Trigger warning: Suicidal ideation.
It’s more than a Miracle that I am here alive, well, and functioning pretty normally when the first half of life I was a lost Zombie staggering, sometimes crawling , through my nightmarishly dark tunnel of a life.
I struggled most of my young adult life with what I believed then, to be situational depression and anxiety. This year, the painful and distorted past that I thought I had buried forever, has forcefully returned to for its Sequel of a lifelong series. Nowadays, I’m starting to see that maybe all along, I’ve been just a high functioning Mental Case myself!
This realization came, A couple of months ago, after sitting with my sons during their separate Psychiatrist and Therapists appointments which demanded me to revisit my painful past and exhume the struggles I have fought so hard to overcome.
You see, years ago, I honestly went through life thinking that thoughts of Suicide were just normal thoughts that EVERYONE has at some point in their life. Kind of like everyone experimenting with “recreational drugs” or alcohol, at some point in their lifetime.
Back in the 90’s during my last year in high school, I would hang out with friends for fun on weekends. Of course many evenings would start out fun, but would usually end with a fit of deep deep sadness, panic attacks, many tears and an overbearing desire to end all of that pain running through me, for good. I didn’t know there was a name for this morbid desire back then… I only just now learned that these intense types of thoughts are not normal and do not occur in everyone, these intense thoughts are called suicidal ideation.
After I emerged through the thick fog of this dreaded time of my life, I told myself that these thoughts were temporary, caused by the strong feeling of Aloneness because of certain circumstances in my life; My mother not speaking to me for (8) years because I ran away from home, No father in my life ever, my then boyfriend’s drug addiction, my becoming a young single parent at age 19 and raising sons on my own in poverty.
Once the millennium hit and I was then in my vibrant 20’s, those dreary thoughts were replaced with a surplus of energy and daring behavior. I’d do mostly anything to get new friends to come hang out with me. Of course I wanted nothing to do with people unless I had some liquid courage in me first. And my Best friend became hard alcohol. I was very sick in those days and would joke that I was made of 70% alcohol instead of 70% water. This went on for most of my 21st year. My validation was I was finally “legal”. I discovered that being intoxicated for all of my waking hours, numbed me and I no longer could feel pain or anything else.
In those days, I also had bouts of shopping binges. I’d randomly go out to any nearby store just to walk around for hours to fill my shopping cart with all sorts of stuff that I didn’t need or even have the budget for. This was very gratifying. It allowed me to feel importantly invincible. While I was doing this I could see myself wasting my time and money, yet I had zero control. It’s like some powerful invisible force took over. I’d always buy lots of stuff, things that I didn’t even need, then go home broke, then be mad at myself, then depressed about putting myself in a bad spot financially. I was trapped in a sort of spin cycle. Again, I just figured everyone had this problem.
In between those days and nowadays, there were multitudes of ups and downs, more downs though. Eventually I got tired of living life like this, and by now no one wanted to hang out with me, I almost lost my kids and myself.
My Turning point: I recall that morning day so clearly, on my knees throwing up, mostly dry heaving while holding on to the toilet seat for support. (My morning ritual) My best friend at the time, had just stepped in to give me a good tough love scolding the day before. (God rest her soul, I never got the chance to thank her for lifting my head up and being a part of saving my soul) Anyhow, I can still visualize this morning, my throat was burning, I was dripping with sweat, I was shaking, my head was pounding, and I had already been in the bathroom for almost an hour getting sick because after I got the tough love talk, I hadn’t touched a drop of alcohol and my body was withdrawing like it was doing the other time I tried to quit the drinking. I recall sort of floating out of my body and hovering right above me, looking down at pathetic me, I knew this time, “It was Time”. I am not proud of any of this.
I did’t know how else to be better or be stronger, and so I reached inside and outwardly screamed out with a genuine plea, “God, please help me, I can’t do this alone, I’m scared, I don’t know how and I don’t want to be this way anymore, please save me!” I cried there on the floor in my puke for another half hour. That was the last time I ever been that bad. Weeks after, I sought out therapy and they put me on a whole bundle of meds which did help greatly for a few years. Then I learned to quite all the meds and just feel all the emotions that life brings and ride through them until they pass. None of this was easy.
Now fast forward to today, my sons have grown and for the most part have had normal childhoods yet as soon as they hit 17 years old, they displayed symptoms, positive symptoms that were badly effecting them. The diagnosis of son#2, is Schizophrenia with Depression and the other son#3, Schizoaffective Bipolar. Some of the questions I have been asked from their Psychiatrists and Therapists were; Have you ever experienced hearing voices, or seeing hallucinations, feel anxiety or depression. Initially, the answers were always no…. but wait now my past is awake and I am being forced to look into my own mirror. During those awful teen moments of “wanting to end the pain” I may have heard strong intrusive thoughts encouraging me to end my life and convincing me that I was no good, that I never would be, and that my presence was only harmful to everyone in my life. As for hallucinations, I have had at least a dozen of what I thought were paranormal experiences that I now question. Did I really see apparitions, ghosts, shadow people, feel the touch of dead people, see trapped energy? I have no idea, but now I just don’t even know!
For now, what I do know is that I am Truly Blessed to have made it through to another side of normalcy and have been kissed with a touch of success. By God’s Grace. May he be as merciful to my Dear Sons.