I had my first therapy appointment this morning for the first time in seven months. I tossed and turned all night just at the thought of it. What would they ask? What would I say? It’s not like I’m in dark about my mental health. I’m very well aware of how bad things have gotten. All it took though was telling someone just how bad it was for me to realize the only thing I’ve been doing the past seven months is digging my own grave. Maybe not intentionally but if I continue down the road I’m on, I fear I won’t last another seven months. I read an article on Facebook today about a 27 year old dietician, Tara Condell, who took her own life. She left a suicide note on her website, still it was days later when her fellow employees missed her at work that she was found. That is heart breaking for me. Her note was her cry for help that people heard far too late. It is the first paragraph of her letter that haunts me. Not unlike something I would write myself at this given moment.
“I have written this note several times in my head for over a decade, and this one finally feels right. No edits, no overthinking. I have accepted hope is nothing more than delayed disappointment, and I am just plain old-fashioned tired of feeling tired.”
She takes the words right out of my mouth. Was it fate for me to see this article? She goes on to talk about things that I don’t quite understand at the moment like how good it seems she has it. Because I can for sure tell you I do not have it good. Perhaps at one time I did. But I no longer do. She speaks of things she will miss. Would I miss more than just my cats? That’s something I don’t have the answer to. Through her death and in her letter, Tara very well may have helped saved my life. I WANT to have it good once again. I WANT to have things to miss. I feel as though if someone had read this letter in time this sweet girl would still be here. Everybody’s low is different, true, and depression is not biased against who has it all and who doesn’t but coming from an insider this letter sounded like a cry for help. The real tragedy in suicide isn’t those left behind, it’s the life, often times cut too short.
Every forty seconds someone commits suicide. Could Tara’s have been stopped? I’m not sure. What I am sure of is that I owe it to her, her friends and her family to make sure mine stops. At my therapy appointment this morning I admitted to another human being that I sleep, on average 18 hours a day. That I have stopped taking my meds. That I have given up and I come home and read this. Coincidence? I think not. I am not alone in this disease.
My goals are small for now. My therapist gave me two things to do. Personal hygiene and journaling. I have got to get in the habit of waking up and showering everyday no matter if I have anything to do or not. For my sake. For my sanity. And journaling. Well I have been needing to do that for some time. I have so much on my mind and very very few, if any body, to talk to about it all and thats why it’s so important that I get it down on paper and out of my head. I hadn’t realized just how much this one step could help out. Oh, and taking my meds. I’ve been on them for some time and even though I feel as though they don’t work I still owe it to myself to continue to try.
Depression literally effects everything. From hygiene to work performance to relationships. If I hear one more person tell me it’s just an excuse I’m going to scream. It’s MORE than just an excuse. It’s a disease. It’s wanting so badly to get out of bed and do something about your life but not having the capacity to do so. It’s crippling. It’s kept me in bed for days at a time. It KEEPS me in bed.
Depression is like the feared dementor coming to bring you your last kiss. Everything turns cold and dark. Living with severe depression is like living after receiving your dementors kiss. You’re the living dead. Your soul gone. Everything dark, cold, and gray. Even sunshiny days seem dull. The will to live is gone.
I know this depression. I live this depression everyday. It’s a battle to get up every morning. To do menial task such as take a shower, clean, get ready for an event is monumental to me. It’s exhausting. My job has suffered from my depression. I’d rather be asleep than doing anything. If I’m asleep I don’t have to face the world and the fact that I’m sad. I’m probably losing my job soon. One of them at least. My main source of income. What will happen after that I don’t know. I had hope before this but it seems like everyday that goes by my depression gets worse and worse and worse. What will become of me? Will I just waste away? Or will I somehow find the strength to pick myself up?
Depression effects how well you clean. My room is a mess. There’s trash strewn about. Clothes everywhere. It’s not that I don’t want a clean room or a clean home but I’ve become so overwhelmed and going back to bed is just easier. It’s gotten to the point where I physically can’t get up to do anything anymore. I’m so low that my energy is shot. I don’t sit around and watch tv or eat bon bons. I sleep because my body and my soul is tired.
