Astonishment and Thanks

First of all —

Um. Hi there.

I was planning on putting up my post-hospital blog this week but it felt weird posting again without acknowledging how utterly dumbstruck and appreciative of the response to my previous post I am.

Before last week my most popular post had received around a hundred views. Sitting on Windows more than tripled that number and a week later, I’m getting new views every day.

My main response to this has been ???????????????????????????

I have received dozens of comments, likes, and messages on Facebook supporting me and a little more surprisingly, supporting How to Cry in Public.

I started this blog primarily to try and organize my brain and calm my emotions down enough to make them a little more understandable. Then it became a way to force myself not only to address what was going on in my head, but to make it accessible to my friends and family.

Since last week I’ve received messages from close friends, people I’ve never met, people I haven’t talked to in years with support for me, thanks for writing the post, and appreciation of how I talk about mental health.

Apparently, my thoughts on myself, anxiety, depression, and suicidality are more accessible than I ever thought possible.

With last week’s response, my feelings on this blog have changed a bit.

I’m not going to change how I write or what I write about: this is still primarily a place for me to document, heal, and share myself. But I want to do more.

And so, I am going to make a valiant attempt to post once a week!

I figure I’ll stick with Wednesdays in honor of this being the first time I’ve posted two consecutive weeks in a row.

Additionally…I want to start taking questions, if there are any questions to be had. I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on mental health. I just know my own story. But with that said, I’ve been getting so many comments and questions this past week that I feel like there might be more things that people are wondering about that I could possibly answer.

Maybe there’s something I’ve mentioned that you would like explained more thoroughly. Maybe there’s something I haven’t touched on at all that you would like me to. Maybe you just want to share a little bit of your own story. Whichever way, I want to hear.

So! If you feel so moved, contact me in any way you feel comfortable! If we don’t know one another in real life, feel free to comment! I have to approve all comments before they’re posted, so if it’s something you don’t want made public, just say so and I will be the only one who sees it.

And with that, I will see y’all next week!

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. 

Bad days

Sometimes I wake up and there is something wrong. There is an infuriatingly indefinable sense of something being off and I immediately know that I’m going to spend the day trying to shake it.

Sometimes I can. Sometimes I breathe and stretch and eat and distract myself and before I know it I’m laughing at myself for feeling strange and upset in the first place.

Sometimes I can chalk it up as a win, and go about my day as usual, grateful that I made myself feel better and convinced that I am getting better. I’m proud of myself for using the things I’m learning about myself in a practical fashion where I can help myself.

But some days aren’t that easy.

Sometimes when I wake up feeling wrong I shoot around from fine to crying to numb to terrified of myself. I keep fighting and pushing to try and feel better and the moment I do, I fall back to where I started. By the time I fall asleep I’m exhausted and frustrated and can’t remember half the day.

On the days like this I get so angry at myself because I know how to make things better — I just can’t. What good is the therapy and the deep breathing and the increased self-awareness if they aren’t going to do anything?

I am fully conscious of how much my mental and emotional state have improved in the last year. I know that I have far more good days than bad and that the bad times are hours or days, not weeks or months.

Sometimes I am so proud of myself for literally picking myself up off the floor when I was so numb that I didn’t believe I could move. But sometimes that pride doesn’t extend to the days when the awareness that I am getting better means nothing because in that moment, I don’t feel like I have changed at all.

There are days that you can’t win, where you will feel sick and exhausted and heartbreakingly empty for no reason. And you know what? That’s okay.

Those days don’t change anything. You are still the person who knows how to calm yourself down. You are still the person who brings yourself back after a bad day, or a crying jag, or a panic attack.

Let it go.

Let yourself breathe. Push as hard and as far as you can, and if you need to pause or take a full stop, forgive yourself and then acknowledge that there is nothing to forgive yourself for.

The bad days do not negate the work you have done or the progress that you have made.

And sometimes I just need to remind myself of that.