It’s very rare that I write about something like this, but now that we’re a day away from the year mark, I figure there’s no way to talk about the year without addressing this major part of it. I don’t mean this to be triggering. If it triggers you, I encourage you to stop, however the purpose of me writing this is to say that there I was, now here I am. It’s important for you to know that I’m happy now, even when I thought I’d never be again. I found things to live for. This is my story of what I’ve dealt with my whole life, with a focus on primarily what I’ve dealt with this year.
I’m not going to go into specifics about all the experiences that triggered my depression, because I’d rather focus on what it felt like to be depressed. I battled an eating disorder at age 11, and I’ve bounced between therapists and different antidepressants since. I’ve recently been diagnosed with BPD.
You fall into a depression slowly, like a building burns. It starts as a spark so small, it would not even be dangerous in it’s self. But fire needs fuel. The spark would not spread without piece of paper next to it to cling on to. The fire spreads to the table. It moves onto the floor. And sooner or later you’re standing there, and your lungs are screaming and you’re skin feels like it’s melting, and the only thing that’s on your mind, is that you need to get out. People commit suicide the same way you jump out of a burning building.
One day it’s just a fleeting thought, of I wish my life was this way, or I wish this was different. But eventually the thoughts keep coming, until it consumes your mind. Until one day you lose the strength to do basic things, like getting out of bed or eating. Every time you think that it can’t possibly get even worse, it does. I will never forget the moment right before I stole the pills from my Grandmother. The moment where for the first time I felt like suicide was the only option. Before that, I thought the most painful thing in the world was to lose someone you love. But standing in that bathroom, looking into my dead eyes in the mirror, I realized that the most painful thing in the world is the moment that you lose yourself. In that moment, I felt like my soul died. I was a walking corpse, and committing suicide was a technicality. I was at a Christmas party, a few days before Christmas. It felt perfect. Like all the lose ends were coming together. There was a new family member dressing up as Santa for all the screaming little kids that I used to be. Watching over them, I felt like a ghost, watching a perfect little family on Christmas. How can you fit into a perfect family when your not perfect? I came home that night and desperately cut my arms and legs, praying for something to show me that I was still alive. I planned to go through with the plan after Christmas, so I wouldn’t ruin the holiday for my family.
The next day, someone uncovered my plan, and I was hospitalized in a mental hospital for the first time. I came out and went to a partial hospitalization program until the end of January.
I experienced very negative side effects from the psych meds I was put on at the hospital. I was anxious to the point of regular panic attacks. It made it seem like nothing was real, and I became obsessed with the idea of death. I lost weight for a while, and threw myself into another, smaller eating disorder.
The self harm got worse in february. My arms were raw almost up to my shoulder. My thighs were so bad that I hide to hide a limp when I walked. I burned myself on my arms, and the only thingI could wear was baggy long sleeve shirts. I started self medicating with substances in February, which went on until my parents discovered it in April. The thought of having to deal with my problems without any self medication was just too much for me to bear. The feeling was a different kind of intense than the one in December. I remember pacing around my room, feeling completely and utterly empty. Crying to the point where you grab onto anything and press it up against your chest, desperately trying to keep all the pieces together. The thoughts were horrible. Taunting me and and ridding me of anything that might have given me hope. I remember lying on the ground, feeling like something was kicking me in the stomach over and over again until I couldn’t move. When the pills were in my hand everything got quiet. They felt so good there. It felt like freedom, like a breathe of fresh air when you’re in a burning building.
I had a seizure and was taken to the hospital for a couple days before being transferred back to the mental hospital. After a week I came back, but little changed. My parents came home to find my arms covered in blood and I was back in the hospital not even four days later.
The hospital is not a bad place. You are not chained to a bed, nor are you locked in a sponge room like a prisoner. There is no Hannibal Lector ready to eat your liver with fava beans and chianti. You interact with people with very similar problems as you. The social workers and psychiatrists talk to you on a regular basis, and it gives you the much needed time to work on yourself. If you need help, I strongly suggest you go there. It will help you, you just need to brave enough to give it that first step.
The purpose of this post is not to make you feel like suicide is the best option, or anything along those lines. I am writing this to be living, breathing proof that it does get better.
I spent the rest of the school year on home instruction, focusing on my issues and finding the strength to move forward. I started running, as well as a cleansing diet. I felt like I had purpose again. I got back into the things that I had no energy to do before, like reading. Reading and running filled the gap, and silenced the thoughts.
You have to understand that nobody’s going to save you. You can’t sit there waiting for someone to come, because it’s never going to happen. I saved myself. I dug deep and found the strength I needed to move forward. Understand that I am no extra-ordinary girl. I m 16, barely 5’1, clumsy, and painfully socially awkward. I will never cure cancer or win a Nobel Prize. But I beat depression. I resurrected myself when I though I’d never truly be alive again. If I can do it, so can you.
Nothing can truly amount to the pride I feel going out in public and showing my cut free arms and legs. I have scars, yes, but they will fade in time like all scars do. I look in the mirror now, and remember looking at the dead girl’s eyes in December, and feel like that girl is a stranger. Now I have a smile that lights up my whole face again. My eyes are bright, and much to my parents’ dismay, yes, I am singing in the shower again.
I have been weak. I have fallen more times than most.
But I’m strong now. I’m braver than I’ve ever been.
I am alive.