Depression effects relationships. You become paranoid that no one likes you and that everyone is against you and you will find that some people are. You will find that some people don’t understand mental illness and would rather stay that way than lend a compassionate heart or ear your way. Family starts drifting farther apart. You miss things. You get left out of things. People stop inviting you to things because you never show anyways.
Depression effects hygiene. Just getting a shower seems like running a marathon. Forget small things like shaving or brushing your teeth. You gain weight like crazy even though you’re barely eating. It’s like you’re body is preparing to hibernate for the rest of your life. Physical appearance isn’t one of your top priorities anymore. Sleep is.
Now that I’m soon to only be working one to two days a week again I’m afraid now more than ever I’m going to lose myself to this disease. This illness that is a burden to have and a burden for anyone who loves me. They have to watch me fall into the abyss. I know on Saturday I’m going to hear it’s an excuse and that’s fine. Some people don’t understand mental illness and that’s their choice. It’s not an excuse just like a diabetic having to take insulin and watch what they eat isn’t an excuse neither is being in the grips and the horror of full blow depression. If you’ve never slept more than two days in a row, woken up to see how horrible your house and your life looks, to full on projectile vomiting; then you my friend do not know depression. I am almost 30 and have had this disease since I was 11. That’s how old I was at my first suicide attempt. My last one was at the age of 14. I have wanted to since then but have remained hopeful that something will give. This is the worst my depression has ever been. Will I ever see the light again? I hope so. Only time will tell.
“…If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it – then you are ready to take certain steps. At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier softer way. But we could not” – The Big Book.
I think taking steps is easy. For ME its standing still thats hard. Its waiting thats hard. There is so much I can’t do because I haven’t been sober long enough, or I don’t have enough experience. Its heart wrenching that I didn’t decide to take this life changing journey for myself sooner. Something that has been so healthy for me. Something that has changed, and most definitely SAVED my life. If it weren’t for this program of 12 steps I would most certainly have taken my own life. I don’t fear the day that I want another drink, or another valium, I fear the day that I want to take my own life. That day scares me. I deal with suicidal thoughts almost every other day because of my borderline personality disorder, being sober now just means that I can FEEL it. I can feel the desperation. I can feel the heart ache and pain. To the point of my chest literally hurting. I get physically ill now, more so then when I used to. At least once every two weeks I’m throwing up because I’m so stressed out. I know it won’t always be this way and I know I have got to give it to God but some days I want to burry my head in a pillow and cry and never leave my room. I feel like I should just hide myself away because all I do is mess things up. I know this isn’t true and this is my disease talking but it doesn’t make the FEELING any easier. Standing still means FEELING. It means being present in the moment. It means not looking into the past or glaring into the future but simply observing where you are now. I’ve never really been good at that but ironically its the best thing for my BPD.
Once we have realized the key to being present and standing still the rest of the steps come easy. The rest of life comes easy. For you are not worried about what has been or will be. You are not dwelling on anything. Simply observing what is happening before your very eyes. I have no doubt that if I work the program like the Big Book tells me too and that if I stay in the Here and Now and stay focused on my Higher Power that I will be able to stay sober as long as I shall live. Now whether or not I’ll be able to do that I cannot foresee. I hope and pray I am. For being sober has saved the very fabric of my being. And changed every faucet of who I am. In a GOOD way. I don’t think ANY old friend would meet me on the street and say that I looked bad or I looked rough. I look and feel amazing 90% of the time. I am filled with a joy and happiness I can’t explain. A best friend of mine asked me the other day if I had been using, I quickly exclaimed “NO!!! It’s GOD!!!”. I never in my life thought I’d be so excited and happy and thrilled to live such a simple life. Such a quiet life. Such a STILL life. Theres that word again. That word that ever reminds us to be present. Here and now. Once you are still the whole world seems to just slow down a little bit and you can breathe. I have been going for so long that I have forgotten how to breathe. I am like a baby being born again. I have recently started to learn the practice of Thai Chi and the movements are so precise and slow that its hard for me. I haven’t been STILL long enough. My teacher always has to tell me to stop FALLING into the movements. I know I will and I know that in due time I will learn that stillness. Being Patient is also part of the road to stillness and when I am able to be patient with myself I can start to be STILL.
