As 2016 draws to a close, I find myself reflecting on it and instead of the usual disgust and sadness, I feel an unusual sense of pride.
Don’t get me wrong, 2016 was a very hard year, there were ups, but there were more downs. My suicidal feelings grew to fever pitch and if I am honest with myself, I barely escaped with my life. I felt lost, alone, broken, and hopeless. There was even a 2 week admission to a psychiatric hospital where I undertook daily group therapies, was started on medication, and monitored on an hourly basis. That was probably the most confronting of all, to be away from my husband and children, to be surrounded by strangers, doctors, nurses, and other patients, but it was also awakening. The tears I cried at being away from my most cherished family made me realise that I needed to fight the depression and anxiety that told me my only option to escape my emotional demons was to take my life, because death was going to isolated me from them on a permanent basis, not just a few days or weeks, forever.
From that point on, I decided to put my trust, and life, in the hands of my psychiatrist, I chose to listen to his advice, to take medication (even though I was so terrified of side effects as I am a drug sensitive person with many adverse reactions), to trust him with years worth of trauma that I had kept from everyone, even my dearest husband of 15 years. Why? Because I had nothing to lose, and everything to gain, but I could not do it alone.
Things are changing! With the support of my amazing husband, the love of my children, a very select few friends, my caring GP, and my awesome Psychiatrist, I am starting to see the light, there may be something for me past the depths of despair that I have lived in for most of my life.
This week I actually have felt happiness, it was frightening at first, a rare emotion that scared me with its unfamiliarity, and trepidation at times filled me as I worried that it would leave as fast as it came. I have found myself laughing, and feeling a sense of pride in myself for what I have accomplished. Again, strange emotions that are not common to me. There has been hope, forward thinking, and excitement about the future, I can not even explain when the last time I felt those things were, in recent years each day has seemed like a bleak doom which I needed to somehow survive through.
This week I collected and burned all the prescriptions that I had collected over the past year, stashed and ready to be filled so I could suicide if I was unable to keep holding on. Most days in recent years have been spent bargaining with myself to keep living, or let go and be free in the darkness of death (but knowing I would then pass my pain to someone else, my husband, my children). But this week, I let go of that back up, I didn’t want to have a “safety net” available to me anymore, there was hopefulness, thoughts of a future that didn’t bring fear and anxiety with it.
My Psychiatrist this week told me he was proud of me, he talked about the courage it took to reach out for help, the progress this year has brought, and he encouraged me so much about the fact that now we have started to talk about healing and laying down the groundwork, next year will be even better. My dear husband also tells me this on a daily basis. Their faith in me has meant that slowly I have started to believe in it too.
So if you are at the start of your journey, please know that I believe in you, you can do this. It won’t be easy, it is a slow and at times painful process. There are possibly going to be many downs, and at the start the success may even seem to be outweighed by the spirals backwards. But if I can reach this level, you can do. YOU CAN DO IT. I know you can. I have faith in you. You are worth saving, you are enough! Please keep going, pushing forwards, there is hope for you too.
I know that there will be more downs for me, that recovery is a slow process, but I also feel there are worthwhile things ahead, and I am so thankful for the fact that I have survived this year. A new year brings new hope, new chances to heal, a fresh beginning.