One of the truly crappy things that happens for so many of us fighting Depression is that we also have some form of anxiety disorder as well. So on top of all the wonderfulness of Depression there is also the ability to worry ourselves to the point of physical illness over things that may never happen. Depression, the gift that just keeps giving as it steals everything away.
It seems that sometimes life dogpiles you. It usually happens to everyone at some point in their lives. If you aren’t depressed and have a great support system, even when it seems like every meal is a shit sandwich and everything that can go wrong does, it’s survivable. Imagine having that happen when you have mental disorders that tell you you’re worthless and make you stress out about every single fucking thing that can or does go wrong. It’s no wonder that some people can’t see any way out but suicide.
I will never say I’ve had the worst life imaginable. I haven’t. I know that there are people who have had it far worse that I have. I’ve been able to say that I managed to get to the other side of some bad crap. I’m a survivor (not a victim) of childhood sexual abuse. I had what could best be described as an emotionally absent father who doesn’t even talk to me anymore. My marriage was filled with emotional, verbal, and sometimes physical abuse. I’ve had people that I considered true friends turn out not to be friends at all. Yet I’m still here to write about this.
There was a point nine years ago when I truly considered giving up. In a seven day period I lost an uncle, one of my grandmothers had progressed in her dementia to the point that she didn’t recognize me and was absolutely terrified of me, and then I lost my other grandmother on Day 7. Even though my Granny was still alive, that loss was actually more painful than my Gammy’s death three days after the encounter at my uncle’s funeral. At least my Gammy was no longer in pain. After Gammy’s funeral I went back to my apartment and picked up a full bottle of painkillers that had been prescribed when I broke my foot a month before. I had the bottle open and was staring into it thinking, “If I take these the pain will stop.” Only the thought of my child finding my body stopped me.
I haven’t reached that point again. That thought still lingers in my mind sometimes though. Would it matter to anyone if I ended it all? It pops up whether I want it to or not. I have no intention of giving up, but sometimes that voice is in there telling me how easy it would be.
Life has dogpiled me this summer. As if the depression and anxiety which had been plaguing me weren’t enough, I was laid off. I was working for a company where I was surrounded by good friends and then all of a sudden, I wasn’t. I’ve spent the last two months looking for a good job and came close on a couple I really wanted but didn’t get them. I’m supposed to start one on Tuesday that I don’t have a good feeling about, but if I turn it down my unemployment would be suspended and I can’t afford that. To add to all this fun, my mother -in-law passed away 2 1/2 weeks ago. I loved that woman and “retained custody” of her in the divorce. I didn’t get to go back East to say goodbye.
Oh hello! There’s the anxiety! There’s the flare up of the ulcers I’ve had since I was 14. There are the dreams where my ex-husband shows up at my house. It just feeds on itself; draining my energy, stealing my sleep, and making me feel lousy.
I suppose you’re wondering what I’m doing to improve my situation. I have sought counseling. I went to my pastor when things became too much to handle and I felt like the path to suicide might start looking attractive. It has helped, but the one thing that has been consistent through every attempt at counseling through the years is that I’ve never tried medication. My pastor has encouraged me to write as a catharsis, to become more involved at church, but even he admits that I need more than he can offer. Remember, I don’t have a job or insurance to take care of this. What I have done is go to Vocational Rehabilitation because Depression is a disability that is covered. Their plan is to get me the treatment I need and to provide me with training necessary for a better job.
I tend to not ask for help beyond encouragement. I know that there is always someone out there having a tougher time than me. The thing is though, everyone deserves help sometimes. No one’s life is perfect. When you mix an attitude of “someone needs help more than me” with Depression which tells you that you’re worthless, you end up with a pretty lethal cocktail. You may think no one cares but I guarantee you that if you give up, more people will be hurt than you’ll ever know. Life has a ripple effect and things you do affect things much further out than you realize. Never be afraid to ask for help. It’s not attention seeking to save your own life.
It’s funny. When my pastor encouraged me to write, he was actually telling me to work on a story idea I’ve had for over a decade. I have been working on that, but now my own story is bubbling out. I hope that this fight I’m in will give others courage to fight their own demons. If you need to talk to someone who understands, I’m here. I’m an expert on slogging through this crap. I don’t have answers, but I have a sympathetic ear, a shoulder to cry one, and I do know how to encourage you as you go through it. The best advice I have for you is from Winston Churchill; If you’re going through Hell, keep going.