You never know how many people really care until you hit rock bottom. People start to come out of no where. People you thought had forgotten all about you still remember your smile and the impact you had. No life is too small or insignificant. Everyone has a place. Even me. In my own weird way. I don’t know where I fit in this world but I know I was put here to help. I helped a girl out with clothes and a bible while in the hospital. One of the first things I did was get her a bag ready to go up to the hospital. It meant way more to her than it ever could to me. I didn’t do it for me I did it because I saw a need that I could fill. Something I could do to make the world a better place. So I did. I will call this girl until she leaves. I also met a man who lead me to get sober from my valium. Not that its bad for everyone but I have been on it for too long and everyone notices a difference of me on it. And thats what I hate. I want to be the best Katie for everyone. I hate being anxious but at the same time I don’t want to be a robot.
Part of being inpatient is giving up your freedom. Your sanity basically. You stare at walls for long periods of time just to think about the decisions you made that got you there. Which I can tell you sucks balls. I cried like a baby my second day. My first full day really. My second day I started to see the light and I started to do things that made me feel good, like run when we went outside and not sleep all day. I played cards with group members. I made people laugh. I’ll never forget those people. The people that impacted me far more than they may ever realize. You may think your life is insignificant and I know I sure did but no life is too small. NO LIFE is not important. NO ONE should be left behind in this cruel world I don’t care who you are. This world is scary and lonely and I don’t care what you’ve done you don’t deserve to be alone.
My friends and my family have carried me as far as they can and its time for me to carry myself. I pray for the strength and the courage to do so.
As most of you know I suffer from mental illness. I speak openly about it in my blog and I am not ashamed to speak out about it. It is a prevalent illness across the world and needs to be addressed and not suppressed. These past few days I have been inpatient at a hospital here in Columbus MS. I was having terrible suicidal thoughts and my moods were so off. I was betraying my friends without intention and things were just getting out of control. I was pushing anyone and everyone that cared away. So that way leaving would be easier. I saw what I was doing so I knew I needed to check myself in somewhere so thats just what I did. I didn’t hesitate on my decision. Once I decided I was going I was going. I knew it would be scary and I knew I wouldn’t like it but I knew it was what I NEEDED. You are the only one that can take care of yourself and you are the only one that knows yourself well enough to know if you need help or not. I sought help because I knew my life was in danger. From my own hands. Which is pretty dad gum scary. I love life and I want to be here to help people but I have a disease which tells me I’m not worth it. And that no one loves me when in reality thats not true. Neither statement. IF you or someone you know needs help I urge you to get them to seek it. Its not fun but it does help. I feel a million times better. I came home to a car that won’t crank, a locked phone, but I am fine. I am okay. Everything will be okay. I have a roof over my head, I have friends that love me, and food for my belly. I can’t ask for more. I will get my phone to work and I will get my car to work at some point. Freaking out about it isn’t going to help. Being upset about it isn’t going to help. I’ll tell y’all all about being inpatient just as soon as I can. But I’ll tell you something there were times when I thought it was the worst decision of my life but now that I’m out in the free world I see that it was the best decision I could have ever made. I am back and I am ready to write!
As I look around my house and see boxes and crap everywhere I wonder how it is that I got here. I JUST moved here. I’m not supposed to moving yet. This was supposed to be my new start, instead it became the end of my time here in Florida. Never in a million, trillion, thoughts did it ever occur to me that I would be moving back to Mississippi. Ever much less this soon. I feel like not making it here is letting so many people down, most importantly myself. I couldn’t make it. Its as simple as that.
I went for a walk early this morning trying to use one of my DBT skills and I noticed there was a park right by my house. I had never known for nearly 6 months there was a park right by my house with a walking track and everything. HOW much of a recluse I had become. I used to go out and explore. I used to be adventurous. I used to explore. What the hell happened? I have no idea. I’m trying to find that girl buried under all the hurt and pain. She’s in there somewhere.
When I wake up Monday morning my whole life will be completely different. I’ll be somewhere completely different. If you had asked me three months ago if this is where I would be I would have said “uh you have got to be kidding me”. This was never my plan. This wasn’t even plan “B”. This wan’t even a plan until it HAD to be one.
That is a picture of the front of the house I’m going to be living in on Monday?
