**TRIGGER WARNING** This will be the first post I am going to begin with a warning. I realize the information you will read below may be frightening or concerning for many people. You may wonder why I am willing to share these stories publicly or even why. So in a brief sentence I will explain the answers to both. No one should fight alone!
If you are in a moment in your life where the fire is consuming you please call:
1-800-273-8255 or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
I can vividly remember the first moment I considered my presence in the world was not only unnecessary but I also felt it was actively hurting others. I was 14 years old. I had been dealing with depression and anxiety related to childhood trauma and abuse for as long as I could remember, but three years prior to this first situation I was adopted by absolutely wonderful parents. My adopted parents also happened to be my Great Aunt and Uncle. The path to becoming part of their family was long and filled with many situations I will discuss throughout different post. Yet the one thing that was consistent with my parents was an undying love for one another and their children, including me.
I do not recall what triggered those first thoughts at the age of 14. Yet, I vividly remember opening the pill bottle of antidepressants I had been given, by the psychiatrist, I was seeing and slowly pouring them into my hand. I counted each pill meticulously over and over. Putting them into bottle and again pouring them into my hand. I remember looking into the long mirror and starting at myself reminding myself of the lie I had said so many times in my head “If the people who gave birth to me did not want me, why would anyone?” This was typically followed with me convincing myself that my adopted family only kept me because they felt obligated to, since in my mind no one really wanted me. I am well aware those thoughts are completely untrue. I would love to tell you they stopped that day, but unfortunately thoughts exactly like that were strong and persistent until I began the proper medications and stopped worrying about what everyone else thought.
I do not remember every thought I had that day, but I do recall writing in my diary, as I have always loved journaling. As I sat on the floor in my upstairs bedroom I slowly took each pill. I again counted each one and looked into the mirror I used to get ready each day as I truly believed this was the last time I would stare at myself in a mirror. To this day, I have no idea how this moment did not take my life. I remember going into my bed and sleeping. I was awakened by my sister Edie. I am confident she had no idea exactly what happened to make me sleep so long, but as always one of my sisters was an angel in my life. It wasn’t uncommon for me to spend weekends in bed because not only was I a teenager, but I was also incredibly depressed. I had a reason to be tired after all as far as everyone else knew I had just started the new medication provided by the psychiatrist that Friday.
As I look back on those moments now I am still in awe. As a Nurse Practitioner and someone who thoroughly understands the risk of overdose especially with the medication I had taken it is inconceivable that I am still here. I wish I could tell you that was the last time I every contemplated the world not needing me here, but unfortunately from those moments forward it was a thought that consumed me. Most of the time when I was at my darkest, no one even knew. These were the times I appeared the happiest. I was too afraid to speak to anyone, I didn’t want to be taken away from my children and family. ***Take a moment and reread those last three sentences before we go on.***
Here is what I want you to understand, when someone tells you they have suicidal thoughts, it does not always mean they actively have a plan. Sometimes they are desperate for guidance. Most of the time when people reach out to share that story before they are in a medical setting, it is because they are asking for help. For far to long sharing those thoughts were looked upon as attention seeking and for far too long the suicide rates in this country have continued to rise. More than anything ALLOW people to speak with you and please understand that not all “suicidal thoughts” have an active plan and it is OK to ask if they have a plan. Sometimes those thoughts are more intrusive and overwhelming and require compassion and love instead of judgement and fear. Sometimes, those thoughts do require hospitalization and EVERYTIME those thoughts need prescriptive therapy and talk therapy.
If someone reaches out, PLEASE reach in, even if that means just helping them find the right people to talk to you. The first time those thoughts became my first attempt, can now be defined as 21 years ago for me. For 20 years I have fought the desire to leave this world, for no other reason than feeling like I did not belong. I say 20 because truly the past year of my life has been filled with realizing I do belong, even if I do not fully understand my true place or purpose yet. The ability to type those numbers is only because of the strength that lives inside me, which I must admit is not just my own. As I type that number today I realize I have never actually acknowledge that to myself. HOLY SMOKES for 20 years I fought that battle daily. 20 YEARS my friends. DO NOT GIVE UP THERE IS HOPE!!!
Seeing this each day is a constant reminder of not only the power of my mind, but also the strength of my soul! It will forever serve as a reminder of the moments I was at my lowest.
The last time I truly contemplated and planned my escape from a world I felt did not need me, is still difficult to speak about. As you can see above this is a screen shot (I took today) of the notes section in my phone. The particular note I have circled, is a note I had written on September 22, 2017. I want you to understand where my life was in 2017 and truly realize when people are hurting you may have absolutely no idea. In September of 2017 I was only 4 months away from marrying the love of my life, blending our two families, President of the PTO at our children’s school AND graduating with my Masters in Nursing to finally become a Nurse Practitioner. I was charge nurse in a local ER and from the outside looking in I was fairly happy.
