I have tried to take my own life more than the one time I have acknowledged on this blog.

Almost exactly two years ago I drove myself to the hospital. The entire drive there I had to keep talking myself out of driving into oncoming traffic. My eyes were puffy, they stung from all the crying and my heart felt as though it had been pummeled by a meat tenderizer.

Alone. Broken. Hopeless. Alone. Broken. Hopeless.

I called Cody from the parking lot and told him where I was and what I was about to do.

Voluntarily commit myself.

He understood. It wasn’t the first time that me going back into the hospital had been considered.

He offered to meet me there, I volunteered to come home. He found somewhere for little Addie to go and he took me to the mental crisis unit of the hospital.

It all came back so fast. The locked doors, the patients talking to themselves, random screams and the constant buzz of florescent lighting. The doctor I met with was named Dr. Wink. Dr. Wink saved my life that night. There was no judgement.

She got it.

She understood my fear of going back “in there” but she also understood how I had come to a point where “in there” may be the only safe place for me to be. We talked for a long time. She didn’t commit me, instead she gave me hope. Hope that I could make it through this without having to hand over my shoelaces and pride.

I left with hope. And a very important prescription. I have been taking that prescription since and have not once felt I needed to go back there.

****

Mental illness is not a choice.

Nor is it a cop out, curable or something that one can merely “get over” like a pulled hamstring.

There is nothing wrong with taking a pill to get me through the involuntary chemical imbalances in my own head.

I’m not going to lie, there are some days I hate that stupid pill. I hate taking it, I have even tried to go without. I hate that my body can’t just “work.” But something up there doesn’t fire right and the repercussions from a misfire can be devastating. So I take the pill.

No one has ever thought any less of me for needing contacts to see or prescription strength deodorant to keep me from sweating like a pig in the sun on the fourth of July. The same goes for my depression medication.

If you are suffering, please. It’s not a cop out to get help. There are people out there like Dr. Wink who know it’s not your fault and that you would never volunteer to feel the way you do, alone, broken and hopeless.

If those words resonate anywhere ANYWHERE within you, please. Find someone to talk to. Anyone. There’s websites, phone numbers, friends, me, doctors and clergy that will listen. That cold rainy night in February last year didn’t end the way I had it in my head, if it had I would have either had a toe tag or my name on commitment papers.

I can’t even say I was looking for a miracle. Miracles don’t exist to someone trapped inside their own brains. What I was given was hope through the words of another. Enough hope to get me home, enough hope to try a new medication. Enough hope to know that I would feel “normal” again.

And enough hope to know that these demons I battle are not my fault.

****

Karissa, or Krissy as her family called her, took her own life on Saturday. I have scoured her tweets and her site looking for any sort of hint that would have hinted at how alone, broken and hopeless she felt. Aside from “taking a break” there was nothing. No hints to anyone online that she was slipping.

After reading through her comments I noticed how many people she had supporting her. And after knowing of her passing, how many people mentioned that they had thought about reaching out to her but didn’t.

I wrote this last week, it’s haunting.

I guess what I wanted to say is that when you get that feeling to write somebody something heartfelt or out of genuine concern, just do it. If they don’t respond chances are it’s not because they are a jerk. It’s probably because they’re suffocating.

January 5, 2010

and to everyone I wrote these words in the post about my overdose,

I am not ashamed now because I have a message, if someone says they’re not doing so well, please listen. I tried to tell someone that I was not well a week before this happened. They brushed it off as pregnancy hormones and sleepiness. I didn’t want to push, maybe it was just pregnancy after all. But that’s just my point, those who truly need your help will rarely shout for it. They will suffer silently hoping somebody, anybody will notice. Those who are truly hurting will not want to draw attention to themselves.

I didn’t want to be a burden or seen as a complainer. So I tried to figure it all out myself.

And I failed.

But I was blessed through my failure.

Not everyone is so lucky.

November 19, 2007

I’m not saying any one of us, or all of us, could have saved Krissy from making the decision she did. I honestly didn’t know her personally. Even if I had I’m not sure that even I would have noticed her slipping away.

