So this is going to be long, so hang on.
Ps- sorry for going ghost, life has been crazy hectic!!
Another tragic loss
In the wake of Kate Spade’s death of apparent suicide, I feel compelled to share my story. There have been far too many deaths like this, and many more non celebrity deaths as well. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention there are 123 suicide per day. And that doesn’t include attempted suicides. They estimate that for every suicide there are 25 attempted suicides, but that’s only an estimate since there’s no hard data on attempts. And those numbers are only on the rise.
Suicide is non discriminate when it comes to economic status, but there’s a clear pattern among ethnicity and age range. White men accounted for 7 out of 10 people who committed suicide in 2016. And middle aged adults (45-54 years old) were the highest age group.
More statistics and advice on seeking help can be found here.
Why am I depressed?
A lot of people might say that they’d be happier if they had money. There’s a wide spread belief that money fixes your problems. And while it can fix problems like: worrying about your rent, getting food on your table, and having the healthcare you need; it does cause its own problems as well. The biggest of these problems is the guilt with having money. Any time you feel down, you’re struck with the guilty thought of, “I have everything I could need (or want), why am I not happy”… I was raised in a family that was better off than most, so I know this guilt all to well. You rack your brain to figure out why you are depressed. You’re not starving in a third world country, or you haven’t been sold into sex slavery; so why am I depressed??
Chemicals are funky!
First reason for my depression (and the main one), is a chemical imbalance. I won’t pretend to know a lot of the medical side of it right now, but basically my brain is wired to be… funky, for lack of a better word. I suffer from bipolar disorder.
An important thing to note is I said “I suffer from”, not “I am bipolar”. This is because you don’t say “I am cancer”, bipolar is a part of me, but it does not define me. You do say “I am depressed”, because that is a state of being, but you don’t say “I am depression”. Now that that’s out of the way, we’ll continue.
I take medication to manage my bipolar, but some can do without. I also take care to follow a strict sleep schedule, because sleep can greatly effect my moods. The last component to managing my bipolar is therapy. I’m fortunate enough to be able to afford the therapy I need, even when my insurance won’t cover it.
Sometimes it’s not enough.
Even with all these preventatives in place, sometimes it’s not enough. And at these times I rely strongly on my support group. This is the main point of this post, to bring awareness to support systems. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I strongly believe it takes a village to keep a depressed person sane (and alive).
I’ve spoken before of my miscarriage in 2015, but I don’t think I’ve spoken about how horrible it all went afterwards. The first thing that rings through my mind when I remember the miscarriage is my reaction. We were in the office trying to locate the heartbeat with a Doppler, and I was laughing as we couldn’t find it. “This is why I won’t buy one of these things, it’s impossible to find the heartbeat when you’re overweight!”
We switched to an ultrasound, feeling a bit uneasy, and that’s when my whole world came crashing down. The doctor (who’s a family friend), solemnly said “I’m so sorry.” My stepmother wailed, and I don’t even remember my husbands reaction. I immediately sat up, and started spewing statistics about how common this was. I tried to calm down my stepmother, and in that moment completely locked down my own grief. We decided to schedule a D&C for later that day, and I called everyone to let them now. The hardest was my grandmother, who’s voice cracked when she said “Oh, my baby.”
Sugar I’m going down.
I was numb. I was repressing everything, and even though I’m usually very self aware of my emotions, I was blind to this repression. It took me about a month to crash, and when I crashed it was a train wreck.
My “amazing self awareness” (as my therapist calls it), is one of the things I credit my survival to. Eventually I realized I wanted to numb myself further. I come from a line of drug addicts, and because I have migraines (and had just had a surgery) I had access to some pretty heavy drugs. I spoke to my therapist before popping any pills, and we agreed my husband would dole them out as NEEDED. Next came the suicidal thoughts. Again, my self awareness lead me to tell my therapist, and we shared this information with my husband.
I tried to tough all this out without medication. The plan was to start trying for a pregnancy soon, and I needed to stay off my meds. This as a terrible idea. All of this stress, grief, and hormones lead to a final breaking point. I laid in bed and thought, this is it. I’m done. I can’t do this, there’s no point in living with this pain. I had a plan, which I won’t go into details about, but I had it all thought out. I almost did it. I was really, really close; but instead I texted my husband to come down stairs right now.
I owe him my life.
He came downstairs, it felt like years waiting for him to cross the house, but he came and laid with me. He watched me, and made sure I called my doctor first thing in the morning. If he hadn’t come down stairs that night, I have no doubt that I would have followed through.
And this is why I’m posting.
Be someone’s support system!
Every time one of these deaths rocks the world, there’s a surge of Facebook posts saying “You can talk to me”, “You’re loved”, “I’ll be there for you”. But how many people mean this? How quickly are these posts forgotten, and mental illness goes back to being a stigma. 1.5% of the US population reports being depressed. That might not seems like a lot, but it adds up to approximately 3.3 MILLION (that’s 3,300,000 people) in the US that report their depression. That mean of every 100 people on your friends list, AT LEAST 1 of them suffers from depression. But it’s probably a lot more than that.
What can you do?
Today when you make that post, mean it. If you see someone post about being sad or lonely, don’t just eye roll and scroll. Even if you don’t know them well, reach out and see what you can do for them. You might make a new friend, and possibly save a life.
If you are feeling depressed, SEEK HELP! There’s no shame in seeking mental help, and even if things are financially tight, there’s tons of resources available.
We must end the stigma that comes with mental health. It’s a disease like any other, it’s not just a state of mind.