Waking Up Empty

If you’ve ever experienced depression or anxiety, you have probably experienced the emptiness that resounds in your chest the moment you wake up. I felt that this morning for the first time in a while.

I forgot how horrible it feels to be hollow once more. For many weeks I only woke up feeling sleepy, ready to go back to sleep instead of getting up at 5:30 or 6 in the morning. This morning I rose, began to stretch then the empty feeling began to settle into my chest.

I have today off so I should be looking forward to everything I get to do (and don’t have to do) today. I have some work for my side gig to do, I’m going shopping, hopefully going to the gym and best of all, I am getting a sauna and massage. My emptiness calls me to forget those positive activities, instead to focus on how depressed I feel.

This is a feeling I hoped wouldn’t touch me until the new year. I deeply hoped that the light inside me could continue to shine brightly. To light me up like a jack-o-lantern, but it seems that my candle was blown out.

I don’t want my depression to ruin the holidays for me. Not this year!

On Christmas 2016 I was remembering that I had been suicidal for 3 months instead of celebrating with my family. The desire to die was so strong even on my favorite holiday. This year, I don’t want that to be the case! I want to be happy spending time with my family, my boyfriend and his family.

This empty feeling may not go away for a while, that’s reality. I know myself and have learned so much through my long journey with mental illness. In time I will be better. In time I will have my energy back and be able to feel good again.

It’s all in time.

Sinking down

I had been free from the grips of depression for over a month. It was beautiful! I felt truly happy with my life and where I am at.

Until today.

I feel like I have fallen down the stairs, that I was at the top, slipped and have begun to topple down step after step. I was perfectly content at the top until my footing got shaky yesterday.

I was at my boyfriend’s house where I began to overreact about something I said to him. I got very upset with myself  so I started to cry. I told him I didn’t know why I was crying, just that I felt bad for being nasty to him when I shouldn’t have been.

This morning (and basically all day) he has been off, I noticed immediately. My brain shut down and I lost it. I began sobbing and saying to myself over and over, “It’s all my fault.” I always blame myself for anything that goes wrong. All morning I could not stop crying, my mind felt unbalanced. That something had snapped or a switch was turned off that allowed me to function properly.

All day my brain has been telling me that my boyfriend doesn’t love me anymore, that he hates me, that he doesn’t want to see me anymore after nearly 2 years together. It makes me stomach hurt as those thoughts claw on the inside of my skull.

Depression has returned. I feel it in the core of my being. It’s such a familiar feeling to have my energy zapped and feel like I’m a hollow vessel.

This time around I don’t find any comfort in my depression. I feel like I’m tied up with extra-strength chewing gum trying to break free from it’s grasp. I feel uncomfortable and I want my mind to go back to the way it was.

I don’t know if I can get back to where I was mentally any time soon. I don’t know how long this depressive episode will last me.

All I can do is be strong and try my best to make it through.

Let’s Discuss Self-Harm

Self-harm is a topic, just like suicide, that a lot of people refrain from talking about. There’s a group of us who walk around every day with physical scars that we either embrace or try to hide. We can be in control for years, months, weeks, days or hours then fall victim to this habit.

I don’t want anybody to be triggered by this so if you are already feeling inclined to hurt yourself, just skip this post.

I started my journey of self-harm when I was 18 in my first semester of college. I felt completely alone starting school in a place where I knew almost no one in a town hours away from home. To help with the loneliness and depression, I would scratch myself. This escalated to cutting myself up and down my arms every day for around a month when my roommate was at work.

A friend, who I have lost touch with now, saw my cuts while we were out to dinner and kindly confronted me about it. He told me that he was there for me whenever I needed him, he kept that promise too.

I wish my journey would have ended there but I have continued to self harm on and off ever since. There has yet to be a full year that I have not hurt myself. Maybe in the future I will get to that point but right now I am 7 months clean.

It’s important to talk about self-harm and the many forms that it takes (cutting, burning, restricting food, etc.). Those of us that struggle with this habit can feel ashamed when what we really need is love and compassion. Having a support is nice to have whether you tell them that you are hurting yourself or not. Just having someone to love you and that you can talk to is really uplifting.

For me, it’s been very hard to completely quit hurting myself. In my next post I’m going to write up some of the tips that have helped me restrain myself from cutting. Here are a few posts that include tips about curbing suicidal thoughts.

If you’re struggling with self-harm, I understand your pain. I hope that you can make it through this challenging part of your life, you are stronger than you think you are!

–Megan

Feeling Understood

In my last post, I wrote about how difficult it can be to feel misunderstood when you confide in somebody about your mental health situation. It’s painful. I found it difficult to open up to others because of how many people could not understand depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts or self harm.

But sometimes people do understand! That is the best feeling when you tell somebody what’s really going on and they don’t call you weird or crazy. Even if they don’t understand what it’s like to experience a mental illness, they are still there as a support system.

Oddly I found support in a former coworker. She knew I had been sad but did not know the extent of my suffering until we had dinner together one night. We were having a delicious Mexican dinner to get us through the final hours of our shifts in the newsroom. I’m not sure how it came up but I told her that I was going to go on antidepressants so she asked if I thought that was the best choice. I told her yes because my depression is severe. Then I said it, “I want to kill myself.”

Tears were streaming down my red cheeks as the waitress is asking if our checks were together or separate. I couldn’t believe I showed my heart to her. What amazed me was that she didn’t run away or stop speaking to me after I confessed that to her. She was the best person to have in my life at that point in time besides my therapist.

We took walks together, we had a sleepover once and I even called her when I could not get my suicidal thoughts to shut up. We talked about random things so I could calm down so I could go to sleep.

I’m so appreciative of her as a friend. We don’t see each other very often anymore since I have a different job now but I look back on those memories and am thankful for all of the times we had together.

I hope you, my lovely reader, have somebody who is there for you. If not, maybe it’s time to try and open up to a safe person in your life.

Stay strong survivors! -Megan

2 Years

The moment is still as clear to me as when it happened exactly two years ago when I had my first suicidal thought.

A few days earlier I had sank into a deep depression after a bad breakup. Those days were filled with lots of tears, laying in bed and hugging my cats.

Two years ago I attended an event for my former job and in my ear I heard loud and clear, “kill yourself.” I heard it over and over again. I never had experienced anything like it before.

I was absolutely terrified.

After the event ended I drove home as fast as I could. I called my therapist, who I had only seen once at that point, who did not answer her phone. So I called the suicide crisis hotline and spoke to a really nice woman who encouraged me that I would be alright.

We talked and she helped to calm me down until my therapist returned my phone call.

The rest of the day was a blur. I know I went back to work to write my story then I left.

Those suicidal thoughts flew around in my brain for months until I got on the right antidepressant. Check out my post here about that journey!

Two years later I am still living. Two years ago I could not have envisioned getting to age 25. I could barely see myself getting to the end of each week, thinking long term wasn’t possible for me to do.

In my next post, I’m going to talk about the different things I did to soothe myself when the suicidal thoughts were too loud.

Thank you for reading this, sharing this day with someone makes me vulnerable but I want to show others that they are not alone.