feeling suicidal

I always figured that i’d die before my time, and that ultimately it would be me to take my own life. Even after I started getting help, I still took unnecessary risks that could have killed me and I still thought “what’s so bad about dying?”

Driving on a highway, I’d pass other cars with a very thin margin of error where, if the pass wasn’t completed successfully, there would be a pretty brutal car crash. I didn’t care – I almost DARED people to crash into me while i passed other cars. I was only thinking about my own life – “oh well, if i die, so what?” until I realized that my actions actually could impact other people.

I don’t drive recklessly anymore. I hate that I let myself get to that point.

You know, there’s nothing wrong with dying, but there’s nothing wrong with living either. Now I really don’t want to die by my own hand



depression medication withdrawal

But there is a downside to medication – the withdrawal effects are BRUTAL even if I miss them by a day.

I experienced withdrawal the first time my dosage was upgraded; my body didn’t react well to the new dose – I got nauseous, dizzy, disoriented, and light-headed. I figured it was the anti-depressants that were causing those symptoms, so I stopped taking them entirely… bad idea. I was bed-ridden for days because I couldn’t move without wanting to throw up.

Anti-depressants are like a dam. They stop the water (depression) from flowing, but water builds up on one side of the dam. Stop taking anti-depressants for more than a day and the dam breaks. Everything that built up beforehand, that wasn’t affecting you, all of a sudden comes out of nowhere and hits you like a sledgehammer.


depression is like an ongoing storm

Sometimes your only option is to ride it out by treading water (using whatever thought exercises you’ve got). Sometimes, it’s not a heavy storm at all and you can enjoy it or have it affect you minimally. But sometimes, it’s too intense to ride out, and you need whatever you can get to survive it. My psychiatrist was the coast guard who came to my rescue when I was drowning at sea, but only if I knew in advance I might need it. Medication on the other hand was like a life-preserver, something I had to keep me afloat even when I was too tired to keep treading water.


when people found out

My sister was worried about me – I was an asshole of a brother and for some reason tried to traumatize her by showing her the cuts on my arms. She didn’t really know what to do or how to help, but she told my parents. My parents were confused, lost, upset, and kept asking “Why do you think this way? Why can’t you just think happy? You have everything going for you!!!”

They had the hardest time, I think. They didn’t know the extent of what I was going through, but they did their best to find out. Their approach wasn’t the best – my parents have always been kind of overbearing – but they did it out of love and I appreciate that. Sure, they violated my privacy – looking at my IM chat logs, for example – but they really wanted to help. They called MH crisis lines for advice, tried to get me to see a counselor (miserable failure), lost their shit when they finally saw my cuts…

My friends were… dismissive. It hurt. There was such a taboo around MH issues that people just downplayed it. Kind of a “everyone has bad days, you think you’re the only one?” or “you really need to get out more” or “stop being so emo.”

It crushed me. I needed them, so despite their ignorance, I clung to them. At some point in time, I realized some friends were going to brush it off, and so I stopped talking to them about it.



how to help

Don’t tiptoe around us like we’re going to either explode or fall apart at any moment. If you have someone in your life who has mental health problems, what they need you to do most is not treat them any differently to how you would usually when they confide in you how they feel.

And please please please… do not stop inviting your friends out when they decline invitations due to feeling awful. Cajole them from time to time, get them out of their isolation and remind them that there is good in the world, that there is light and love and that you are there for them.

One time not long after I got diagnosed, my best friend and her husband showed up out of the blue and decided they were taking me out for the day to cheer me up. It worked – it got me out of the house and I actually did something productive rather than sitting in my room with my thoughts.

It’s the small things like that that can really make a huge difference to someone who feels like there is no hope at all in the world for them.


getting better

This post may be triggering for its mention of mental health stigma.

I haven’t been struggling with mental illness in a while. I would say in the last 6 months I’ve had like under 5 bad days. I know that when I was in a bad state I would believe that someone who was winning the depression battle was an asshole and obviously not as depressed and fucked up as me. It gave me no solace at all knowing that there were other people hurting for the same reasons as me: grief is a deep dark place. I’ve never felt so out of control of myself as I did when I was in the thick of grieving Mark’s death. Now I am at the top of my game in life and so satisfied with almost every aspect of things. I know things will take a lull again in time, but I want to just ride this high and give life a shot as though I don’t have a mental illness. With the awareness I’m gaining and the medication doing the right work, it finally feels as though I really am actually healthy.


finding love before happiness

I’m not saying that the key to be happy is to have a man who makes you happy. I’m saying that the people closest to you should be compatible and supportive. Duh right? But especially when mental health is not optimal. You always hear that before you can love a partner you have to love yourself. That’s bullshit. I don’t love myself and I love Michael. I respect myself, and that’s much more realistic. I don’t know the key to being happy. Happiness is an emotion, not a lifestyle, and cannot be sustained as an everyday for long.