But now I WANT to be here

There was a dark corner in the living room where the dark heavy book case was. I used to squeeze myself between the bookcase and the wall. Here, curled up in the dark, I dreamed of running away. Sometimes I wished I never had to come out of my little corner, maybe if I squeezed myself small enough, I could disappear, just evaporate into the darkness somehow. Either way, I was sure no one would miss me. They might not even notice I was gone, except when they started to fall behind in housework.

I thought about death so much that I didn’t realize that wasn’t normal. Didn’t everyone wish they had never been born? Didn’t everyone think that the world would be a better place if they didn’t exist?

Maybe not.

Maybe God wasn’t as displeased with everyone else as he was with me. I was so sinful it was pointless to try and redeem myself. I couldn’t look in the mirror, I was too ugly and worthless.

Sometimes I held a bottle of pills from the medicine cabinet and thought about swallowing a bunch of them. Or maybe jumping off of some high place like a highway overpass would be a quicker way to go. I read a news story of two teenage girls who committed suicide by hiding inside garbage bags on the railroad tracks. They died when the train ran over them.

I wished that I could be as brave as them.

I wrote a will in my journal. Bequeathing all my toys and books to my little siblings and cousins. I told myself that the will was just for fun, but deep down I wanted them to know I had loved them if I wasn’t around to tell them anymore.

More than once, I tied a plastic bag over my head, and sat with my chest heaving as the air in the bag ran out. A strange thrill would rush through me as my vision started to go black…

But I couldn’t go through with it. I always ripped the bag apart before I passed out.

When I got my driver’s licence I fought the desire for death again. Every time I approached a long curve in the highway, I would look to see if a truck was coming the opposite way. Staring at the Semi coming towards me, I gripped the steering wheel with both hands, fighting with my mind. It would be so easy to let the car drift into the lane of oncoming traffic. A quick swerve into a two-ton truck would be sure to end it right? It was a relief to park the car when I arrived at my destination.

The depression didn’t magically end when I got married, I had the husband and children I had always wanted, that I had been told I was created for, but the urges still surfaced sometimes. Post-Partum depression hit pretty hard, even though I refused to admit it. I would find myself in the kitchen staring at the knife block, how hard could it be? Wouldn’t my husband and my baby girls be better off without me?

I found myself struggling with bizarre and terrifying thoughts of harming my new baby, something I could not rationally imagine ever doing to my beautiful children. I didn’t want to acknowledge where the nightmares and depression were coming from.

I told myself what I had told myself for years. I was bad. I was sinful. I wasn’t praying enough, reading my bible enough, seeking god enough. These thoughts, this depression, was all my own doing.

Two years ago I started unwrapping the onion for the first time. Digging through the past, the self-hatred, the anger, the messages that told me I was worthless.

Now instead of dark weeks and months with the random good day thrown in here and there, I have weeks and months of good days, with a random down day thrown in here and there. Now I am learning what it means to love life. I know what unconditional love is. Sometimes when I walk past a mirror, I actually look, and I no longer hate everything I see. This past spring was the first time I had a baby and didn’t have massive Post-Partum Depression. Even on my down days, that grip of death is gone.

I’ve begun the journey of healing.
Sometimes I still feel vaguely surprised when I drive past a semi and no longer feel any urge to end it all,
that feeling was there for so long.
I feel like the last two years has been an incredible journey from darkness to light. And in a time of year when suicide and depression spikes, I just want to put it out there that it does get better.
If you are feeling alone, if you are feeling like there is no point to life, if you are struggling with thoughts of ending it all. Just know that pushing through is worth it.
Get help.
Talk with Someone.
You are worth it.

Suicide Warning Signs

Hopeline

International Suicide Prevention Directory

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

  • Calah

    I know *exactly* what you mean. It was a startling realization this year to realize "Wow, I'm glad I'm still alive." I don't think I'd ever really felt like that before.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06233321050691782148 Michael Mock

    Wow. That hit me a LOT harder than I expected. I too remember being a little startled at the discover that "suicidal ideation" wasn't something that most people were doing all the time. I had been; why shouldn't they?

