To Friends & Family
I’ve been trying to think of what to say, how to explain my disappearance from Facebook, or from work. And nothing really sounds that great. I don’t know how to explain in simple terms, because I want people to clue into what’s going on. I think that it’s important.
So, if you don’t know, I have some things to attempt to explain, provide some key details that I have kept very private. Things that are important and vital to everyone, but are kept in the shadows. So, here goes.
I might have never told you that I’ve struggled with Depression for years. Since I was a very young child, to be honest, I think that it started when I was 10 years old. That’s probably also when my abuse began — another story for later. So, I’ve been really dealing with depression for 12 years, and here I thought it was only 8. I guess that’s when it got really bad that I remember it. Sorry, I’m not making much sense. Let me regroup.
Depression has plagued me, very seriously and deadly for 8 years, but looking back (because hindsight is always 20/20) I can see myself falling into the dark water at age 10. So, for 4 years, it was controllable. It was easy enough to come out from under, and rise above. Until I got to high school. That’s when it got bad. Blame it on an overly pushy motherly figure in my life, one that I ached to live up to her expectations. One that I could never make happy. To this day, I don’t know if I ever made her genuinely happy or even smile. I still remember her saying “Preslee, you could hang me with a new rope and I wouldn’t be happy.” Hurtful? Yea… It’s something that I will probably always remember about her when I remember my childhood.
So, depression, check. When I was about 15, I began to cut. SCARY word there. I’m sorry. But it was what happened. It was my life, it became an addiction. Another scary word, sorry. I know you’re probably thinking, “cutting? An addiction? No way!” Well, maybe not in those words, but yes. Cutting became my drug of choice. It felt good. It helped the pain. The overwhelming sadness that grew in me for no reason. Age 15 was a very scary year for me. And I suffered in silence and loneliness, because I never told anyone, and the one time that I let it slip, I got in trouble at school. Oops. Age 15, I began to cut, late at night, in my bedroom, with all the lights turned out. That’s when I met Paige, a weird, more aggressive version of me, inside my head. But I think I made her up, because she is no longer there…Another story, for another chapter. I stopped sleeping. I was maybe sleeping 3 hours a week? I was depressed. And I was terrified to go to sleep due to the overwhelming night terrors, I know that they were night terrors because I would wake up screaming and crying. I felt death everywhere. He was in my bed as I lay down at night, he was outside my window in the morning, he was in the shower with me, down the hall at school. Touching me, with his gross, cold fingers, and I could feel him. So I cut, to mask the pain, to deal with the demons that chased me, and tried to swallow me whole. I never told anyone.
I was caught one day, because I got brave, and I needed that high. Someone saw me and asked me what I was doing. There was no denying it, because he had seen me doing it in class. It felt good, and I needed that pick me up. So, with his help, I stopped cutting. For a while anyhow.
This same person that got me to stop cutting, raped me, when I was 17. And he tried it again. And I could have ruined his life, he wants to be a teacher. I know that with her help, I would have been able to turn him in and he would have been put away. But, I stayed quiet. And I only told my best friend and my boyfriend. I couldn’t tell Mom or the other, because it was too hard. It was too hard to admit to myself, for that matter. But, years later, learning acceptance, I came to understand that it is what it is. He raped me. And he has no remorse for what he did. This led to my demise I think, because I have flashbacks, randomly. I lose sense of where I am and who I’m with. I’m scared and helpless. I freeze. I have PTSD.
So, recently, I’ve been depressed, to the point of suicide. It’s all I thought about for a week. It was scary, and there were times that I started getting things ready. I had a plan. And I was going to execute it. The only thing that kept me hanging on was the thought of you. My friends, and most importantly, my family. What would y’all do without me? Where would you be? How would you feel? Would you think that it was your fault? Would you die with me? How would you react? And I just couldn’t be that selfish. I couldn’t hurt you because I was dying inside. I prayed for everything, for peace in the storm that consumed my mind, that ate at my very soul. I couldn’t pull myself out of it. And I got really scared. But, I couldn’t tell anyone. It was my burden to bare. I thought about calling the lifeline, but I couldn’t hold on for help. I hung up. Thinking back, I probably could have helped myself a little more.
I trudged on at work. The thoughts still consuming my mind, but had been hushed by the chaos of work. I even posted here, that I was feeling better, but it was a lie…More or less.
