Within the past five years, I’ve attempted suicide, ended a toxic marriage, started a new relationship, watched as my dear mother slowly succumbed to a mystery illness, and moved to a new city with the hope of starting over.
Then the pandemic came like a thunderbolt about two weeks after my move-in day.
Since I’m disabled and an introverted homebody, at first I wasn’t really affected, besides being slightly freaked the hell out. At the time, my daughter was working with the general public at a gourmet burger restaurant and my boyfriend was laid off from his job as a prep cook.
I was more concerned about their safety and well-being than my own. I was able to hole myself up in my new house, unpack at my own pace, binge-watch shows, and do my crafts.
Nothing to see here, folks. Same old sh*t and all of that.
Well, that’s not exactly true. I was also planning on doing some major healing.
I was finally living in a new environment (you cannot heal in the same place that you were abused) and felt such a tremendous sense of freedom for the first time in ages.
Then the world went completely nutso.
Not long into the pandemic, two of my oldest and dearest friends lost their beautiful mother to the virus. The sudden realization of just how deadly this illness was hit home hard and brought me to my knees.
After that horrible tragedy, it soon became an obsession of mine, and like so many of us, my already fragile mental health started to become even shakier.
For anyone who understands how it feels to have suicidal ideations, or who’s attempted taking their own life before, it’s a terrifying experience.
I’ve had a strong sense of shame these last few months because the gift of life is so precious (instinctively I know this) and yet, these intrusive and disturbing thoughts chase me around, as determined as a hornet on a rogue, warm day in October.
I’m extremely stubborn, especially when it comes to asking for help. So I did what I do best—I put my mask on and kept my worsening depression symptoms mostly to myself. The last thing people wanted to hear was that I was having suicidal thoughts again when so many others—who wanted more than anything to live—were dying under such sorrowful conditions.
Depression lies to you. It tells you that nobody really cares about you.
My boyfriend was visiting one night recently, when I decided to just tell him the full truth, with all of the explicit details. Instead of being angry, disgusted, or dismissive, he was kind, tender, and worried. He looked me straight in my red, teary eyes, and said, “You can’t do this alone, honey.”
And he was f*cking right. Because I can’t.
None of us can.
So I chose to open up to some people and tell them that I’ve been really struggling lately and needed their support. It made me feel more powerful and less alone.
I don’t want to fall down into the well again. It’s dank and dark down there, for starters, plus my fingertips are still bloody from the last time I crawled my way out, brick by laborious brick.
I was completely honest with my therapist, as well, who I haven’t seen since late February because of COVID-19. Our sessions are now over the phone, and she swiftly set me up to have a psych evaluation, which is upcoming. It might be time to try another antidepressant again, which makes me anxious (another topic altogether).
I have to keep fighting because I have far too much to continue living for: my daughter, my boyfriend, my friends, my family, and my beloved pets. Another delightful day at the beach, warm blankets, a great cup of coffee, a craft project that turns out perfectly—the list goes on and on.
Besides, I still have so much healing to do.