  • http://www.janetoberholtzer.com Janet Oberholtzer

    Thanks for sharing your story.
    Depressing and/or feeling suicidal is scary… I struggled with it after receiving horrific injuries in an accident and realizing I would live with pain, limitations and a deformed leg the rest of my life.

    One dark night I decided I’m done. I’m finished. Life hurt too much. I reached for a … pen and wrote my obituary.

    Something deep inside of me stirred when I saw it. I didn’t like how short it was. I realized I did not want to die, I wanted to live. But I didn’t know how to live with my new normal … I need help.

    Counselors helped me find my way… and helped me realize that life is worth living even though it hasn't turned out quite like I thought it would.

    If feels so good to have hope again.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05862958098020085566 katidyd

    I so wish my father in law had been able to get himself out of his funk somehow, as he took his life labor day. No warnings (though kids are grown and not living with him), didn't tie up any loose ends, didn't leave a note, nothing. He just did it and was gone. I so feel for you, and all the commenters here, as I have no idea how difficult that must be. Thank you for writing this. People are so closed off about this topic and the more people open up the more likely others will be to get help.

  • Anonymous

    I feel exactly the same way. When I'm driving I look at bridge overpasses and think about crashing into them.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I've been reading your blog for the last couple of weeks and it's hard to stop – it feels like we have so much in common. Which is strange, because our backgrounds are quite different, but the journey seems similar – battle with depression, finding who I am and what I believe in after spending my childhood in submission to my parents' ideals…They were not (at that time) christians, but I feel that I bear the same confusion you do. Do I deserve love? Who am I? What do I believe in? What kind of person, wife, mom do I REALLY want to be?
    Even the courtship story has similarities :)
    Anyway, I just wanted to say – thank you for writing, it makes me feel like I'm not alone.
    I'm glad you chose to live.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15528465833214550644 Katy-Anne

    This. Exactly this. Except that I'm not quite at your ending yet. I mean, I don't want to end it all anymore, but I don't have months of good times in a row yet either but at least now I have access to counseling and anti-depressants. And things are getting better and I think it might not be long before there are months of good times before the bad. :)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05598890631695015818 Pippi

    I'm so glad you've been able to come out of that tunnel.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17825458003284098965 Scott Morizot

    Totally different reasons and circumstances, but I was well into adulthood when I realized that it was *not* normal for 6,7,8 year olds to fiercely imagine their lives had been a dream and picking different points in the past to which they could return if they could just. wake. up.

    Peace.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10853868724554947854 Sheila

    My husband periodically suffers from depression. He's been reading "Feeling Good," which is a really helpful book on the topic (I read it too). There is a brief section on the causes of depression. Number one on the list is being told that you're no good by your parents, or not being told that you are good. Just that simple. The words our parents have can affect our thinking patterns for our whole lives!

    And listening to my mother-in-law, I can instantly see why my husband suffers from depression. SO easily.

    We hear a ton of scare tactics about gentle parenting: Your kids will grow up to be hooligans. They will go to jail. They won't be able to hold down a job. And praise for strict parenting: OUR generation got smacked. WE turned out fine.

    And yet … isn't it important for our kids to be happy too? And are the children of punitive parenting happy? Why are we all so plagued with fear, self-doubt, anger, depression?

    Let me tell you, no parent would continue on the disciplinary path they were on if they knew their child was suicidal at a young age. But kids don't tell us these things right out — especially when there isn't a relationship of trust built up beforehand. When I think of all the things I never told my parents — well, I realize that I had better do better than that when it comes to knowing my children's hearts and helping them trust me enough to share what is on their minds. No level of "discipline" is worth the level of depression you describe.

