Featured Image: A painting I did of my eye in 2017. You can always tell how depressed I am by how purple my undereye-circles are.
Almost everyone I know has struggled with their mental health at some point in their life. I also know that the experience is different for everyone, like whether or not they got support from friends and family, or received professional help, or made an attempt. So I figured I’d tell my story so next time someone asks what is wrong with me I’ll just send them this link.
When I was 12 years old, I got my period and was immediately overwhelmed by my corporeal existence. I first contemplated suicide only 4 months after my first period, so I assumed that was not a coincidence. It’s as if my eyes finally opened and I did not like what I saw.
Then in high school, I went into my “rebellious” phase. I started sneaking out, smoking weed, hanging out with older people, the whole nine. When I was 14 I somehow started dating a 20-year-old (Instagram: @uberrabbitx because he had the AUDACITY to follow me 10 years later.) We did make out once but nothing went further because I got caught by my parents. I broke down in front of them. I remember it vividly because I was crying so hard I could barely breathe. I finally got it out to them that the reason I was being so dumb was that I was suicidal. They made the right decision to throw me in therapy.
Unfortunately, this therapist was a goddamn kook. She once tried to hypnotize me, and even at age 15, I was too hard-headed to let some crazy lady get into my brain. The only thing I remember ever being helpful was that I said something about spiral-thinking, and she made me write down every spiral thought, so it went something like this:
I have no friends
So that means no one will ever like me
So that means I’ll be alone forever
So that means I’ll die alone
It was longer than that but then you look at the top line and look at the bottom line and you tell yourself you’re being fucking dramatic and you should get over yourself. Eventually, she did not know how to help me (hard-headed) and sent me to a psychiatrist and I never saw another therapist ever again. He was cool at first, he seemed to understand me. He started me on 10mg of Prozac and over a few years, I maxed out the dosage.
The years I was on Prozac, I also had an abusive boyfriend and so not a lot of soul-searching or introspection was done (in fact it was frowned upon by him– he once read my diary and got mad that I mentioned him, so there’s only one diary entry from like 2013-2016 and it mentions that I have no friends. So.)
After I finally broke up with him right before my sophomore year of college, I felt good for the first time in a while. The taste of freedom was sweet and it sent me into a bit of a manic phase. But then I made the mistake of getting into a “situationship” (a term I just learned). I was starting to feel all over the place at this point, and he even once asked why I was sad all the time. When we broke up (which was also the same month that Trump got elected, and was right before the holiday/winter season), I got severely depressed. I was suicidal. I even had a plan. I had to move out of the dorm I shared with my friends because all I could think to do was isolate myself.
One night I called the suicide hotline and got put on hold and was like this is the most ridiculous thing I have ever experienced– to the point where I think I was laughing. I went to the school “therapist” as well, and all he did was help me make a list of things to do/people to call when I was feeling suicidal. Which was weird and did not help at all.
So I went to my psychiatrist and because I’m not a dummy, I did not tell him I was suicidal, but I told him I wasn’t doing well. He changed me from Prozac to Celexa. Then it was Celexa and a mood stabilizer (that gave me a reaction). Then it was Celexa and Welbutrin. Then it was Celexa and Welbutrin and Ativan. Then it was Celexa and Welbutrin and Ativan and Rexulti–all ending up at max dosage. I became a shell of a human being. My brain fog was so bad I could barely keep up with school. And I was still depressed.
This drug cocktail made me feel pretty rough. I did end up writing a suicide note (I was going to hang myself), but once I got to the part that I was writing to my brother, I realized I could not do this to him. I decided I would never kill myself.
Once I made the extremely difficult decision to not kill myself, that was where the hard part came in. No longer could I use suicide as an exit strategy. I had to live through mistakes and embarrassments and the hard parts of life. I never thought I would have to write a senior thesis because I didn’t think I’d still be alive by then. When I got my thesis printed and in my hands, I cried in the Staples parking lot because I had made it.
After college, I decided that I might need to go to therapy again. This is when I found out that even though my psychiatrist was only giving me 15 minutes (of mostly him talking about himself), he was charging my insurance company for an hour of therapy–therefore I could not see a therapist (and he was committing insurance fraud). I was pissed. I no longer trusted him. I decided to stop taking medication and never went back to him. This is when the real healing began.
I actively decided that I would not waste another minute of my life being depressed. Unfortunately, I grew a bit of an anger issue for a while. I turned the sadness into anger because it seemed like the easier and more controllable emotion (it wasn’t).
It then became an anxiety issue. I even gave myself a stomach ulcer in 2019 due to anxiety. And that’s kind of where I’m still at now. I’m much happier, but anxiety still has a pretty strong hold on me. I stress about everything. This week I actually triggered my stomach ulcer again due to the stress of starting a new job and moving out at the same time.
Currently, my only treatment plan is the art of distraction. I distract myself with social activities, books, crafts, et cetera. But I am considering going back to therapy for the first time in ten years. I can only do so much introspection, diary writing, and blog posting.
I still have my suicide note saved on my external hard drive. It’s dated 4/3/2017. I just read it for the first time since then. It is actually kind of well written for being on so many drugs (but of course it is, I’m a writer). This part intrigued me the most:
“I have become self-destructive, more than you can imagine and more than I will ever tell. I do things I know are wrong just to feel alive. Making bad choices reminds me that I have choices.”
Also this absolutely manic diary entry 2 days after writing that suicide note:
“I also fucked [name1], THE HOTTEST guy in the class of 2018. Or cutest maybe. I had a really good time with him. I bought him ice cream and he said I love you. HA.” Then a few sentences later I write: “Yeah so I just wanna fucking DIE. Also [name2] is cute and nice and has good magic tricks.”