed with caution. Okay? Okay. ❤
I’ve decided to split the discussion of 2018 into two posts – this first one will deal with what is arguably the worse months of my life to date and the second will deal with going from utter and complete darkness to fully believing the universe has my back. As with yesterday’s post, I know this one is a hard read, so feel free to skip it if you worry it will trigger you in any way, or proceed with caution. Okay? ❤
As I think back on the first half of 2018, I can’t help but think of the Shawn Mendes song “In My Blood” – I don’t think there is another song that better encapsulates my mindset from October 2017-July 2018.
Whew, okay. Today’s post is going to be…yeah. I’m hoping cathartic for me and somehow useful for you. Note that I will be discussing the onset and persistence of suicidal thoughts in this post, so if that is a trigger for you, please skip this one or proceed with caution. As always, if you or someone you love needs help, please reach out for help – https://psychcentral.com/lib/common-hotline-phone-numbers/. Let’s go.
We left off yesterday with Susie and I both shattered.
I mentioned yesterday that Susie and I found ourselves saying over and over again “We can’t handle this. It’s too much. It’s too much. Something’s gotta give. We can’t take any more than this.” As we limped our way through 2013-2015, we often found ourselves discussing how we were making it through only because we were somehow held together with duct tape and a prayer. There was more than one occasion where one or the other of us actually placed a piece of duct tape on our skin as a reminder to keep going. Hah, I actually remember taking a trip to Target specifically to buy fun colored duct tape for that purpose. Silly of us, but cute, no? There were many things that acted as duct tape for us, helping to hold us together as we stumbled our way through trying to heal.