Am I ready? Hell no
Am I excited? Yes
Am I scared? Hell yes
Is it time to go? I think so
Will it be good? Yes it will be
Lets see what chapter Columbus holds. I will be off till I can get to a coffee shop or somewhere with Wi-fi to work on the blog. I will think of you all. All over the world who follow me. I thank you. You push me to fight another day! Chapter Four will be revealed in Columbus as well for “A beggar, A prostitute, and A writer” So watch out of that coming soon!!
I have seen things I cannot unsee. I have second hand partaken in things I wish I could say I didn’t. All I was trying to do was help. Thats all I ever want to do is to help. My second day on the street was my last. OR so I thought. IT was the last day I would be out there begging although I did go back tonight to help and bring bags a friend helped me put together. Thats when I saw things I wish I could unsee. We will get to that. But first let me to you about Jason. Jason was this sweet boy, well guy. Probably my age. Who is homeless and lives on the streets. He has nothing. He has only himself. I took a liking to him on my first day. He walked by me and read my sign and said “yup, thats what I’m always saying”. So on my second day I figured I would see if he wanted to sit with me. Maybe a couple would make more money? And we could split it evenly? He agreed and we went down to the Sanger Theater. I got to know Jason. I got to know how sweet a soul he has. We had been in the heat for over an hour and I hadn’t eaten all day and I could only imagine. I had a few bucks on my LLR card and knew they had half off pizza at a downtown pizza place so I asked if he had eaten today…he didn’t say anything. He just up and left. He came back with subway and gave it to me. I asked where he got it he said “money”. Its true, the homeless take care of each other. I wish I hadn’t gotten the news I got tonight. Anyway that was just the beginning of Jason and mines adventure that night. We saw an Eagle Scout and I was able to say I was a Gold Award Recipient. Not sure how good that looks but I said it. It doesn’t matter what you do in your youth you can still make mistakes as an adult that can lead you to begging on the street and I hope his mother had a long talk with him and I wish I could have shared my story with him. I wish I had had the courage then instead of now. To tell him the mistakes I made and what not to do. Maybe thats what my book will be. A guide of what NOT to do. Seems fitting. I know everything that DOESN’T work. Jason and I also met a future congress man Phil Ehr. With whom I got to express my deep concern for the mentally ill and the homeless. He squatted down and got to our level and LISTENED TO US!!! How inspiring. I will definitely vote for him. NOT because of his party, not because of his opinions on anything but because of his compassion and the fact that he looked at me and treated me like a real person who had a real vote and a real opinion that mattered. Thats why. I hope one day he is our president and I get to look back on the time I met our president. With my friend Jason. Who will live forever in my heart. I may never get to say goodbye to him. I went back downtown after I left that night. Jason and I made out with $6 a piece. Which is good for 3 hours I suppose. Anyway I brought Jason a comforter I wasn’t using so that he wouldn’t be sleeping on cement. Well tonight when I went to deliver the bags my friend and I made up “Little momma” said he went to jail and they took his comforter. I blessed him with Rose oil that night in the name of the father and the son and the Holy Spirit. I don’t know if I did it right. If I did then may be jail saved him. He had a roof and three square meals a day. But I wouldn’t wish jail on anyone and they took the blanket I gave him. I hope they give it back or put it with his things. He is a real person. Those are his things. They may not be much but those are his! My heart hurts for selfish reasons. I wanted to see him one more time. I wanted to say goodbye. Knowing he is safe makes me feel good though. But I hurt. I hurt for what I saw tonight. I saw a lady do heroine. My high school sweet heart died of a heroine overdose. I told her that. I told her not to do too much. She told me not to give people any more money. I said “yes ma’am”. Knowing I had just contributed to the heroine she was smoking. Did I give her a lot of money? HELL NO. I don’t have much to give. She was making a point to a sweet naive little girl. The world is cruel. The world is sad. The world is broken. And my heart alone is not big enough to fix it. I have come to realize this and it breaks my heart even more. I can’t take anymore emotions tonight. I just wanted to deliver bags to the homeless. Not learn life lessons and have old wounds brought up and find out that a good friend will never know the impact he made on my life. Y’all take it one roe at a time. I’m off to bed for now.