Eight years ago, I wanted to die. Heavy, I know. But there I sat on the floor of my room, pill bottles in hand, ready to put an end to all of the pain, suffering, and heartache I had been battling for the last three years. Depression and anxiety had taken control of my life. The highs were incredible, but the lows were devastating.
Getting out of bed became a challenge; sleep was non-existent due to nightmares, and ultimately I felt defeated. Luckily, there was still a glimmer of hope, a small flame inside me not ready to go out quite yet. So, I made a deal with myself. I would come clean to my family and my therapist about everything and see-through whatever treatment plan they saw fit. But if things hadn’t changed by the end of that plan, I would put a permanent end to my suffering.
I think we all can all agree that’s quite the ultimatum to make with yourself at only 16 years old, but I couldn’t bear living another moment in the mental and emotional agony plaguing my life. So it was decided. I would be removed from school for a month and go into a partial hospitalization program to receive intensive individual and group therapy.
I despised it. Being monitored every second of every day made me feel like a child again. I wasn’t allowed to handle sharp objects without adult supervision, medication was locked away, and I couldn’t even shower with the door closed.
It sucked, and I was left wishing I had ended it when I had the chance. I rarely participated in group therapy, and I despised my assigned clinician. But every day from 8 a.m to 5 p.m, I was forced to go to treatment. Eventually, I began to participate, and my clinician and I even started to get along. The lack of freedom and tough love I received in treatment was just what I needed.
Because if you couldn’t tell, I didn’t kill myself. I ended up graduating high school, which was a significant accomplishment for me as I never thought I’d make it to graduation. After high school, things were going great. I excelled in college, moved out of the state temporarily, met my current boyfriend, whom I love dearly, and even landed my dream job.
But in the midst of all that, things began to plummet once again. Why? Simply put, I wasn’t being treated properly. What was thought to be Clinical Depression and Generalized Anxiety Disorder was Bipolar.
I know, I know. This is supposed to be a tale of hope, and now it’s just getting sad again. But to tell you my life has been perfect since going into treatment would be a lie. Sometimes it gets worse before it gets better.
The mood swings, irritability, euphoria, and sadness, became packaged and tied together with a neat little bow, Bipolar. But the knowing doesn’t always make it easy, and in this case, it sent me into a downward spiral faster than I could blink.
I was left with so many questions and little to no answers. My biggest one being, how do I move forward? This dark cloud had engulfed me for so long, surrounding me with no exit route in sight. So how do I forge one?
That’s the golden question. Because we know it’s our job to pull ourselves out of this miserable cycle, but figuring out how to do that is the hardest part. It’s easy to convince ourselves to be happy, but that only lasts for so long before we are pulled back into that dark cloud of uncertainty.
So what happens when you feel happiness is unattainable? When you’re struggling with any mental illness, you’re quick to feel as if you’re standing in the way of your own happiness. When in reality, you’re merely trying to navigate your life’s rubble, wondering when it all started to cave in on you. And that’s a mental illness in a nutshell; it’s continuously digging yourself out of the rubble.
So what’s the point? If I know my highs are temporary, and my lows can be debilitating, why should I keep pushing forward? Well, for happiness. My friend recently told me that life isn’t about living in pure bliss. It’s about finding those moments of happiness, no matter how small, and holding onto that feeling they give you.
I understand life can be difficult, and sometimes the bad trumps the good. The point of writing this isn’t telling you, “It will get better” because sometimes it doesn’t right away. But I promise that if you fight to hold onto those small moments of happiness, life will start to feel worth living.
Eight years ago, I wanted to kill myself, and while this journey has been challenging, I am so happy I didn’t.
September 3rd, 2020. My 12 year-old son was hospitalized for suicidal thoughts that were raging through his mind. In the weeks to follow, our family was shattered. He was diagnosed with intrusive thoughts OCD. You are not alone. We are still on his journey to recovery.
Your former neighbor
Thank you so much for sharing this. Nobody is alone in this fight. So many people struggle with mental illness and that’s why I feel it’s so important to share the parts of your story you feel comfortable sharing. Thank you so much for reaching out. Your kids are absolutely amazing and your son is lucky to have a mother like you who cares so much!