Maybe it was the way the twinkly, white, Christmas lights shined from the tree? Festive, bright and happy and refusing to be dulled. Maybe it was the merriment and bustling of people coming in the house? They were bringing contagious joy with them when they entered. Maybe it was delicious beer that sobered my soul and helped me take a breath in and accept my surroundings, the love, my life and feel completely happy in that moment? I am not sure what exactly it was.
For the first time in quite a while, I was happy to be alive. And really happy I did not kill myself as I had intended two months ago.
I wish that did not sound so dramatic. I wish that did not sound so sad. But that is what truth sounds like. That's what my truth sounds like for this part of my life.
High functioning depression. That's really a thing. A thing I have. I tend to do allthethings and do them allthetime. I take care of my mom, work full time, volunteer constantly and for many organizations, offer myself to anyone who needs me am available to my friends day or night and still felt like I could do more and what I was doing wasn't enough. I could not say no.
As my therapist says, depression is a lying bastard. And let me tell you, that's the damn truth. There is a darkness inside me that I cannot shake. Some days it is manageable, other days, it steals my light and I cannot find my footing on my path in life.
Two months ago, I felt like I had no more light left in me. Life felt too overwhelming, too serious, too much, and I felt like no matter what I did I would not be good enough or be able to offer enough to this world.
And I had a plan to fix that.
I had a plan to end my life. It was neat and organized like everything else I do, because planning is essential. But, heh, luckily, life happens while we're making plans or trying to act on them, whatever. It was early on a Monday morning, September 19th actually one day after my mom's birthday, and I had spent all night figuring out how to end my life. I popped the aspirin and was about to lie on my bed, knife in hand about to acquaint it with my femoral artery. Messy yes, but it would get the job done fairly quickly. Messy though. I'm not a messy person. Who would clean up my mess? I clean up the messes. I make things right. I make sure things run properly. I can't leave me for someone else to take care of. I, for the millionth time this year, lost my shit and it was ugly. I jumped up from my bed, crying and shaking. Freaked out by what I was about to do, wondering how it got so bad, wondering how I had gotten so close to plunging a blade into my skin. I was covered in snot, tears and shaking in fear.
I wasn't sure what I should do. I didn't want to leave a mess but I also didn't want anyone to know how bad I was. Notice I didn't say I wanted to live? Heh. I wanted everything to somehow be okay with everyone I just needed to perfect my plan. And with that thought, I knew I had to reach out for help. Through tears and a strained voice I called my doctor's office and spoke with her scheduler, a saint named Peggy, who quickly ascertained something serious was going on. She must have pulled my chart because she asked if I needed to be seen because of my depression. I barely squeaked out a yes, and she put me down for the only opening a 3 o'clock. I texted my therapist who kept me centered and...I still don't know if she realizes how much she kept me sane with texting throughout that day until a friend could sit with me til I made it to my appointment. I called my boss, my poor boss, who told me to do whatever I needed to do. She knew something was wrong and just wanted me to get better.
I made it to my appointment. My very long appointment where we debated if I needed to become an inpatient. I was not admitted/committed...mainly because I was saying the 'right things '. My medicine was changed. I made it through that day. Barely, but I did. And the next day I had therapy, and I restarted weekly sessions with my therapist and weekly check ups with my doctor.
So badly do I want to say, that day was the worst of it. But it wasn't. It was just the beginning of working through my issues. It was my eye opener, it was my day 1 into really treating my depression, it was me being real with myself. I was refusing to ignore a problem any longer, I was refusing to pretend I could do anything and everything, I was refusing the notion I did not need help, and I was refusing to keep up this lie I had lived too long.
There have been shitty moments. Ugly moments, questionable moments, hard moments in this journey to recover, rediscover and to live life how I should. But? They are fucking worth it.
That overwhelming blanket of darkness that seized my soul a couple months ago and I could not see out from beneath? Now? It's the size of a grape. It's still there. I doubt it will ever truly go away for good. But, it can be managed. It can be dealt with, it can be cut down to size. We have to have the right tools though, we have to accept it is okay to ask for help and there is nothing embarrassing about seeking it.
Last night, after a Friendsgiving event, my friend thanked me, for being here. Not there, here. Still here. And with tears streaming down my face I realized, despite the pain, despite the depression that wells up, despite the long and hard roads life can take us on...there is no other place I would rather be.
If you or someone you know are struggling with suicidal thoughts please do not hesitate to reach out for help. Call your doctor, your therapist, an accountabilty partner, 911, suicide prevention line
1-800-273-8255 or go straight to an emergency room. You matter and your life is worth living. Get with the people who can help you remember why you matter. Depression and mental illness is a lying bastard...don't let the lies that come from the darkness destroy your light.