Night has fallen for hours, yet I lay wide awake. I stare into the darkness and shadows form. Old memories play like a movie in my mind. New memories fight for space. Trying to make sense of my life. Trying to make sense of a mental illness that has probably been plaguing me for longer than I knew. I have never been “normal.” In fact, when I walk myself backwards in my mind, I am riddled with issues. At a young age, I was very shy and insecure. I was not happy with the fact I was an Airforce brat and made to move every 4 years. Meeting new people and adjusting to new circumstances was not innately in my DNA, but became part of a survival tool. A chameleon of sorts. I could be whoever you needed me to be, up to a point. Funny I never dove in to drugs and alcohol at a younger age. Sports was my escape. God gave me the athletic ability to fit in well on a sports team. My skills often spoke for themselves. I would run myself ragged physically, so I wouldn’t have to feel emotional pain.
It wasn’t until college my symptoms really began to present themselves. I isolated a lot. As my friend often says, I kept my depression covert. This is really when I first began to contemplate suicide. The pain I felt was too much for me to speak of, I often wrote “notes” to people. I remember writing an anonymous note to my dorm supervisor. At least I convinced myself he did not know it was me. I was a fool. While I thought I was hiding my depression, it was written all over my face. It was probably speaking in volumes I was the only one unable to hear it.
Shortly after college, I developed an eating disorder because I did not think I was good enough as is. My boyfriend, who I truly thought I was going to marry at the age of 23, told me he needed to move on and sow his wild oats. What? Wasn’t I wild enough? Wasn’t I enough? I was devastated and didn’t think anyone would ever love me again. I set out to take up as little space as possible, to be less. Ironic isn’t it!!
Fast forward several years to 2007, I hit my bottom and wanted/needed to get sober. I was self medicating all those years and it just wasn’t working for me anymore. It took me a few tries to get sober. Fast forward even more to 2011. I had just under 4 years (shy by 1 month) when the demon came calling for me again. I had forgotten about him, but he had not forgotten about me. The red flags were everywhere. I was so depressed, yet I kept trying to trudge. I kept trying to work out harder. I kept trying to push it down farther. In hindsight, I kept feeding the demon.
I don’t think I will ever forget the day. I used to purchase my booze at Rite Aid, because there were never any lines and I never saw anyone there I knew. I had not been to Rite Aid for almost 4 years. My good friend suggested I get some Vitamin B12. Guess what, they sell that at Rite Aid….along with vodka. Vodka had been my drink of choice, my friend, my lover, my savior for many years until I put the bottle down. Now, leading up to this day I was awesome (if I do say so myself). I was in the best shape of my life, very happily present in my life, and playing competitive tennis. I was ENOUGH for the first time in my life.
So, I make my purchase. I get in my car and guzzle the vodka. I was in search of relief. I bought 2 pints. I finished 1 in the blink of an eye. But, I did not want to drink the other one. I did not want to be doing this. I called my husband and told him what I had done and where I was and that I DID NOT want to drink the other pint. Don’t tell, but I drove home because his car was in the shop.
Once home, I am hysterical. I am beside myself with guilt, shame, regret, fear and…DEPRESSION. I didn’t know what to do. All I knew was I could not be a practicing alcoholic again. I could not be a depressed alcoholic for sure. I went to the bathroom because I could not face my husband, and there was a bottle of drano on the side of the bathtub. Impulsively, I opened the bottle and poured some into my hand and ingested it. I did this twice. Drano tastes awful. But, it didn’t matter. I wanted to die. I could NOT, absolutely COULD NOT tolerate feeling the way I did when I got sober. I would rather die. There is a fine line with suicidal gestures of wanting to escape the feelings, the situation, the conflict and wanting to die. I think now, I wanted the escape.
However, I also know the real raw desire of wanting to die. Just within the last 2 months I have really wanted to leave this earth. Truly believed it and everyone within it would be better off without me. I especially believed my dear, sweet husband deserved a wife who could participate in our life. Not a depressed suicidal mess of a woman far from the person he fell in love with. I did not think I was ever going to be the person I was in 2011. The awesome one I spoke of earlier. My depression cripples me.
New symptoms have plagued me, and a new diagnosis has been given. This is the first time I have walked through depression sober. Let me tell you, it is hell. It is painful. It is not something I would wish on my enemy. It is stealing my breath, my voice, my desires, my laughter and my ability to believe in something beyond the demon. I had lost touch with my higher power. Some days I am lost. Some days I want to die. Some days I am confused. Some days I have no idea how I am going to get through the day. Some days I cry so hard I am in agony. But, I keep having days. I keep stringing these damn days together. Which means…I am walking through it! I am walking through depression, through bipolar symptoms, through the thickest of mud.
Yesterday, I could not have written that last sentence. Yesterday I was steeped in that mud and didn’t think I was going to break free. Yesterday, the demon had a firm grip on me. But, little did he know I would rise again today. Little did I know I would rise again. If you are reading this, keep moving forward, keep going. We are stronger than we think!!
123 It is better to seek forgiveness than it is permission.