The sense of empowerment that came to me after I published my first post was overwhelming. I have truly never felt so proud of myself. The next day, I smiled a lot. I smiled at how far I have come. My smile got bigger and bigger as people started reaching out to me, commenting on the post, writing me personally to say how proud they are of me. Each person who has said “I had no idea,”(I truly thought they knew by the signs I was giving) told me they were proud of me. I have made so many changes in the past couple years. I have done so much I never thought I would be able to do. Being honest was probably one of the biggest steps I have taken yet. And I am already addicted to this process, as I type even now I feel happiness. Usually with depression and anxiety can come addiction. Addiction to ANYTHING that will bring you a break from the hurting. For the first time in a long time, I can be addicted to something that will better myself. I have always enjoyed writing. English was always my favorite subject in school. I guess I just never had too much to write about. Now I do.
A few months ago, my best friend lost someone very important to her..to suicide. I think this was my first up close and personal experience with suicide, with helping someone very close to me through the grieving process. Although I have had members of my own family leave this earth by choosing to take their own life, they happened before I was old enough to know what suicide even meant. Not only did this hurt me so deeply to see my friend grieve, but it hit home with me because I have had thoughts of suicide before. Although I would tell my counselor and doctors and parents all the time I had no desire to actually take my own life, it was a pretty prominent thought that crossed my mind through my teenage years. To think of anyone hurting enough to go through with it….I can’t begin to imagine that level of pain. There have been times where I thought I couldn’t possibly hurt anymore, couldn’t go another day, let alone a minute, dealing with how I felt on the inside, but I am still here.
I met one of my best friends a few years ago. I have had some difficulty connecting with people since graduating high school. (My friends up until graduation, for the most part, had been the same ones I had since I was in fourth grade. I have been so incredibly blessed with the friends I grew up with and that I still have to this day. But I hid my darkest struggles from them.) This new friendship was built on honesty from the start. Our strong connection was built off of sharing our past and our history with fighting depression. It was such a relief to us both to find someone who finally understood the dark place that our mind can take us to. We have so much in common with each other that it is a frequent joke of ours that “we are literally the same person.” Our friendship is as strong as it is because of this. We can relate with each other so deeply over something so raw and so real. We have both come such a long way in our battles, and we have always talked about helping others in some way- helping others cope with mental illnesses. After reading my first post she wrote to me, “Can barely type it without crying, but Jack would be proud of you…Thank you for being brave enough to do what he couldn’t and share your pain.” I truly believe to my CORE, that by being honest, I could help someone else. I wasn’t able to relate to anyone when I was at my lowest. Everyone around me seemed to have it so together. I know now that there were things some of my closest friends were going through that I had no idea about either. EVERYONE is fighting their own personal battles. But at the time, you really believe you are alone in this. There is a cloud blurring your sense of judgement. You’re physically unable to think rationally when you are in the middle of depression.
Mental illnesses are being discussed more and more frequently. Suicide prevention topics, hotlines, and help are more available now than they were even a few years ago. But without someone to share personal stories with, you will always feel alone. I’m here, for anyone who needs someone to talk to. Unfortunately there isn’t a way to magically reach out to every person on this planet that is self harming tonight, contemplating suicide, or crying themselves to sleep. I wish so desperately there was a way to save everyone. The internet is a powerful tool. Maybe just maybe, someone who needs it the most will find this post. Someone may feel a little less alone by me putting my truth out there.