Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night. Oil on canvas, 73×92 cm, 28¾×36¼ in. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There is mention of suicide within the content of this post. If that makes you uncomfortable, I ask you to please move on to a different blog post of mine to read.
The number one cause for suicide is……depression. Most people who attempt or complete a suicide is because they are experiencing intense emotional pain and they want it to stop. Suicide appears to them as being the only option available. Approximately 30,000 people die from suicide each year and there are over 750,000 attempts each year. 1 in every 25 people who attempt suicide will actually complete the act….those statistics are scary and quite disturbing.
I’ve tried to think back over my life in terms of “always being bipolar’ as the consensus was, I probably was Bipolar, at least from the time I was a teen. Figuring out the depressive episodes were easy, they typically are. It’s the mania that sends us into forgetful mode, or we only remember the good parts of our mania.
1986: My first one that I clearly remember, I was about 8 or 9 years old, maybe a little younger. There had been a death in the family. Not someone I was particularly close to, but one I had known my entire 9 years. It wasn’t his death that depressed me, but the nature of his death…….suicide. I really knew nothing about it, but I did know it was the act of one taking their own lives. I had no idea why anyone would actually want to do that to themselves. I never knew how much this man’s death would impact my own life. As I grew, things became clearer to me.
1991: I was about 13 years old. I had spent a lot of summers’ and weekends’ with a relative of mine and it was the summer before their separation that I had decided I didn’t want to spend any more time away. That summer was the first time I had ever been on a vacation with my Mom, Dad and brother. To me, the world was perfect. I was where I thought I belonged. That year I entered jr. high school and I was so excited to get my first report card……I had not just made honor roll but distinguished honors. I was so proud, I called my Mom and asked her to come get me rather than me taking the bus home. Her only response was, “Not today!’ ……. “But you promised if I made it, you’d come get me!” I pleaded…..“Not today!” So, I got on the bus and went home.
That night I found out my father and mother were separating. That’s why she couldn’t come get me. I was devastated and heartbroken, my family, my world was falling apart and I felt guilty. Guilty, because I had made the distinguished honors and not one person in my home even said, “Congrats”. After that, I didn’t even try in school anymore. I floated through the days’ because I had to, giving little or no effort to any assignments given to me. By the end of my 7th grade year I went from being a distinguished honors student to a barely passing statistic.
That was probably the longest depression I can remember. I lost a good number of friendships. Mainly because they didn’t understand or didn’t know the turmoil I was going through. However, I did make new ones and ones that weren’t very good for me. Friends’ that had already been down the path I was walking and had learned how to self-medicate. They became my prescribing doctors’. This was how I coped for a while, until one summer I found myself completely alone and terribly depressed. I would spend hours upon hours using my nail polish on notebook paper to signify the way I was feeling inside. Many times, I had to mix the colors to get the dark enough color my inner-being felt. I remember, one night, sitting on my Mom’s kitchen table with a knife in my hand, pressed against my wrist. It was the first time I had ever thought about actually killing myself. The phone rang, an old friend of mine. She’ll never know how she saved my life that night. The depression lifted again and I soon found myself back into the social circle. I was self-medicating.
In 1994: My Hubs (yes we’ve been together since high school) was staying with his parents’ clear across the country and had decided to stay for good. It felt like my entire world had come crashing down again and I was abandoned by another person I adored. I isolated a lot. I did not make any new friends, as Hubs had been my only friend for over a year, I only mingled when I found myself needing to self-medicate and then I’d go back into hiding.
`1995: A friend of mine had committed suicide. She no doubt was suffering from Bipolar Disorder, at the very least, Major Depressive Disorder and I say ‘least’ extremely lightly. She had tried many medications, many med combos and she never felt any relief. She didn’t have much support from her friends and family. The morning she killed herself, I was wrapping presents for my 2 month old son, the entire time, listening to the scanner reports and tears streaming down my face. It saddened me more that a child hood friend of my brother’s, a rookie cop none the less was the one to find her. A friend that was also a friend of her’s. It was a depressing Christmas because how could I be happy and enjoy myself when I knew 2 children were spending the first of many Christmas’s without their Mommy.
1996: Hubs and I separated for the first time since his return from living with his parents’. He packed it up and went clear across the country. I called my Mom, had her come get David and I had her boyfriend take me to the ER. It had been the first time since high school that I thought about harming myself. I began taking inventory of what I could OD on as I didn’t want my family to find me a bloody mess. The crisis worker I spoke to was a tall, dark-haired woman, who made me feel bad for being depressed. Told me if I really wanted to go inpatient she would admit me, but that I wouldn’t be able to see my family for at least 10 days. Family was exactly what I needed so I opted out and moved back in with my Mom.
From 5/96 until 12/96 I spent sitting with myself in deep depression. I functioned because I HAD to function. I had a little boy who depended on me being the best Mom I could be and no matter what it took I was willing to be that kind of mom. Depression took back seat and I invested my entire being into being his Mommy. But it was always there, bubbling under the surface.
2001: AC had been born and I could remember how out of sorts I had felt. If you knew my mood prior to his birth, the crash was quite terrible, but not debilitating and I was able to pick up the pieces quicker than I had before. When he was about 9 months old, I found myself back in that pit and went to my GP for help. The diagnosis was Postpartum Depression (PDD) and I was prescribed Paxil, which did nothing more than send me in an agitated state where I became extremely argumentative with everyone around me.
2002: LA was born and my inability to bond with her left me feeling frustrated and crushed. Again, I was prescribed Paxil with much of the same results.
2003: The death of our twins…..how could anyone walk away from that not feeling depression. At just 23 weeks, they were born much to early and their lungs could not function properly. After 2 1/2 hours of holding them, watching my mother, brother and sister-in-law hold them, my Hubs hold them, I held them both where they passed away peacefully in my arms. The days ahead were gut wrenching and again Paxil was prescribed….this time, I just threw the script away and dealt with it alone. I believe this is when I truly started to isolate and became a recluse for quite some time.
2004: A sensitive situation arose between Hubs and I, leaving me with very few options. I’m glad I chose to fight and I’m glad that by this time everyone around me knew I was crazy enough to fight right to the end if I had to.
2006: My Mom passed away….Prozac and Trazodone this time…..both of them sending me into a whirlwind of emotions I did not understand. I never filled those scripts again.
2011: Found myself depressed once again, no real reason other than my judgement as a parent was being challenged. But even after the allegations were found to be false, the depression still did not lift. Zoloft this time, sending me off worse than the Prozac ever did. After a 2 month trial, I gave up and landed in the ER.
From that point forward I have swung in and out of depression much like a revolving door. Twice since May 2011 I have contemplated taking my own life. But as Sully Erna says in his song Broken Road, “I will fight as I always fight with what’s inside of me. The Warrior spirit inside of me.”
Until next time…..