Connecting with @kimcha2017 was definitely a highlight for me last year. She is kind, honest and so easy to chat to. We’ve talked quite a bit about mental health and she shared a bit of her story with me. I asked her to write a guest post for me so that we could continue the VERY important discussion around mental health.
Trigger Warnings: Post contains mention of suicide, sexual and physical abuse.
I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve tried to, wanted to or thought about ending my life.
It began in my preteens, around 9 or 10 years old. That was the first time the incapacitating grip of depression took over my entire being. At the age of around 12 or 13, I overdosed on pills for the first time and spent a week in the adolescent psychiatric ward of my local hospital. Since then, until more recently, the ups and downs of this illness were something I thought I would just have to deal with for the rest of my life.
Through a teenage abusive relationship, rape, a failed marriage and the conditioning I received as a child, I had no idea who I was. I spent years on and off anti-depressants, feeling alone yet I resisted going to therapy.
I think people knew I was down, but no one knew how bad things actually were. I’m going to get really raw and vulnerable for a minute. The next part is an excerpt from my journal. This was from a few years ago when I was in a very low place and was contemplating suicide.
“Utter despair, helpless, useless, unloved, unwanted. If I do it, it’ll just be gone, the endless struggle. Failure, biggest loser, fat. I want to but I’m scared. Scared of the pain and scared for my kids.”
I can say wholeheartedly that the reason I’m still here is because of my children. I didn’t want them to grow up without a mom, to go through that kind of trauma. I wanted and needed to be here for them, as best I could.
Over the past year I’ve healed more than I ever thought possible. It took me learning that my depression was partly as a result of unhealthy co-dependant enmeshment with my family. I had no self worth and no identity. I always wanted to please everyone else to no avail. I wasn’t making anyone else happy though and I was definitely not happy pretending to be what others expected of me. It’s been a tough road waking up to these realizations and learning how to slowly heal them. I’ve spent a ton of alone time, meditation (something I never thought I would practice) and action to change my own behaviour as well as set new boundaries for myself. Learning to let go of situations and sometimes people has been the most difficult part for me. I think it’s the things that are the hardest, that propel us towards substantial growth.
What’s helped me most through all the self discovery, was having someone I trust, listen when I needed an ear. Thank you and I love you T! If you ever feel like the pain is too much, reach out to a friend, relative, therapist, help line or anyone you trust. Always remember that feelings are temporary, and a quick conversation can make a world of difference in your perspective.