“I choose to FIGHT BACK! I choose to RISE, not fall! I choose to LIVE, not die! And I know, I know that what’s within me is also WITHIN YOU.” ~ Mayor John Pappas (“City Hall” movie quote)
I have written here often about my struggle with a Depressive Disorder and my journey of healing and remission, suicidal thoughts and contemplation.
My recent post “A Hope in Hell” is about it.
As I mentioned I suffer recurrent episodes, usually for what seems like no reason but sometimes triggered by some environmental issue and even when the trigger is over, I’m already stuck in the depression and it’s no longer about that. Usually that’s not the case though. Sometimes I like to use environmental things as the scapegoats though because it can seem easier to have a reason for being depressed than being depressed “just because.” But the truth is, it’s usually just because. Because I have a chronic condition. A lifelong condition that must be managed and coped with. The initial onset was probably triggered by one or a couple environmental issue/s but even when those issues are no longer issues or not as bad, the damage is done. And it runs in my family.
And some days it’s better to know it’s “just because” because then I’m reminded it’s an illness and I’m better able to hold on and cope til it lifts and do what I have to to get myself better knowing that while I feel worthless and like there’s no purpose in anything, it’s not true, it’s just the illness deceiving me. And when there’s no pleasure in anything I can remind myself it’s because of my condition and I will again find the joy and pleasure I often feel. I find a healthy balance of acknowledging it as the sickness it is but also knowing I have some control of how to react to and cope with it. I can still empower myself even with a chronic illness such as Depression.
Sometimes I have real problems but I know they are not what are depressing me.
Sometimes I think they are what is depressing me and later realize it wasn’t really the problems; they were just an easy excuse.
And sometimes it seems everything is going well but it’s still there hanging over me and dwelling within. Like it’s not connected to anything on Earth and that’s usually the worst.
I no longer have the general depression in the middle of each severe flare up, usually, like I used to and severe episodes aren’t as frequent as they used to be. But they do occur and when they do, it can get bad.
As I also mentioned for nearly fourteen years until October, 2012, I struggled with suicidal thoughts and contemplation, in different degrees, almost everyday, without exaggeration. Serious urges, thoughts, contemplation, usually for hours on end day in and day out. When I turned twenty-one years old, I was able to go for three weeks sometimes, although not often, then eventually three months, then four months, throughout the years, without serious suicidal thoughts or contemplation. But after the three or four months, it would come back to stay until another extremely rare “episode” (interval in the middle of suicidal depressive episodes) of a few months/weeks without death urges would occur.
Usually I couldn’t even go that long though without them. But through the years I worked on my inner self to help me prevent impending episodes and cope much better when I can’t prevent them. Meditation, positive quotes, inspirational songs and lyrics, gratitude activities, various techniques….all help me greatly because I made them a habit. They are ingrained into me now to help me immensely, not cure me or pull me out of a serious depression but help me cope when it gets bad or prevent some episodes before they get bad to where I can’t get out of it for weeks or months.
In October 2012 I had my last serious suicidal thought/urge/contemplation until last month, May 2014! One year and seven months without death urges and serious thoughts of terminating my life! That’s longer than I ever dreamed I would be able to go without having serious thoughts of ending my own life.
I still suffered severe episodes of depression since October 2012 and felt suicidal thoughts/urges trying to emerge every now and again but I was able to keep them under control for the most part.
I’m sorry to say I had a bad relapse recently but it’s true, I did and there’s no denying it. But one year and seven months is a great accomplishment for me. For someone who was dangerously suicidal almost everyday for nearly fourteen years. And I know it’s in me now to do that again, maybe even longer.
So instead of viewing this relapse in a negative way and seeing it as me failing, I will view it in a more positive light as a great accomplishment and knowing I have it in me to live for over one year with no serious suicidal thoughts and urges/contemplation. I never knew I can go that long without those urges and serious thoughts. They were always so much an integral part of me.
My positive habits and life philosophy that is ingrained into me are still with me, etched upon my heart forever but depression is like an illness and it can still get so bad. The positive habits, techniques, and philosophy I live every day are no cure but they’re helping me cope when it’s bad and just be happier and more joyous in general.
Sometimes I get depressed and it’s a heaviness weighing on my life, my body, squeezing my insides and I struggle with feelings of inherent worthlessness and a general sense of hopelessness even when I’m not struggling with or hopeless about any specific problem.
Sometimes I know I can accomplish things just as well as anyone, I know I am blessed, I know I have so much, I know environmental problems will end, I even have basically good self esteem, but still, I’m depressed and want to die. I am well aware people around the world have “worse problems” but reminding me of that often serves to worsen my guilt and depression, not lessen it.
I don’t get suicidal easily over things people say to me and little things that happen in my environment. It’s no one’s fault and even if someone says or does something negative to me and I kill myself after that, that will still be no one’s fault. It’s a sickness. Although sometimes when I’m depressed I don’t realize it’s a sickness and just believe I’m inherently flawed and must escape this life.
