At the end of 2009, I decided to go off my antidepressants and try to treat my depression naturally. I am a believer in natural healing therapies (such as aromatherapy) in conjunction with traditional medicine, but because I had lost my health insurance, I decided to try and go the entire route the natural way. It was okay for a time. I was lucky that my therapist continued to see me, regardless of my insurance situation. I had a lot going on. I had left my job and was transitioning from living on my own to living in a house with my mom and other family. I was trying to move, I had to put most of my things in storage, and I was in the midst of figuring out where I was going with my life. I was extremely unhappy. I sought out spiritual guidance, and joined a wonderful new church because I felt part of my problem was this big disconnect from God. I met some wonderful people and learned some great new things, but I was still unhappy. I started desperately trying to find a relationship to cover up the unhappiness. That didn’t work. I spent a lot of time in the bed, I spent a lot of time in isolation, I was irritable all the time, and I spent a lot of time crying…like everyday.
The week of Christmas 2010, I spent some time with a couple of families that I love very much and who love me. I had dinner with one family a few days before Christmas, it has become a yearly tradition for us to get together and have dinner and exchange gifts. As I left their home, I felt this overwhelming sense of sadness and emptiness. I cried all the way home. I couldn’t understand why, in the midst of all of that love, I felt so unloved. Life wasn’t perfect, I still had so much to be hopeful for, but I was unable to feel any hope at all.
A few days later on Christmas Eve, I spent time with my best friend and her family. They always make me feel so welcome and loved. But again, driving home from their house, I felt the same sadness, emptiness, and hopelessness. I hated myself for being surrounded by so much happiness and love, and being unable to feel any of it. A person like me did not deserve to live…
And to top it all off, I got into a horrible fight with my mother later that evening.
I obviously had some issues that I needed to work through, but I couldn’t figure out what they were. I just wanted the overwhelming pain I felt in my heart to stop. I wanted to feel grateful, hopeful, but my mind would not allow me to get there.
It’s one thing to be depressed when everything is going wrong. But it’s another thing to be depressed when you are surrounded by love, encouragement, and positivity. There is so much shame in saying, I’m so blessed, I don’t have everything, but I have more than a lot of people have, but I’m still depressed, sad, hopeless. I still can’t get out of the bed. I still can’t stop crying. I still don’t think my life means anything. This is how we know depression is a disease. It does like any other disease, it attacks what would otherwise be healthy, if not for the disease…the mind.
I cried and cried and cried as I watched It’s a Wonderful Life, and thought, I really don’t want to die…yes, like George Bailey, I wish I had never been born. But I still looked up ways that I could end it. I wanted the emotional pain to stop. I sent some “I love you” texts to a couple of friends…they wouldn’t suspect anything, of course because it was Christmas time and everyone was saying those words. I wanted to silently disappear. Escape life through the backdoor. I took a few Tylenol with Codeine, but then “Something” told me to stop. I wish I could tell you it was some amazing, burning bush moment, but I literally just went from looking up ways to kill myself to looking up suicide hot-lines. I called one. The man on the line told me that he was grateful that I had called him, that he was grateful because he got to spend this time with me on Christmas Eve. The guy obviously new his stuff, but if he was bullshitting, I didn’t care. It was something I needed to hear. I hung up the phone and eventually drifted off to sleep.
I woke up late the next afternoon with a headache and to a knock on my bedroom door. It was my niece telling me that my mom was sick. My mom was really sick and I had to call an ambulance to take her to the hospital. I spent Christmas day in the hospital with an enormous amount of guilt about everything…
Part 3 concludes tomorrow…
Disclaimer: I am not a health professional. These posts are stories of my own experiences and battle with clinical depression. If you feel that you may be suffering from clinical depression, please contact your physician. Click here for resources that can help you. If you have thoughts of harming yourself or others, please call 911 immediately.