As I write to you my hands are shaking my mind is raging and I am staring at a knife. The only thing that stops me from doing anything is the fact that I know my daughter will be up soon. This one time that I needed someone no-one picked up the phone and when I called for help I was put on hold for 8 minutes. I came across this site and read one of your advice columns and I know you may not even get to this but I guess a part of me just wants to write to get it out and sending it to you makes me feel like someone is there.
There is so much going on in my world and I feel chaotic. I have health issues, my relationship is not doing well, my job is sinking, and emotionally I am a wreck. Saying it here makes it seem so small but for me, in my world, it isn’t. There is so much coming at me, pulling me, and to add emotionally I feel a wreck and I want quiet. In my head I keep hearing my mom say all she wanted to do was sleep as I stood next to her hospital bed and held her hand while they prepared to pump her with charcoal. I didn’t understand then but I understand now what it means to just want silence.
The women in my family have all suffered from depression. I have fought long and hard to be completely opposite from them but now I find myself in the same boat. I am strong, I am assertive, and I know that nothing is worth ending my life. But then I get these moments and I can’t hear all of that. I just want to disappear and be surrounded by silence. I don’t want meds. I watched my mom for years take pill after pill and yet for most of my life I also watched her in and out of hospitals. I just don’t want this monkey on my back.
After this later I got in touch with her and we talked well into the night. During our conversation we discussed her family past, her current state, possible counselors and hospitals in her area, and preventive measures.
Like **** I have lived in a family where depression and mental diseases run rampant. I will commend her for reaching out to seek help and it is unfortunate that when she initially reached out she received voicemails, busy signals, and a recorded message that said her hold time was 8 minutes. So let’s start here. For those who know they have bouts of depression it is always good to have a lifeline that can be reached at any time. The National Suicide Hotline number is 1-800-suicide. But what if you feel awkward calling them or need a personal touch? This is where your strength comes in. I suggest keeping a number on hand of a close friend, family member, or counselor/doctor that knows of your situation and will take the oath to be there during your time of need. But this takes you taking a chance and sharing with someone your secret. In the end it is worth it. Maybe you just need to sit in silence and having someone on the other end comforts you and reminds you that you are not alone and can make it through.
Because depression and suicidal thoughts can happen at any time I also suggest keeping something close that reminds you of your purpose. Something that when you see it brings you back to reality. This can be a picture, a letter, a family heirloom…something anything. I also like a practice one of my good friends used. She put an affirmation on her mirror so that every morning she saw it and it reminded her to keep going. I also have a place I like to go to in order to distress. I take a trip to the beach and just sit by the water. I have moved away from Florida where there was beaches-o-plenty, but I still make a monthly trip to go to the water.
It has also been proven that exercise helps the mind. There is nothing like punching a bag and letting out your frustrations, running ‘til you can’t think no more, or practicing yoga to relax and release. It is good to have an outlet that will get your mind off of what’s troubling you. Taking up hobbies such as something artistic where you have free reign and are not confined to anyone’s standards is a great way to go. Journaling to write it out is a wonderful way to express yourself as well and get all the “baddies” out.
And now for the serious… SEEK HELP. In today’s society certain people, because of social, religious, and family beliefs, will not seek professional help or refuse to go on medications when needed. Now I am not a run to the doctor or a take a pill type of girl but sometimes it is needed. Depression does exist and will rear its ugly head in so many different ways not limited to suicidal thoughts. Depression and stress can and will affect your home life, your business, your relationships, and intimacy just to name a few. We cannot allow ourselves to get caught up in what others do; we are responsible for our own mental health. Counselors and doctors have a way of speaking to us and accessing the severity our illness unlike a family member or friend. When you find that you are constantly going up and down and physically battling to remain sane it is time for you to seek help. And yes sometimes this help may come in the form of a tiny pill (you’ve seen the commercials) but that tiny pill could be all that is standing between you and you doing something stupid.
Listen you are not crazy, you are human. And along with being human comes human emotion. What may be small to you or I may not be small to the next person. It is easy for us to judge. And as lesbians of different faiths, ethnicities, and socio economic backgrounds, we sometimes have it even harder. I don’t know about you but I am tired of seeing our kids die at their own hands simply because they are being outcast. Not only that I am tired of sitting back saying that someone needs to do something. I need to do something. WE need to do something… the ball is in your court.
And listen, even in the dark you are not alone…promise.