I’ve been asked a thousand times…
“Do you want to die?”.
Doctors, therapists, counselors, medical techs and a whole host of random medical professionals. My answer to them.
But it’s not the truth. Well, sort of.
I do want to die….but, I don’t.
I don’t want to actually die by my own hand. I don’t want to leave my family and friends, my life, my future dreams, but the pain of anxiety and depression makes me want to die.
I know..it sounds very contradictory. I get it. How can someone want to die, but yet not want to die? Isn’t it kind of like being “a little bit pregnant”? You either are or aren’t.
Well, for me it’s not. The feeling and thoughts of being better off dead are in my head every single day, multiple times a day, but actually dying by suicide is not something I want in the sense that I don’t want to cause the sadness I would leave behind. I don’t want to go to hell or wherever one goes when they die by suicide (whatever you believe), or have anyone have to say “She killed herself”. I don’t want to wonder after my death what I could have accomplished, who I would have been, how sad my loved ones are. I don’t want to die, I just don’t want to live.
Okay, I’m probably not making any more clear, but that’s just it. Mental illness is not a black and white, cut and dry thing.
Not everyone experiences the exact same thing. No panic attack is the same. No depressive episode is the same. No medication works the same for everyone.
I have anxiety, severe anxiety. I have panic attacks at very slight instances and it’s scary. I know I have them and I am afraid to leave my home because of what may trigger a panic attack. I can usually hold it together in public, but sometimes I can’t. Sometimes it hits me like a punch in the chest. My heart beats against my ribs so hard I can feel it in my throat. My stomach knots up. I get nauseous and get migraines frequently. I mean the migraines that lay you flat on your ass in bed between the feelings of intense stabbing in your eye and vomiting. Yep, fun stuff.
My depression comes with everything else because I am just so fed up with the anxiety. I also am so fed up with everyone trying to fix my issues with advice. Listen, I’m not broken. None of us are, we just need a little extra help. We aren’t broken people, I am not a broken person. I am a little bit scratched and dented, like a used appliance. I need a fresh coat of paint and maybe a tweak here or there and I’m good. (appliance is all I could think of right now…migraine). I am not broken. The thing is with those who love me is that they want to fix the problems. I get that. It’s hard to see someone you love suffering on a daily basis from something you can’t see. You can’t kiss the boo boo and put on a band-aid and send them back out to play. It doesn’t work like this with the brain, so I get how helpless my loved ones feel, but what I need most is support. I need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, arms to hug me. I don’t need advice, I don’t need a solution all the time. Sometimes I just need someone to lay with me and listen or lay with me and say nothing.
It took a long time for my significant other to learn this. I would constantly say, “Stop trying to fix everything!” and no matter what, they did, but after I took a step back and evaluated what I needed, I figured out that they didn’t know how to not fix it because they couldn’t see it. They couldn’t see the wound and say, “Oh yeah, it’s bleeding, a bandage, good as new. I fixed it.”
My wounds are inside. Inside my heart and my brain and my spirit and no bandage will fix it. What fixes it for me is cuddling my kitty, watching bad tv with my significant other, asking my loved ones to listen and not respond, asking them for support and making sure I tell them that I don’t need a solution or advice and letting them know I will ask for help when I need it.
It’s hard to ask for help when you’re struggling, but it’s much easier when you know the person who you’re asking help from is supportive, open to what you have to say, open-minded about what you say you need and that there’s a mutual trust between the both of you.
My anxiety lately has been the worst it’s ever been. It’s causing depression that just makes me numb. It makes me totally uninterested in participating in my own life. I am hopeful because I have an appt. to see a disability doctor, after 3 appeals, and hopefully this will be a step in the right direction, but I admit, I don’t have high hopes. After being denied three times because anxiety is not considered a debilitating condition, I am really nervous.
I am more nervous about not living my life. I am nervous about existing in my life for the next several decades just as I am now. I have lost my passion for most things, my interest in most things, my zest for life. Nothing really gives me joy and nothing really gets me out of bed everyday except for hope. I have a little bit of hope left that I wasn’t born to live miserably. Maybe that’s me being naive, I don’t know, but I want to hope for something better. I want to feel like there is more out there than misery and frustration. I believe that for others…so I will choose to believe it for myself. See, hope and despair are choices. That is what I’ve learned through this. yes, I feel terrible most of the time, but I choose how I respond to it. I choose whether I want hope or despair. If I choose hope, I keep going. If I choose despair, I die. That’s it. Maybe that is the cut and dry of this, choices. Choices are cut and dry, black and white.
Our conditions aren’t so easily understood or explained, but our choices are and I choose to take the road of hope. Now that I’ve gotten all sappy, go enjoy one of my stories.