On December 3, 2009, I was in the deepest pit of my depression. One day I may be able to share specific details of that night, but not yet. The best thing is, is that I survived! And on December 3, 2010, I am so thankful that I had the courage to post the following note on my personal Facebook page. I thought I would share the note with you today, unedited and exactly how I wrote it.
“Today I am not sad. Today I will remember and be thankful. Life is good.”
One year ago today, I almost lost my life.
One year ago today, I almost lost my life. Not to a car crash, not to cancer, not to anything “understandable”. I almost lost my life to the thoughts in my brain and to my own hand. I was more scared than I’ve ever been. Yes, I almost killed myself.
Embarrassing to admit, but I am trying to get over the shame. I wasn’t sure if I’d make it to see 2010. I sank deeper and deeper into depression, and I couldn’t do a thing about it. I loved my life; have 3 amazing kids, a wonderful husband, and a great relationship with my parents, close to my sister, not to mention all my incredible friends and acquaintances. Being sad did not make sense. I had amazing support from my friends and family, but even though it helped a bit, it didn’t get me out of the hole I was getting deeper and deeper into everyday.
Now that it’s a year anniversary since my great crash, the memories are coming back so strongly. For weeks, I could barely leave my house (let alone bed some days). I couldn’t eat and lost all flavour to food. I definitely couldn’t look after my kids, since I couldn’t even look after myself. Many times over the months that I was so far down, I wanted the pain inside to just stop. My worse/best night was Dec. 3rd. I truly didn’t know if I’d make it through the night alive. I wanted the pain to be gone; I didn’t want to be a burden to my family. That night, I met God face to face, and he grabbed on to me and held me through the night. I made it. Since then, even when I am down, I have a HOPE I’ve never had before. I’ve been on numerous medications (and I don’t like medication!), have been to a few different psychologist/counsellors (one that I’m seeing now is amazing, and I’m looking forward to discovering myself through his guidance), have had more conversations that I could count with friends that are suffering as well. All of this had been good, yet I still suffer bad days. And no, I’m not “cured”. I’m honestly not sure if I’ll ever be “cured”, but it will not stop me from living my life. I understand it better know, will talk about it, but will NOT dwell in it or be shamed by it. I will not let it define who I am!!
The misconceptions about depression and anxiety are numerous. You’d think that after a year, I would be “cured”, yet I still battle ups and downs. And even though everyone has “bad” days (and yes, I have “regular” bad days, too), only people who have suffered the debilitating effects of depression or anxiety can truly understand. I said to a friend the other day, it’s similar to a couple who doesn’t have children trying to give advice about parenting. It just doesn’t work…because they haven’t been there with kids of their own! Same is true for depression. And that’s why, since I talked to my daughter a year ago when I was at my worse, and she asked me why I’m so sad. I said I don’t know, but it’s not her or her brother or sister or daddy, and she said to me “Don’t worry, Mommy, I won’t tell anyone”. Right there I knew I had to open up and talk. I told her to talk to whoever she needed to, since I wasn’t there for her at all. And for me opening up and talking has brought so many amazing people into my life. And I’m doing my best not to make depression “normal”, but to make it understood, and that it’s not an easy illness to “just get over” quickly.
Depression is caused my many different things. Could be post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), could be situational (divorce, death, etc.), could be a chemical imbalance in the brain. Whatever is the cause, the illness is horrible. I believe that I had issues in my past from my teen years, which I’m still dealing with, as well as a chemical imbalance. I’m terrified of my daughters/son becoming teenagers. I don’t want them to be hurt like I was. I’m trying to be open and honest about my illness, so hopefully if they feel lost, alone, scared, they can turn to me and God for guidance.
If you have anyone in your life that seems to be down all the time or starts separating themselves from you…reach out to them. Even if they don’t seem like the “type” to have depression, you never know (people couldn’t believe that I was depressed…being outgoing, happy, social, etc.). Ask them out for coffee, talk with them without judgment, wash their dishes, or bring a meal to them. They are NOT just faking it! Love them unconditionally and remind them that God loves them unconditionally. And hopefully you’ll be one of the people in their life that will help guide them to happiness. No words can express my gratitude and thankfulness for my family and friends that have stuck by me; being supportive, loving, caring and non-judgmental over the last year. And I know I can count on them for continued support and prayers. And I want them to know that I am here for anyone that has a bad day, bad moment, or a bad week. I’ve been there and understand. Let me help you, as others have helped me!
Today I am not sad. Today I will remember and be thankful. Life is good.
2 Corinthians 1 3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.