Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Talk of Suicide Brings Nightmares... Learning to Love Life
Nightmares... The talk of suicide gives me nightmares. My heart pounds out of fear of the comments I will read or hear. I am thankful Robin Williams was loved by so many people... Including me... So I don't have to hear or read the negative comments about suicide.
Suicide is something that has always been in my life. Depression is something I deal with often and suicide makes it into my thoughts. When I was 9 my grandmother committed suicide. I will never forget that day and the comments I heard on the days that followed. My 4th grade teacher the day after my grandma died was reading the paper and my desk was close to his, he looked up from the paper and asked me if I knew the stupid woman who killed herself. I told him that was my grandma. The kids at school all told me she was going to hell. It was hard for me to hear that about a woman I loved and never thought of her doing anything wrong. I didn't understand why she would go to hell and spent many years doing all I could to be "good" in hopes I could get my grandma into heaven.
Then in the 8th grade my great grandparents did a murder suicide. By this time in my life I was pretty numb but it was still hard. I remember a classmate come up to me and asked if that crazy man was related to me. The school counselor told me how brave I was because I didn't cry and was able to come to school everyday not knowing I was completely numb. I also had an uncle thru marriage who killed himself the summer before and a cousin who tried to commit suicide a few years after.
I remember being small and wishing to be dead and maybe that goes thru everyone's mind at some point. I couldn't of been 5 and would hide in the closet and tried to suffocate myself. Where I got that idea is beyond me. As I got older the thoughts didn't go away but got worse. I would cut my wrists and carry around a bag of pills I stole from my parents medicine cabinet just waiting for the courage to go thru with it.
As a young adult I was over medicated by psychiatrists to the point I didn't know where I was or if I ate that day or what I wore the day before. I was on so many meds I lost that little voice in my head that would tell me that probably wasn't a good idea. Cutting got worse and so did my eating disorder. One day I wanted to know what it felt like to be hung. So I bought a rope and tied it around a doorway in my apartment... It was a makeshift wall so the wall and door didn't attach to the ceiling. I put my head thru the rope from my tiptoes forgetting that I would have to be higher than that to get myself back out. I was stuck in the rope for what felt like forever on my tiptoes with no chair around or a phone. I can't remember how I got myself out but after that I told my medical team I was done being on meds.
I have been in multiple psych hospitals from a day to a few days because I was put in there with no choice. I hated how I felt like a criminal as I was strip searched and watched like a child. My last winter before hitting the road my therapist wanted me to go into a day program so I wouldn't be by myself. By that point in time I was done with being babysat and I told her no.
Unfortunately depression is something I manage every day. That is why it is important I get out of bed and have something to do. That is why I don't do nonsense stress... In life or in my job. Nothing is worth having to talk myself out of the demons in my mind. Most days I am good but some things can trigger and it feels like I am back to step one of keeping myself safe. I live each day as bonus because that is what it truly feels like. I feel fortunate to be alive... To have survived my demons thus far. I also know not to take the days for granted and that is why I hate when my days are wasted. I do well but it doesn't mean depression will never get the best of me... Even as I know how to manage there are days where I am scared I won't make it thru. I am thankful for all the days I made it thru... Maybe not unharmed but alive.
Depression truly sucks... Sure you can learn to cope but I hate it when people tell me to just deal. They have no idea of what I have to "deal" with. I have learned what I can handle and what I can't. Living on the road has been the best medication for me. Every day is an adventure and something to look forward to. My stress level stays low and I have been truly happy... I have never known what true happiness was until living on the road. A few months ago I met up with a friend of mine. I was nervous as to what she would say about my lifestyle. She told me my life wasn't normal but if I was happy then my life is what I needed. I am happy most of the time... Yes, I have dealt with bad days and even a few bad weeks but it is nothing like it use to be. I don't take that for granted and still use my coping skills. In general life is pretty good.
The nightmares come and in a few days will be gone. Sometimes I still feel like that child... When someone gets upset or down I fear that they won't stay around... That they will kill themselves. The nightmares come not realizing maybe not everyone thinks like that. Some people can have bad days and they are just that. It isn't the end of their world. For me, after being someone left behind because of suicide, it is hard to realize that not everyone's first response is to kill themselves.
I hope one day mental illness will be taken seriously. It has improved over the years but no where near what it should be. All insurance companies need to cover mental illness and no one should be denied treatment. My theory is every child should have at least a year of therapy before graduating from high school. Really... What would it hurt? Having someone to talk to but also learning to cope with life.
So here is to another day of happiness... New adventures... And living life to the fullest. Life is good!