I'm not talking about a bad day where nothing goes your way and you're left feeling pissy, deflated, and in need of a merlot at the end of your day. True depression is debilitating in a way that one simply can NOT comprehend unless one has struggled through it.
The death of Robin Williams has really struck a chord within me. I cried when I read the news. Not because I knew him. I never got the pleasure of meeting him. I've only ever seen him on a screen.
I cried because I know exactly how he was feeling when he made the decision to take his own life.
I've never told my story before, but I'm going to now in the hopes that it will bring hope/help to someone out there who is thinking of checking out too early. So here goes (and please try not to judge me too harshly)...
There is a point in my life, about eight years ago, when I thought I was going to lose my struggle with depression. I couldn't eat and I wasted away to 115 pounds. I didn't shower for a couple of weeks at a time. I couldn't get out of bed... even opening my eyes was difficult.
I checked into a mental health facility, three times in two years, at $15,000 a pop. We told the kids that I went to visit my cousin in Atlanta. She was gracious enough to play along with the charade for the sake of my children.
At one point I was taking nine different prescription pills, several times a day (as prescribed), in an attempt to maintain some semblance of sanity/happiness. When that didn't work I added alcohol to numb the pain. I drank to a black out almost every night. There were many days I'd show up to work still drunk. I had an affair with a married man and broke up another family. I quit my high paying job on my second go-round in a mental health facility. I left my family and moved out of my house. I was banned from my in-laws home. Toward the end nearly everyone I knew shunned me because I was so out of my mind.
There's a period of about three years that I can't even clearly remember. Huge blocks of time that exist as memories for every around me... but not for me.
I can't tell you just how disconcerting it is to go somewhere you've never been, only to be told that yes, you have been there before and blah blah blah. Yep that's what it sounds like: blah, blah, blah... Because how can you have spent an entire day somewhere when you have absolutely no recollection, no memory of it?
Most people who know me have absolutely NO clue about any of this. Some know snipets. Some made up things. Some spread rumors. It doesn't really matter though. Here's the thing....
This was me: I was a successful business woman with a great job, a loving husband who spoiled and supported me, and three beautiful, perfect children. I had a lovely home in the suburbs on the good side of town. I drove a nice car. I had a big circle of friends. I had everything a girl could want.
And still I was saddled with a crippling sadness that left me so stricken that I saw no other option than to end it all.
I tried several times. Lucky for me I wasn't very good at it, (or I was found in time), so I failed several times too.
For the sake of my privacy, I won't go into the icky details of those attempts. Some of them are too disturbing for even me to think about. But I will tell you that I feel so fucking lucky to have made it through relatively unscathed.
My husband went down to the depths of hell to fight for me. I still have my beautiful family, a nice home, nice cars, and a nice life. I no longer have a fancy corporate job, but that's ok. Everything is ok. Even if I had lost everything, I know that everything would still be ok. And that's what I want you all to know.
It's going to be ok.
It will get better.
You are loved. I love you. I may not know you, but I do.
I know your pain. I've visited hell and I have the scars forever burned into my soul.
You will have scars too. Some may be visible, some may not. But it will be ok. You will be ok. It will get better. I know it may feel like the night will never end, and you may have been stuck in the darkness for years... But the sun will shine for you again. I promise you, I promise you it will get better.
It did for me and my world is so much brighter now because of it! Yours will be brighter soon too. I promise you. Just please, don't take your light away from the world... I may never meet you, I may not know you. BUT I DO CARE IF YOU LIVE OR DIE.
And to those of you who have never been through it, to those of you who say, "Snap out if it" - stop saying that. In fact, don't talk. Just listen. And if nothing is said, just be there. Just. Be. There. That is honestly all that's required of you.
True depression is debilitating in a way that one simply can NOT comprehend unless one has struggled through it. Sadly some of us don't make it through.
To those of you who've lost that struggle: I dedicate this little blog post to you.
To those of you still struggling: If you are feeling suicidal I am begging you to please talk to someone, go to the emergency room, or call the national suicide prevention hotline at: 1-800-273-8255. I care what happens to you.