How I Made It Through Another Day.It’s been months of misery. Of no one understanding, and honestly not many people trying. I don’t know how long I’ve dealt with depression itself, but I can tell you when the suicidal thoughts had become such a regular occurrence: September 2012. School had just started and I was back on campus after a year of living in an apartment with a “good” friend, and a high maintenance roommate. Fighting was constant in that place whether it was between roommates, the latter roommate’s guests, or my boyfriend of two and a half years at the time. Ready for a big change, I decided it return to the dorms and live in a single. At the start of the summer, I had broke things off with my boyfriend because I just couldn’t take feeling so bad about myself at the end of each daily phone call with him. Once I was back at school though, he started talking to me again.
Of course a part of me missed him, how could I not? But what hurt the most was the fact that despite him making the first move in contacting me, that conversation was solely to remind me that “we didn’t work”, or really more that I didn’t work. In his world, he’s perfect, it’s everyone else who needs fine-tuning. Nonetheless this phone call ended with him screaming that he never wanted to hear from me again, which, although I knew this statement was actually untrue, left me fighting my way through an anxiety attack isolated in my dorm room. Unable to calm down or catch my breath, thoughts began racing through my head, “He’s right, you’re worthless. No one wants you. Look at you, sitting by yourself in your room gasping for air because you have literally no one to turn to right now.”
Certainly, having friends would have made all of this easier, but unfortunately I did not have that luxury, so instead my “mental illness” led me to the computer where I began checking the train schedule for the station a few blocks from me. Realizing that the train had already departed the station for its last run of the night, I began searching for my wallet to go to the subway station where perhaps I’d have more luck in my venture. Then it hit me…suicide? Is that really what I’m trying to do right now? Frankly, out of embarrassment, I laid down in my bed with my mascara still staining my cheeks, therefore transferring the dark color to my white pillowcase as I sobbed — not cried — myself to sleep.
The next day I tried to pretend like that had never happened but unfortunately, it had. I felt embarrassed and dramatic. What right did I have to think that that was my only option? Without mentioning it to anyone (not that there was anyone there to tell, anyways) I continued on with myself as best I could carrying the guilt of the thoughts with me everywhere I went.
But then it happened again. I don’t remember what sparked the second time, or the third, or really any of the other countless times that the thoughts returned but every time I responded to them the same way. “You selfish girl. What right do you think you have to act as though your life is challenging? Look around you, there are others far worse off than yourself. Get over it.” But that didn’t seem to help. The thoughts were coming more frequently now and were requiring more energy to ward off, more energy than I had frankly, so instead I’d turn to my bed.
There it was safe. I could close my eyes and drift off and whatever was going on in my life would be forced to wait a little longer. My bed became my sanctuary and my solution to everything. But it brought upon fear as well. Each day when I decided to get out of that bed, I was removing that option for myself of eluding any problem the world may have to throw at me that day, but I made it…for a while at least.
On November 10th, I snapped which led to my enrollment to the highly renowned McLean Psychiatric Hospital, the treatment center for Susanna Kaysen (author of Girl, Interrupted) and the late poet Sylvia Plath. After two weeks I was released with a cocktail of medications and a some new “coping tools” that provided me with a promise of happiness being restored to my life. Not days later, I found myself knocking my head against my kitchen wall and hardwood floor with all my might as I begged my parents to just let me do it because they had no idea how I’ve been feeling these past few months. Despite such pleas, my parents instead guided me to their bedroom where I spent the night next to my mom and as the ba
Time went by and I tried to tell myself that I was better, in hopes that maybe one day I could trick my diseased brain into believing it, but with no avail I found myself back at the same hospital for a longer stay in January. After emptying every pill bottle in my possession into my system, then washing it down with some good liquor to add to the toxicity, I was beaten, humiliated and assaulted by a nearby hospital who did nothing more than the mentioned for 4 hours before releasing me back to my home. After a 30-hour nap, and a meeting with my therapist and psychiatrist about pursuing legal action against the above hospital, I checked myself back into the hospital with the hope of a new and different experience,
This time I tried a different approach. I smiled when I couldn’t, and I focused on anything but myself and soon enough, I was signing discharge papers without any change of mediations. I returned home with somewhat of a spring in my step for who knows what reason, but then soon after came the downfall, and this one was the worst one of all. As I lay in my bed all day sobbing about truly nothing, I came to understand that I was no longer there. I was empty. The person I had spent nearly 23 years building was gone and all that was left was the vessel of bursting emotions. It was then that I decided.
I worked myself out of bed to a notebook across the room (a challenge in itself for me that day) and began to write a note goodbye. Explain would be too generous of a word as really I just stated that I was done trying. People would be sad, yes, and this was a selfish decision, I knew it, but it was what I needed to do for myself and I was sorry to those who disagreed. I added a paragraph instructing how my cat should be cared for, explaining that he spooks easily so it is imperative for readers to approach him with caution. Without proofreading it, I set the tear-soaked page onto the coffee table before my bed and slowly made my way around my bedroom. Not wanting anyone to have to deal with any types of messes, I carefully returned the few articles of clothing on my chair to their appropriate destinations, before moving to my bed to dress it down.
Positioned perfectly atop the sheet I needed to tighten and tuck under the mattress was he. With his green eyes and a loud purring sound he stared up at me from the bed. Emotionlessly, I pulled on the sheet anyway, startling him to an upright position. Silently, I walked around to the other side and went to do the same when I see a black blur that was none other than my cat lunge for the wrinkles in the fabric as they are smoothed away. Eagerly, he continued to chase these wrinkles around my comforter, sheets, and pillows; something he has never done before. I smiled weakly and stroked him over the head, then continued into the bathroom to fetch the fatal bottle of bleach. In a chipper mood, he leapt off the bed and followed me down the hall without pausing to consider any of his loud, echoing meows. As I turned around in the bathroom, I found him stretched out on his back in the door way with all extremities grasping the door jam. Quietly, I chuckled as I stepped over him and returned to my room. In a hasty fashion, he rolled, rose, and pranced after me back to the bedroom.
I spent sometime staring at my bed, considering if I should get some large trash bags to cover the linens as I would surely spend some time vomiting before the poison succeeded. During one of these moments, I felt a tug on my hair, accompanied by a loud young meow. I turned to find my cat on my bureau reaching for what appeared to be in his mind an enjoyable toy for him to explore. This time I giggled. He had never acted this way before — so playful and alert. He must have known something was going on.
Looking around on the ground, I found his favorite toy, a fishing rod with two felt fish velcroed to the end of a ribbon. I waved the sea friends in his face and he lit up with excitement before catapulting himself over to the bed (a hobby which he frankly takes very seriously and practices often as I believe his life ob
I wish I could say that these few moments changed my perspective, but for those of us with any mental illness, you know that these thoughts aren’t something you can shake. They are here to stay and haunt you, unfortunately. But it did give me a chance to break free of their hold, even if only for a night, giving me the opportunity to share this story with you.