I Realized I Wasn't OK, And It Scared Me

I Realized I Wasn't OK, And It Scared Me

The first step in fixing a problem is admitting there is one.

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The first step in fixing a problem is admitting there is one.

But how can you fix a problem if you keep pretending it doesn't exist?

I always thought that I could handle anything that was thrown at me no matter how big or small. I always saw myself as the person who had a smile on her face no matter how bad things were. I never talked about my problems to my friends out of fear that I was bugging them, and I never talked to my parents out of fear they'd say I was "crazy."

But when my family started going through some financial hurdles this year that put extra stress on me, I started to bend under all the stress.

I started isolating myself and not answering texts as often throughout the day, I started noticing every little flaw about myself. I didn't eat much. My mood dropped. I cried often. My grades had started to suffer because I couldn't concentrate.

I used concerts, the one thing I love most in this world, to mask the pain for a few hours.

When I couldn't take it anymore, I finally reached out to my best friend and broke down. I told her everything that was happening, and not once did she judge or laugh at me. She listened to me, offered her support, and we grew closer through it all, surprisingly.

These past few months when I was at my lowest point, I saw it not only in my emotional state but in my personal and professional lives as well. I became withdrawn from my team when they needed me, I was missing deadlines, I wasn't responding to emails, and I wasn't writing as many stories as I normally did.

I noticed that it was taking a toll, but I just didn't have the energy or motivation to do anything about it.

How could I fix something that was breaking when I couldn't even fix myself?

Something that I had always preached to my friends when they were in these situations was music. Music can be a stress reliever, but people can also take comfort in knowing they're not alone.

I finally took my own advice and gave it a go.

"The Great Depression" by AS IT IS came out last August, and it's one of my favorite albums, but until I recently saw them in concert and met them, I hadn't quite paid it as much attention as it deserves.

This album is a concept album, and it tells the story of a man who finds himself face-to-face with Death. This album also touches on mental illnesses and tries to understand the nature of them while questioning society's romanticization of said illnesses while relating them to our everyday present problems.

This article isn't about how amazing this album is, although that may come later, it's about how I knew I had hit rock bottom and needed to climb back up but didn't know how until I rediscovered this album and met some of the sweetest people I'd ever met.

I'm taking each day as one, and I'm slowly getting better. I'm starting to see that life is beautiful and worth living, that my friends care about me, that I am worthy of love, and that I am stronger than I give myself credit for.

Recovery is messy. Recovery is beautiful. Recovery is emotional. But it's so worth it.

I promise.


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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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My Therapy Sessions Cost $155, My Antidepressants Cost $30, But My Mental Health Is Priceless

Maybe money DOES buy happiness.

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Getting diagnosed with clinical depression was definitely a game changer for me, especially considering I was only 15-years-old. As if life as a high schooler wasn't hard enough, now I was an over-emotional teenager who had to take medication to help herself feel somewhat normal.

Little did I know that the combination of therapy and medication would quite literally save my life.

It's so easy to walk around a store looking at price tags on everything and trying to decide, is that shirt really worth $15?

Here I am telling you loud and clear: Your mental health is PRICELESS.

Granted there are plenty of days when I'm already in bed and I think, "Crap, I forgot to take my meds" or I grumble at the thought of having to go to therapy on a day when I'm feeling fine and I'm not sure what I'll have to talk about. But looking back on every session, every medication, I could not be more thankful that I have those resources and the ability to access them. Sure they cost an arm and a leg (especially without insurance), but I'd rather be spending the money doing what's good for me rather than having a little bit of extra cash when I feel absolutely miserable.

If you struggle with mental illness and are not medicated or do not attend therapy sessions, I'm truly encouraging you to do so! Talk with your doctor about taking generic brand medications or help you find a support group if you feel you aren't financially able to afford regular therapy or brand name drugs.

Most importantly, don't ever EVER feel like less of a person because you go to therapy or take medication.

I know for a long time I was stuck believing I was dumb, or weak for needing to go see a counselor or take meds to simply stabilize myself. After spending way too long on beating myself up, I realized that I'm no different than any other person who receives help for their own illnesses. People with cancer go through chemotherapy, people with infections take antibiotics, when you have a cold, you might take NyQuil. Whatever the case may be, never apologize for doing what's best for you!

You have a right to make your mental health a priority, no matter what the cost may be.

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