I felt this way for weeks, recently. The episode started out as they usually do. Slow and mild. Those are the ones that usually last for weeks or months. Sometimes I’m hit hard with depression and it’s severe, right off, without beginning as mild then getting worse. It’s bad right away, it hits hard, almost physical, like something hard and heavy slamming into my whole body. The darkness takes over me and I am overwhelmed in complete despair and blackness. Sometimes I have to succumb to my bed or sit down somewhere if I’m not at home when it hits, until the heaviest part of the darkness eases enough for me to move again.
This was a great struggle for me in college, I would miss classes, be late, fail exams, have to lay or sit somewhere and just not be able to get back up until way later.
Those ones that come on so fast and hit hard like that, usually only last a few hours or days though, when they come on quickly like that. They aren’t considered by professionals as “clinical” or “major” episodes since they last less than two weeks but they can feel just as bad and be just as dangerous.
This one started out slow and mild and gradually got worse. And lasted just over one month.
I lost interest in almost everything. I mostly avoided most things that I do for fun, like posting here and other places. I mostly just did things I have to do like work, shower, brushing teeth…most of which felt like life draining hassles. I did still read a lot though, light reading, mostly, so I wouldn’t have to concentrate much, nothing that required much thought usually.
In my recent post, “A Hope in Hell,” I stated that a specific, distressing incident triggered the bad episode and relapse of suicidal urges and thoughts and contemplation.
Last month I was crossing a busy street with lots of traffic, cars and trucks speeding. I saw a caterpillar crossing the street as well. They are very difficult to pick up. They slide out of my hands, constantly moving. I try to rescue them and other insects/kreepy krawlers whenever I can, putting them in grass so they won’t be stepped on by accident or intentionally.
I’m afraid when I pick them up though,that they will be so scared they’ll have a heart attack and die. So I’m so afraid to put them in my hands for that reason. I was crossing the street weeks ago and wanted desperately to pick up the caterpillar so s/he wouldn’t be crushed by a car. But the light was changing and as I said, it’s a busy street and big with traffic going both ways. I knew I probably couldn’t get the caterpillar to safety before the light changed and cars and trucks started speeding. I would be holding up traffic so I stopped, contemplated attempting to pick up the insect (or whatever caterpillars are) and decided against it. That it probably wouldn’t accomplish much other than holding up traffic. I believed that the caterpillar would be safe probably, just slipping under the cars, not getting hurt.
But I was wrong. I watched the poor thing get crushed then crushed again and die. I was already slightly depressed for a few days but that day was good before that happened. I instantly felt like ending my own life. I felt it physically all over, my body aching to die.
I was overwhelmed in pain and guilt. I’m still devastated when I think of it.
It took a lot of strength and energy for me not to do anything to put myself in mortal danger that day. I came so close. It would have been so easy. The only thing that stopped me is the fear of hurting anyone else physically while I was attempting to end my own life and the fear of inflicting psychological damage upon anyone forced to witness or be involved in any way.
I’m almost always conscious of how things I do may impact others. And I try to act in ways that are best for all of us or just for everyone else.
Usually the only thing that stops me when I come close to killing myself is fear that it won’t work and I’ll suffer the consequences like damage to my body and along with it, look even more like a loser.
But I don’t always feel that fear. And that day last month, it wasn’t that fear that stopped me. It was concern for the others who would have been directly involved. That’s the main fear that stops me when the method I’m contemplating may somehow involve others.
So I had to hold myself against a wall and battle the urges violently flowing through me in waves, pressing my body against it hoping desperately they would soon subside. Hoping desperately I would be able to walk home without the violent urges threatening my life.
I had to try hard to not have one little lapse in judgment that would result in a serious catastrophe for a lot of people. It took all I had in me.
They’re not always mere thoughts; they escalate to urges, almost physical, almost seeming impulsive. Like I have to go. And it has to be now. Right now. It’s not a choice to experience them but it IS my choice to give into them and end my life or battle them and not give in and end it. Physical actions are NOT beyond my control. I have a choice how to act even though I don’t always have the choice how to think or feel.
I don’t go into great detail in person or in writing about my suicidal urges and fantasies out of fear of triggering distress in someone who may already be unstable or distressed. Especially in writing, for anyone at all has access to it and can read it over and over whenever they want. I’m very open in general about my condition but I don’t take chances like that.
Also I don’t usually tell people when I’m currently struggling or I try to lessen the blow by down-grading the severity of it til it’s over, then sometimes I tell how bad it was.
I said before I’m so used to it that sometimes I’m way too casual when speaking of it and talk about it as if I’m talking about my plans for the weekend or my favorite book or movie or like someone would speak of a trivial problem s/he’s having. I tend to forget now and then the way it shocks the hell out of people and that it’s not a problem most people are used to encountering like that. And I don’t always like the reactions I am met with.