I have always been pretty open regarding my childhood trauma, depression and anxiety. However, I had for so long packaged my true feelings of complete worthlessness in a beautiful box filled with love and positivity. While I will not share all of the details that led up to that moment in September, what I can say is if you have someone in your life that you do not know I truly encourage you to take the time to get to know them before sharing gossip with others. You have no idea what battles people are fighting. Although you may feel your conversations never reach the ears or eyes of others, I can assure you they always do.
While the situation I am speaking of itself did not “cause” the above letter or the feelings I felt in that moment, it was further proof to my brain that I was and always will be the problem. I was convinced in those moments that I was completely broken. I was convinced by the words of women who did not even know me or my heart. I was convinced I would never be able to be a good mother to my children or my bonus children. I was convinced I would never be accepted. I was convinced my worthiness was based on not only my own personal mistakes, but also the mistakes of generations before me. My brain, my trauma brain and two other particular situations; I truly wish I would have never found out about, allowed me to convince myself that I was unworthy of belonging or happiness.
While I only remember small bits of that letter, you see in the picture above, I do remember all of the pain and tears that occurred as I wrote each word. I assured my children that their Dad and their soon to be new Bonus Mom were better for them than I could ever be. I then wrote a letter to my soon to be husband explaining there was a note on my phone and that it would be in the pinned notes. What I did not consider is that in my chaos I had placed a lock on that note. A password I could not remember as I wrote the letter to Sam.
My friends, I had my plan down to a T. I did not tell one single person about that plan. I had even recently made a safety plan with my therapist. Yet, I told no one. I was completely prepared and had convinced myself this was what was best for everyone. If you have read this far here is what I want you to understand, my mind was so chaotic because of the depression and anxiety that in those moments I created a lock on a note that I can not even remember the password to. I have tried every single option I can think of to open that note since that day. If you have an iPhone you know that the lock password on notes is not something you can acquire if it is lost. To top it off you can not delete a note that is locked without the password. That day the true chaos of my mind saved me.
That note will be forever pinned at the top of my list, right next to the sizes my children and their cousins wear in clothing and shoes. That note serves as a reminder to me every single time I open my phone, that my mind was so chaotic I created a lock on a letter I believed to be full love for my children. The truth is what really happened after that is I realized through all the years of depression, suicidal ideation and anxiety those thoughts were NOT who I am as a person. Those thoughts were so chaotic that I locked the real me out of them.
If you are reading this and have never dealt with thoughts like this, I hope you can see that this is not just about suicidal thoughts. These thoughts occur everyday for so many people. The only way to stop thoughts of unworthiness is through gratitude and acceptance of who you are. That sounds scary and I wish I had a to do list, but I don’t my friend. This is not a “to do” kind of life. Start by looking in your mirror, stare at yourself until you find your self smiling, laughing and maybe even crying. This is where it starts. Allow that vulnerability to happen and the rest will follow.
How many things have you been grateful for today? How many times have you thanked yourself today? What beautiful things can you say about yourself right now? How can you help those who might be hurting? Simply by sharing gratitude, kindness, love and acceptance. As soon as we take away judgement of others and replace it with love the only choice we are left is to either love or judge ourselves. The choice is yours. I choose love!
My sweet friend, I know you are tired. I know you want to give up. I know it feels as if things will never get better. I know your mind is lying to you. I know you feel that everyone else would be better without you here, but your mind is lying. The heart you have the beauty you have the moments you take to write those “last thoughts” that sweet part of your soul is who you truly are. You have to step back from the chaos and if you must just close your eyes and rest. Allow yourself freedom to step into peace. Shut out the world, remove people from your world if you have to, but find yourself in that darkness. Allow your light to shine. Reach out for help. It took 21 years for me to find an antidepressant that actually made a difference in my world, I even believed I was too broken for medication. Now I look forward to taking it everyday.
I know it seems like I have a lot going for me so of course I wouldn’t give up… I have to say I would have felt the same way looking in on someone like me, but the truth is that little girl who slowly swallowed those pills in front of a mirror as been living my life for me for far too long. So long that I forgot to step back and find gratitude. I was never told that my worth was not based on what others think of me. I truly believed the worlds perception of me was all I would become, but my friends that is the biggest lie we tell ourselves.
Sweet friend, I know it seems as if the pain is unending. I write this to you from the other side of that pain. It won’t be easy, you will lose people you hoped to have around, you will make mistakes, you will fall and you will get back up again. YOU MUST get back up again. The pain feels never ending and you will not see the beauty if you stop now. Don’t expect perfection, no one is perfect. Expect to be judged, people can be mean. Expected to be called names, people are hurtful. More than anything remember this: People can only love you as much as they love themselves.
You are full of beauty and light, you just have to allow the darkness to be present for your light to shine. Do not give up. Do not allow the chaos of your mind to break the beauty of your soul. You are love, you are needed and there are moments ahead you don’t want to miss out on. I promise!
A few of the moments I would have missed
The first picture is 5 DAYS after I wrote that letter. I can’t even imagine having missed out on that moment!
Lastly, if you have questions or comments please feel free to leave those below or private message me @ firstname.lastname@example.org