By the next week, most of my thoughts had subsided, they were whispers more than they were screams and shouts. I went to my counseling appointment, even though I didn’t want to, because I knew it would be good for me, but I knew that it would end the way it did too. I told her everything, even my plan. She was concerned, you saw it in her face and her eyes. She suggested hospitalization, and though I broke down in her office saying that this wasn’t what I wanted, I think that I knew I needed help. So, I gave in when I got home, and I packed, we went to the hospital in Arlington.
It was hard. A lot harder than I thought it would be. It was hard to pack, hard to get in the car, harder to talk to my sister, harder still to not tell Mom what was going on. But I didn’t want to upset anyone more than I had to. So, we didn’t tell Mom, even though I’m sure she would have been there for me had I let her know. I was scared, and I didn’t want her to be scared too, I thought that it would be better this way.
Intake at the hospital was difficult, my mind was all a mess, and I couldn’t fathom leaving Hubby. And then, I started to second guess myself. Maybe I had made the wrong decision! What am I doing here? What am I doing? This is all wrong! Panic set in. I was scared. But Hubby reassured me. Saying, it’s going to be ok, just get better. Yea…get better…Uh huh. I was scared.
When they finally took me back on the unit, I was really terrified. They put me in the day room and all I could think was, this is a mistake, I want to leave, what am I doing here? But I stayed. And I got stable, and I met some really cool people.
I learned things about myself, like my disorder, what happens to me when I’m under stress, and that I am not the only one.
Coming out of the hospital seemed too soon, too much, and too scary. It was easier to be there. They told you what to do, when to do it, when to take meds, when to eat, everything. It was a controlled environment, with very little stressors. I was able to read and enjoy being alone, as well as being in a group environment. I wasn’t ready to leave, but I was ready for real food, and to see my family for more than 30 minutes every other day. I needed to be out. But I wasn’t ready to be back at work. Though work provided a distraction, it was too much stress with not enough help and too many things going on for me to handle. Thinking about work in the hospital sent me into a panic attack. It was not a good feeling. And I was scared, I was finally feeling better and I didn’t want that feeling to go away.
So, when I got out, Mom came to get me, and we went to see Sister. It was a nice visit, but I was exhausted. You can only drink so much coffee in that place, and pacing doesn’t help anything, but it gave me something to do. (I pace now, btw. Oh, and I drink coffee too.)
When I got home, Hubby called in to work for me, and it was nice because it gave me a week to stay at home and get caught up on some things, like that mountain of laundry that we had. It gave me a chance to relax and enjoy being me, without heavy expectations and high demands of residents and nurses that think that their word is gold. It was a nice change of pace. And I felt good.
And then came Wednesday, when I had to go back to work. And I didn’t want to go, at all. I was panicking. When I was driving to work, I thought about crashing the car, because if I crash the car, I don’t have to go to work. When I got to work, I was ok. And I thought, maybe I could do this. But as soon as lights started to go off and I had to deal with people, I shut down. I got sick to my stomach. I thought this was going to be it. I wanted to die. I wanted to find something to hurt myself with. I wanted to cut. I wanted to die. I was sick, I hurt, my head hurt, my stomach turned. I threw up. And I went home. I bolted out of there like…Well, I can’t think of an analogy right now. When I got to the car, I was crying, I was going into a panic attack. My thoughts were racing, I thought I was going to die, I couldn’t breathe. I was on the phone with mom, and it helped, a lot. I calmed down and drove home to the storm awaiting me.
Hubby was less than pleased when I got home. He was mad, because we need the money, but I couldn’t think. I just wanted to be home. I wasn’t ready, I can’t handle the stress anymore. I just couldn’t take it. And now, I had to deal with him being mad at me, but I didn’t care as much. I was safe at home. And I knew it.
So, the next day, I placed several calls. And one was to work, and I told them that I quit, due to medical reasons. I had called in too much due to medical reasons, like panic attacks and depressive episodes.
I feel much better now. The medications are doing their job. I’m going to find another job, with less hours and less stress. I feel that my health and my life are worth more than a job right now. I do know that I have bills to pay, and medications to buy, and doctors to see, but I know that we will make it through this, because I am a fighter. And though I don’t feel like I am, I know that I am a warrior. Why? Because the bravest decision that I have ever made was to live when I wanted to die.
I know that some people won’t understand this, there are many elements that are too weird and too complex to understand. And that’s ok. I’m open for questions and comments. I hope that you can all be supportive in my decisions. If not, that’s something that you are going to have to deal with, not me.
Posted on July 29, 2013, in Life, Mental Health, Support and tagged Cutting, Depression, Family, help, hope, Issues, Life, Love, mental illness, mental-health, PTSD, rape, relationships, Self-Harm, Stress, Support, Understanding, Work. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.