Lol As devastating as it is it’s also quite amusing in a way.
Or maybe I’m the only one who thinks so. I got in trouble my whole life since I was a little girl for laughing at inappropriate things, like something spilling, someone falling, kids being bad in school, someone putting a worm on the teacher’s desk in high school and her screaming…and I’m very easily genuinely amused even over stuff most people would probably find just plain stupid. I have belly laughs that hurt almost everyday, even when I’m by myself, over the dumbest things that wouldn’t even faze anyone else.
Even though I struggle with severe depression, I’m still a lighthearted girl who can find light, love, and laughter just about anywhere.
One night, a few weeks ago, I really contemplated ending it all. It was on my mind frequently everyday, day and night. When I would wake up in the morning, it was on my mind. That one night I felt I had to make a choice. I could only feel two strong emotions for the most part, severe emotional pain with the desire to end everything good and bad alike, and powerful love. I still felt love in me for everyone, universal love. It wasn’t completely masked by the pain and desire to die. It was at my surface. Swirling in me, tempting me to give in and surrender to it. It was in my consciousness, breathing, pulsating strong as ever in sync with the rhythm of my heartbeat.
Like it always is and is now.
Venturing through my veins.
It was like a tug of war game.
One force, a deadly force, pulling me one way and a loving, life affirming force pulling me the other way. It’s exhausting.
As much as I wanted to kill myself, I gave into the love instead. I let the death wishes and suicidal pain take the back burner, summoning my love to the forefront of my brain and my whole being, even more. I decided to stay alive and battle the deadly urges, threatening my life, just so that I can go on loving. Everyone and everything I can. In any ways I can.
Love is so healing. Even when it feels I’m not loved in return. I believe it’s better to love than be loved if I can’t have both. Throughout my days I have experienced rejection, in various forms, on some occasions, by people I wanted to be friends with, one’s I hoped to develop some form of relationship with. While it can be quite agonizing, there’s some kind of comfort knowing I’m still able to love those who reject me. I’m still able to love in many ways. In the form of a positive affection directed at the person even if just in my head, wishing people the best whether or not they want the best for me or even care, still thinking and speaking positively of those who don’t love me.
Love can be a strong positive affection(romantic or platonic) for someone or something with no action taken. Or it can be a verb, an action, an expression.
When we reach out to help, heal, comfort…we reach out in love.
Maybe I will never accomplish anything great, maybe I’ll never save someone’s life but I can do simple things with great love. Share an uplifting quote, go the distance to help someone in need, provide hugs and smiles to all I can…there are limitless possibilities and reasons for carrying on in the midst of all the pain.
I couldn’t pull myself out of the depression or completely stop the thoughts of killing myself but I was still able to choose to live and not give into them.
Now I’m very happy again, so hopeful and inspired everyday again. It’s so strange and fascinating how that can happen like that. How nothing can change environmentally or in any way but my general mood changes dramatically. I’m inspired to take pictures again, to write, to put on my makeup and look pretty. To look up at the sky and feel an even greater depth of joy than I felt in the midst of my depression when I looked at it in awe. The feelings of worthlessness are gone, the hopelessness, the darkness, the despair. It’s all gone, just because I held on. Time itself healed it. It was nothing I did. I just carried on and coped as best I could and here I am, back again!
That itself is inspirational, the fact that I did little else but hold on and it eventually ended.
If you ever feel like giving up or giving in whether it’s something like suicidal urges or something not so dramatic like maybe just lashing out in anger or carrying out actions based on strong unpleasant emotions or thoughts, I hope you will instead tap into the love in you, bring it to your consciousness, and act on that instead. Like I did when I came so close to selling out. Maybe it’s love for yourself, another person, an animal, a thing, an activity, anything, universal love for all sentient beings….anything. Just summon whatever sweet love you have in you and act on or bask in it.
It’s ok to experience and acknowledge those unpleasant, painful, destructive, thoughts, feelings, and emotions but you don’t have to give into them and let them conquer you. Let love conquer instead. Let love prevail.
“When you come close to sellin’ out, reconsider.” ~ LeeAnn Womack (I Hope You Dance)
“A purpose of human life, no matter who is controlling it, is to love whoever is around to be loved.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut
“Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.” ~ Mother Teresa
“I am here to serve. I am here to inspire. I am here to love. I am here to live my truth.” – Deepak Chopra
“Love everybody for who they are. We’re not supposed to try to change people. We should allow people to be who they are and love them as they are.” ~ Dolly Parton
“The meaning of life is to love yourself completely, free yourself and others of guilt, and become totally visible no matter the risk.”
Surrender to universal love.
P.s. When you get the choice to sit it out or dance…….
I hope you dance.