Sitting on windowsills without wanting to jump

Hey there! Guess who isn’t suicidal anymore!

No?

Too glib? 

Yikes. Sorry about that. 

This is like the time I let some of my friends know I was in the emergency room by sending them snapchat selfies of myself in a hospital gown.

For some reason people get mad when you don’t seem like you’re taking your health seriously.

Go figure.

In my defense it is hard to talk to people about being suicidal. I mean, if people are uncomfortable talking about mental health to begin with, they are terrified about hearing about suicidal ideation. 

Hell they may not even know the phrase suicidal ideation exists.

My parents and close friends have been aces these past couple (years) months. They’ve dealt with my worsening depression, anxiety, and panic attacks far better than I could ever have hoped and I am constantly, continually grateful. And what’s more, they’ve found ways to understand that through it all I’m still me. 

Under all the crying and screaming and bruising and weight loss, I was still me.

Admittedly a broken down version of me who needed a lot of help to get back to normal, but the point still stands.

A lot of people have a hard time seeing that. A lot of the time people you care about, people you don’t, well meaning friends and family, and people who couldn’t give less of a fuck only see you as your mental health status. 

And sometimes they think you can’t even tell.

Well trust me. I can tell.

I was genuinely scared to write this post because I don’t know how it will affect how people see me. As amazing as it might seem, there are still some people out there who don’t know that I’m a mess. 

I know. Frankly, I’m astonished too.

Fortunately, I’m pretty sure only strangers and people who are already at least a little privy to my personal life read this little blog of mine.

 That said, it’s still hard for me to talk about being suicidal because honestly it’s still hard to accept that I actually was.

When I think back I don’t ever remember thinking “I want to die”. It was always more of a nebulous desire to stop hurting floating around me than a solid wish. 

MAKE THIS STOP MAKE THIS STOP PLEASE GOD I WILL DO ANYTHING TO MAKE THIS STOP

I didn’t want to die. I just didn’t necessarily want to live. 

Now those might not seem like different things to some people but to me it was all the difference in the world.

I wanted out. I was so unalterably sad, in such constant pain, and in such a state of resigned terror that this was going to be the rest of my life that I didn’t know what to do. I was desperate and broken and scared and I just wanted it all to 

Stop.

I would get so scared when I thought like this that I would hold my breath, put knives against my skin, open windows in high buildings and stand there, crying and staring, willing myself to live.

So I told my therapist. And then I went to the hospital. I wrote a whole post on that when I got out, so I won’t go into much detail on that subject, but suffice it to say, that was both a wake up call and a turning point.

I was living my worst nightmare and that more than anything compelled me to get back to being alive. 

And so I did.

Two months later and some actual medication that works and I’m feeling more like myself than I have in years.

It’s exhilarating and unbelievable and absolutely terrifying.

I’m going slow at the moment. As hard as it can be for me to grasp sometimes, I’m sick. Mental illness is a disease like any other and like any other chronic illness it will ebb and flare and there will be good and bad days.

And I’m trying to be okay with that.

For now, I am good. I’m happy. I’m stable and yet I can still feel the whole range of emotions I’m used to.

I’m less reactive and yet I’m not numb. And for that, I’m grateful. 

I didn’t think I would ever get here for a while. And sometimes I still worry that I’m not here to stay. 

And that’s okay. If I slip it doesn’t have to be all the way back down. And if it is hell, I got here once, I can find my way back again.

But I’m not going to worry about that for now. For now I’m going to be alive, just like I promised myself I would be. 

Thoughts for 2015

I’m a sucker for new beginnings.

New Year’s is one of my favourite holidays. It’s the mother of all new beginnings, and to me, and many others I’m sure, it’s so much more than just another day.

As evidenced by the significant lack of posts on this blog for the past few months weeks, I’ve been having a hard time. In a previous post, The Fear, I talked about how I was slipping back into old habits, the routine panic attacks, the self-destructive thoughts about my worth as a person, and worst of all, the constant push away from the people who love me most. Unfortunately, this all continued pretty steadily until about three weeks ago.

Understandably, I was pretty excited when the big new beginning came around.

This particular New Year felt like a major turning point. It was the end of a year with a lot of joy and a whole lot more pain, strength, and growth than I expected. At the moment, I’ve been resting, relaxing, spending time with the people and the dog I love most, and setting realistic goals for myself, not for the next year, but for the next phase of my life.

And now, I get to move forward.

While I haven’t been writing on here, I have, mercifully, been writing. A lot of it is more emotional and private than I’m willing to share (and I’m saying this as the Queen of over-sharing private and emotional thoughts), but there are a few things I want to fix up and post.

I’ve decided to ignore the fact that I’m nearly two weeks into 2015, and will be doing a year-in-review post of 2014 at some point next week. One of my major goals for this year is to write more — poems, stories, journal entries, and you guessed it, blog posts. Anything goes, but I’m especially excited to devote more love to blogging, as it’s some of the most cathartic, empowering writing that I have at my disposal.

Happy 2015, everyone.

Octobers

This has been a bit of an evening. I just met with the Into the Woods cast for our last (official) gathering and I’m feeling it.

As is always the case near the end of a show, I was exhausted and ready for a bit of a break. It hadn’t really hit me that Woods was over and that I had actually done it until tonight.

Tonight, I also started coming to terms with how vastly different my life is from a year ago.

A year ago I dropped a callback for a show that I loved, sobbing because I couldn’t imagine adding any more pressure to my life. This year I worked my ass off to get cast in one of my dream shows.

If you’ve never dealt with anxiety or panic attacks, I don’t think I can quite convey what they feel like. The feeling that you’re completely useless, disappoint everyone you love, and have nothing to offer the world. It can get hopeless. It can get to the point where you feel like you’re watching your surroundings blur past and you can’t move and you can’t scream and there’s no one who can convince you that this is real, that you are alive.

You can become so numb, weak, and terrified that all that matters is getting from moment to moment. Forget getting through the day. Get through the morning. Get through your class. Get through waking up crying for no reason and forcing yourself to move, to get up, to just get up.

In general, the parts of last year that I remember are not the happy moments. I remember being desperate to snap out of it, to be able to breathe, to be able to handle stress like a normal human being.

I remember the complete dependence on my friends and loved ones, reliance on people who I will never forget and who I will never be able to repay.

I remember crying until I threw up, hyperventilating until I passed out, and screaming without being able to stop myself.

But you know what? I’m lucky.

I had people who loved me, and little by little I became stronger, more aware of myself, and lucky enough to pull myself out. Not everyone can do that. Not everyone has the resources or a mental illness that will allow them to do that.

I don’t think that I’m stronger than anyone else and I know that there are people who go through hell I couldn’t imagine, but I won’t minimize my personal hell to acknowledge someone else’s.

Last October, I was secluded. I was addicted to my friends and family, putting far more pressure on them than they deserved. I hated and feared myself so much that I was terrified to be alone. I had a boyfriend who endured more than he should have for me. I could barely get through my classes and could barely remember my weeks.

This October, a lot has changed. I worked on a huge show that I adored, and had the time of my fucking life. I learned how to do things on my own, and little by little, I’m learning how to be okay with being alone. My relationship ended. And I finally accepted that it was okay to let that happen. I’m here, and I feel like I’m actually living my life. I am so grateful, and so proud of what I have been able to do.

I still have anxiety and I always will. I’m sure that I haven’t endured my last panic attack. But you know what? I’ve gotten this far from October to October. I’m not afraid to keep going.