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.

Oh the Guilt!

I hate feeling guilty and shameful. The other day I posted about guilt and right now, I’m having one of those moments where I feel so guilty that I want to curl into a ball so tightly that I disappear.

Have you ever felt that way?

It’s a cycle for me with guilt and mental illness. My anxiety will tell me that nobody loves me, that I’m stupid or that I’m a bother to everyone around me. Those thoughts are so loud in my head, it’s hard not to hear them. When I say them out loud or assume someone actually feels that way, I end up feeling guilty for saying my anxious thoughts out loud because it makes the person I said them to upset.

I say, “You don’t like spending time with me, do you?” Then that person gets frustrated, they’re blindsided by that comment and why I would say something like that in the first place. For me, that question makes sense because I have been hearing it for years.

My anxious statements make me immediately feel guilty. I tell myself that I’m a bad girlfriend/friend/sister/daughter, I’m a person that nobody wants to be around. I wish that I could vanish into a small space where nobody can find me. A place I can hide until the guilt subsides and I can breathe again.

I’m going through this right now so the emotions are really fresh. I feel ashamed when I let my anxiety speak because I know I should not let it have a voice. From my perspective, those anxious thoughts ring in my ears so loudly that I forget that nobody else can hear them. I forget that maybe what my mind tells me isn’t actually true.

What do you do when you’re feeling incredibly guilty about what your mental illness makes you do?

I hope that you guys will all be alright. –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

Silencing Suicidal Thoughts

In my last few posts, I’ve been focusing on my journey with struggling with suicidal thoughts. This one I want to make a bit more happy and talk about ways that have helped me to silence those thoughts.

**Just because these things have worked for me does not guarantee they will work for you. This is to give you ideas of what could be helpful for you. We are all different with unique likes and needs.**

Aromatherapy

I never really liked smelly things, they usually gave me a headache. During my time at rock bottom, I was willing to try almost anything to feel better. My therapist suggested essential oils to soothe me when I was anxious or having suicidal thoughts. I went to the health food store and picked up lavender (to help me sleep), peppermint (to relax me when I was anxious) and tangerine (boost my mood).

This shit changed my life! The aromas somehow really helped to calm me down and bring me back to the present moment instead of stuck inside my head. I also became a frequent customer at Bath and Body Works, I got lots of scented body washes to make showering less scary and miserable.

Makeup

Ok ok you’re probably judging me right now but yes, makeup was my escape. I don’t know how it happened but I started watching beauty videos on YouTube, it let me go to a happy place where I didn’t have to worry about anything. I watched video after video after video to silence my thoughts.

A special shoutout to YouTubers KathleenLights, Glam Life Guru and Emilynoel89 for creating amazing content!

Maybe makeup isn’t your thing but finding some sort of hobby can be helpful. Watching those videos lead me to buy makeup and use my face as a canvas for art. I love expressing myself through makeup! To give me something to do, I started an IG  @megandoesmakeupxo.

Harry Potter

I have loved Harry Potter since I was in third grade when my teacher read my class “The Sorcerer’s Stone.” He did different voices for each character!

That book series has the power to pick me up and transport me far away from my day to day problems. When I got depressed in my third year of college I picked up the first book at a used bookstore in Old City Philadelphia.

Those books are still my escape. In the world of Harry Potter I am safe and will always feel safe in that realm even though it isn’t real. When my suicidal thoughts would not shut up, I opened my book and dove in.

I hope some of these things gave you inspiration to help with your suicidal thoughts! Find safe spaces (whether they’re IRL, online or in your head) where you can find solitude from your thoughts. Leave a comment below with your tips on silencing suicidal thoughts, I would love to hear them.

Until next time, 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.