A few days ago as I was digging through boxes in the garage looking for the yearly Christmas decorations, I stumbled upon a box of books. This box was filled with about 200 of my book that I wrote a few years back that I hadn’t sold at my speaking engagements. I picked one up and next thing I knew an hour had passed and I found myself sitting on the hard garage floor reading through it.
I was reminded of what led me to write that book. Being in therapy and revisiting events that caused my PTSD, depression and anxiety led me to putting some of my stories on paper in order to hopefully, in an ideal world, help someone else who was struggling. My goal in life at the time was to reduce stigma surrounding mental illness. Rereading that book reminded me of just how many details I left out. Details that changed my life in far greater ways that I was still so shy about sharing. And then a year and a half after that book was published, I drove my car at 100mph into a tree on the side of the highway in a suicide attempt. I did that not for attention or pity, but becuase of the events that I had left out of said book that were still not dealt with. Deeper, larger, more in depth pains that I was afraid to admit to anyone. I wrote a book, sure… but it wasn’t the book my soul needed to write. It was only a few of the details I was allowing people around me to know.
And here I am almost 15 months from that crash and I feel even worse. I’ve talked my way through so much. I’ve made great progress. As a matter of fact, my therapist of 7 years told me at my last appointment just how well I was doing. Truth is, I’ve avoided him for a few months under the disguise of insurance issues, when in reality I just can’t talk anymore.
Why? You might ask. Because I’m tired. Mentally exhausted. I have no more words to say. I’m finally on a medication that has regulated my mood. So that is, indeed, improvement. But, one thing that hasn’t left me is this deep desire to die. I’m suicidal.
Before you get too worried, let me explain. I view life through the darkened glasses of depression. I get anxious every time the phone rings thinking someone is sick. I constantly feel like I am nothing but a burden to my family and that they’d be better off without me, even though they tell me otherwise. I don’t have a plan in which to die and don’t need immediate hospitalization or care. This is just a daily battle I have to fight.
Every day with mental illness is a struggle. It affects my kids and my friends and all my family. I see the affects of my illnesses on my kids as they ask me if I’m ok or why I’m sad or how they can make me feel better. It breaks my heart and so many times I wonder if they’d truly be better off without me. I know the pain of losing a parent as a child and so I think sometimes that experience alone keeps me around for their sakes.
I’ve been living with depression that has been far worse than I’ve let on to my family in recent months. I’m hoping the excitement, hustle and bustle of the holidays will be enough to keep me up and moving and my mind distracted enough to keep the other thoughts at bay.