Her loss has left her family grieving. I can’t imagine the pain all those who loved her are feeling, I can’t even pretend to. My heart and prayers go out to them. I know if her cousin could have just one wish it would be to go back to Saturday and make it all better.

****

Please. If you’re not doing well, speak up. Please. Just because you feel hopeless does not mean you are. And even more importantly, you are not helpless.

God didn’t put billions of people on the planet for us to only take care of ourselves.

It’s our job to take care of each other. In sickness and in health. No matter what.

Comments

  1. I. Love. You

  2. i think she did reach out. In her way, we saw it, but we didnt. Its only looking back that we see it. Its easy to notice a friend is having a bad day, or they seem distant, or they mention some griefs…its harder to put it all together and sometimes i feel like I failed. I just got an email from her the thursday before she died. The email was out of place. She was always happy, helping. It did strike me as odd. But i didnt say anything. I assumed it was personal and didnt pry. I dont like to pry. Now ill never get a chance to pry and i feel like a jerk. I know its not my fault, no ones fault. I know it was her peace. But that doesnt take away that at that moment I should have picked up the phone, anything, anything but saying I hope everythings ok…instead of pushing to make sure. I hope to never make that mistake again. She will never be forgotten.

    trisha

  3. I could write an epilogue about this. Such intense emotions felt go my core as visual thoughts of myself standing at the window being checked in, in the middle of the night. Having everything taken away from me and realizing that there were children there as well as others under a more secure watchful eye made me realize a lot of things. I left there and was referred to DBT therapy, the best 13 months of my life. I’m not perfect,I haven’t been healed but to learn that I don’t have control over my emotions but I can learn to react slower physically to my urges was and has been SO empowering. I still have irrational thoughts, emotional bouts but I can stop one step before burning the house down by thinking of the outcome. It has taken over 2 yrs of weekly therapy, once a week group for 13 months , a freaking amazing therapist and FINALLY the right ****tail of meds. Being emotionally passionate as well as having, leaky hoses can cause quite the combustion. We change the oil in our cars, replace appliances when they break, why not fix a leaky gasket so to speak. Heavenly Father did not place gifted people on this earth with the ability to create medications for no reason. It isn’t the cure all for sure, but at least for me it makes it so that I’m not trying to process everything at once which makes everything bigger then it really is.
    Thank you for being so brave to share, maybe someday I will more openly as well since my family doesn’t know about my atempt. If you can be so brave and help someone out there, that’s what its all about is that our experiences aren’t in vain.
    Thank you a million times over. You said it so eloquently for such a silenced topic which shouldn’t be. It’s the silent killer.

  4. Thank you for being so open about what you’ve gone through. If more people talked about it, maybe less people would feel they are alone, broken, and hopeless. After my husband died two weeks after our daughter was born, I resisted going to see anyone to talk about any of it. I’m so glad I did, though.

  5. Nice post. I can relate to a lot of what you say. I sometimes think I was born depressed and there is no other state to be in. Have not taken steps to get better like you. Perhaps someday.

  6. I see a lot of what I have felt before in this post…would you mind commenting on my post about life? I’d love your opinion. TY

  7. Yes. And you never know how much a few words or a smile can mean to someone when they are in a bad place. If you feel any inkling to reach out to someone; do. God works through all of us. I needed to read this tonight. Thank you, Casey.

  8. yes.

  9. Thank You. I was at the place, where you just don’t believe that somebody cares or can help. I reread you posts about depression and I do believe, that you care. It helps.

  10. Thank you for this post Casey. I suffer from generalized anxiety, OCD and depression. Winter is very bad. I need to be with people all the time if I want to feel semi normal, which is hard because I live by myself. I’m nowhere near feeling suicidal but I am hurting. I believe this post will save some lives. Thank you.

  11. Thanks for this post. thanks for helping us understand. i’m a (new) family member and it’s been hard. thank you.

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