*BIG trigger warning on this post. Talks about Depression and has mention of some graphic suicidal thoughts and actions/ self harm. If you are easily triggered right now, I would not recommended reading this at all. *
Unrelenting. Unforgiving. Empty. Hollow. Excruciatingly painful. Physically painful. Confusing. Heavy. Suffocating. Desperate. Lost. Isolated. This is what Depression feels like. This is how it makes you feel. It’s hard enough to deal with these symptoms and with Depression as an adult, but what about when you were a kid? I had problems all through my childhood. I was predestined for a life with mental illness I guess you could say. We are very old friends. But there was a point when it got noticeably worse.
I’m not going to bore you with my earlier childhood, I’m just going to skip right on ahead to when I was about 10 years old. One night, when I was about 10 years old, I was drying the dishes after dinner. I remember standing there in a half light, just me by myself. I always dried the plates and cups etc first and left the cutlery and utensils until last. I picked up a knife. It was some kind of carving knife I think. I held it in my hand as if to dry it but instead I just stood there, looking at it. As I was looking at it I thought to myself, ‘I could cut myself with this…..I could kill myself with this’. I don’t know how long I stood there for. Eventually I just left the knife and went to my room. I don’t know what purpose it is serving me but, 16 years later, I still remember this almost as if it were yesterday.
Maybe the reason I remember that moment is because it was ‘THE’ moment. It was the first time that I knew something was wrong. But I didn’t know what. I was terrified. I was terrified because, at 10 years old, I couldn’t understand why I was having those thoughts. I couldn’t understand why I would want to do that to myself. I didn’t know that it was a Mental Illness. I was confused. Obviously I jumped to the conclusion that something was wrong with me, that I was ‘defective’ but for the most part I just tried to ignore it. But hey, we all know it’s not that easy right?
It got worse. Just kept getting worse. And worse. And worse. I was too ashamed to tell my parents. I was afraid that I would get in trouble for having thoughts like that. I kept withdrawing more and more. I was incredibly anxious, especially around people. The thoughts of self harm and suicide were persistent. I became a perfectionist in certain things and when I wasn’t the best I felt even more like a failure. Just adding fuel to the fire. I was in so much pain. Honestly, thinking about it is making me cry. I was in so much pain and I was so confused. I wasn’t even in High School yet. I thought that there was something wrong with me. I thought that it was all my fault. That I wasn’t good enough. That I deserved to die. I was in so much pain, I thought that death must be better than this. I didn’t know that I had a mental illness, I didn’t know that it wasn’t my fault. I didn’t know that I was going to be okay, I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. I wasn’t even in High School and I already saw no future for myself.
I started High School when I was 13. This is when stuff got real. This is when I started cutting my self. I started out with barely more than scratches. I was afraid that someone would see. But it escalated pretty quickly. I wore a sweater every day. I wore watches and bracelets all up my arm. I was so ashamed, I didn’t want anyone to see. I was starting to hear voices too. They made me very agitated. I would talk back to them sometimes. I started abusing over the counter pain pills. I found they calmed me a little before school. I wouldn’t take them every day, just some days. I started seeing people too. Hallucinations. Not real people. It reached a tipping point when I was 15 years old. One night, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I felt worse than pain. I felt nothing. I gathered up every pill in the house and took them.
I woke up the next morning. I was so angry. But I was also incredibly sick. So I went back to sleep. I woke up again, I think it was 9 or 10 at night. I was so done with feeling sick. I got up and found my Mum in the living room. I said to her, ‘I think I need to go and get my stomach pumped’. She asked me why and I told her what I had done. She was angry. Not bad angry though. I think that she was angry because she was afraid and upset.
When we got to the hospital they set me up with my drip and all that jazz then started inspecting me. My Mum was sitting right there next to me when they pulled up the sleeve of my left arm, displaying all of the self harm. Mum looked really upset. But how could she have know? For five years, I had been so ashamed of myself. So ashamed of every little thought in my head. I was a master actor. Aren’t we all?
Being in so much pain and not knowing why……Sometimes I think that not knowing why is worse than the pain. As an adult with a now seemingly accurate diagnosis, I find it much easier to manage during depressive episodes. I’m not saying it’s a party, but it does make it easier when you know what you’re up against sometimes. Not knowing what was ‘wrong’ with me, not knowing that I had an illness, that was hard. I was so young. I didn’t know. And I didn’t know how to get help, I didn’t know what kind of help I needed.
I have an illness. My whole life I’ve had an illness. There is nothing wrong with me nor has there ever been. I’m not defective or broken and I have no reason to be ashamed.
My whole family is amazing. Especially my parents. It was hard for them at first because they really didn’t know how to deal with my illness. But they really make an effort and I couldn’t love them more for that.
If you feel suicidal, please don’t ever feel like you’re alone because you’re not.
My name is Meghan. I have Schizoaffective Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder and Anxiety Disorder. I write about myself, my illness, my past and day to day life. I’m just here telling the truth about my life and living with mental illness. I’m not going to sugar coat anything. Why should I?
Meghan can be found on her blog, Facebook, and Twitter.
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