  • http://www.sacredbe.blogspot.com rain ::

    {{hugs}}

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10983885021582156186 Dina

    What a beautiful, hopeful, heartwrenching post. I wish someone had told me these things when I was growing up. When I wanted to die each and every day because of the horrible physical, sexual and spiritual abuse I was experiencing. I wish I'd known there was a way out, that I wouldn't always feel this way. I wish my dear ones who committed suicide because of the abuse they experienced in the same cult would have known that there was a way to live without wanting to die. Even in the early days of my escape from the cult I grew up in, I often wanted to die. I had a bunch of small children, and still death seemed like a better option than the feelings I had. I am so glad that my husband and I helped each other rise from the ashes. Through true faith and perseverance we began a journey of healing that we are still on.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04119146831238895695 TreasureSeeker

    I needed to read this. I know the truth in what you wrote, having had my own struggles several years ago.

    Over the past few weeks her support group in a 12step program basically blew up. People haven't taken her seriously when she verbally and through email said she is having suicidal thoughts. At least my boss has allowed me partial telecommute work to be around and encourage my wife.

    My wife has told me that I am the only reason why she is alive and why she chooses to live. She also has told me that she could not forgive herself if she committed suicide and that she couldn't dare leave me. We've been friends for 9+ years, best friends for 6+ years and got married last year.

    Does anybody know what it is that the hotlines do? Sometimes the only thing right now my wife is able to do is cope by watching YouTube or funny tv shows so that she doesn't have to think about the things depressing her. I'm wondering what kind of help is out there and what the help is (if it would help) to improve things now and also to help improve things if stuff gets worse.

    I trust my wife. I trust her love in me. But some days I fear going to work and then race home but still fear going home because I am scared to find my wife dead. :'(

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Treasure Seeker- Please call one of the hotlines. It is a first step in having someone hear you, believe you, and help your wife get help. If you go to the websites they have notes from people who talk about what the hotline did for them where you can get more detail on what exactly they do. (((Hugs)))

  • http://stepstakenajourneyoutofthewilderness.blogspot.com/ A Believer

    Melissa,

    Thank you for sharing such a poignant story. One that almost described my childhood to a T. This is Dee, by the way. I am so glad to read that you are finding peace within yourself and still courageously standing up against the oppression from your family. You are giving hope to so many of us who have suffered at the hands of spiritual leaders and well-meaning Christian parents. I am now following you on facebook by the way, under my pseudonym.

  • Liberated Liberal

    I think this is so fascinating. I've been struggling with depression for so long, and I couldn't figure out why, as my parents – my mom, really – was so good about telling my sister and I how great we were. But it finally hit me that while she praised us with words, we were and are judged so harshly. Not that she won't love us if we don't live up to expectations (she would truly love us and take care of us no matter what, even as adults), but that the outside world won't. It is her own insecurities that she poured into us. If a woman isn't beautiful, feminine, submissive and perfect, they're not worth anything.

    We were set on a path of fierce competition with classmates, and the anger from my mom (towards them) if they did anything "better" than we did was scary. To this day, she scrutinizes me when she sees me to tell me which parts of my body look good and which parts don't. That my hair is too messy, my clothes too big, too wrinkly, I'm too skinny, my chest looks bigger, my skin is ok, my skin needs work, I got a new wrinkle, etc., etc. Once my sister and I got older and realized that we could not "beat" everybody at everything nor were we prettier or better dressed, we sank into ugly, deep depression. We are smart enough to rationalize that this doesn't matter, but internally, we can't let it go. Because of this, I never learned what I wanted or felt passionate about myself. I only knew that I had to scrutinize what the other people around me were doing and make sure that I did it better. Now, at 30 years old, I'm left wondering what I want out of life. I haven't been able to look at myself in the mirror for 3 years now, because I can't live up to (now) my expectations.

    Our parents' attitude towards themselves, life and their children never goes unnoticed by the child. All of it is absorbed. So not only do parents' words need to be positive, but their actions must align with those words.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04119146831238895695 TreasureSeeker

    Hey, it's a few months later, just wanted to say thanks… and things are much better for both my wife and I.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    So happy to hear it! I hope life continues to get better.


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