Before I Learned to Live

It’s been a year and a half since my last trip to the hospital.

Life has been challenging this last year. There has been a mountain of change and my mental health has continued to ride the same familiar roller coaster that I have traveled for most of my thirty years.

A year and a half ago, life wasn’t that difficult. My husband had a good job, I was working on my business, we had our two dogs. But I was not doing well emotionally. I was anxious all the time. My depression was deep and vast. And that summer, I couldn’t handle it.

I was on a heavy cocktail of medications to try to curtail my severe anxiety and the worst of my moods, but they weren’t working. I was taking more and more of my anxiety medication and one day, I took too much. I overdosed and almost died. I nearly passed out in a dog training class and E rushed me to the nearest hospital. I don’t remember anything after leaving the class.

I woke up the next day in the hospital, hooked up to machines, and unable to speak. I passed out again and woke up hours later, I think or maybe it was the next day. None of it is clear to me. Once I was fully recovered, they sent me to the psych ward.

Weeks later E and I were talking about his experience. Before I woke up the first time, the doctors had told him that I was in critical condition and no one was sure if I would wake up.

I imagined how I would feel if doctors told me that E was in critical condition and might not survive. It made my heartbreak to think about how he must of felt. And it was the final piece for me. In that moment, I realized that I would never put him in that position again. For better or worse, no matter what, I was going to live.

Sitting here today, feeling as anxious, stressed, and sad as I have felt in a long time, I am struck by how easy it has become to endure.

Life is difficult. I am depressed and some days I wonder what the point is of living. But I keep going, because living is the only choice. We are nothing if we are not alive, even if living means staying in bed or sitting on the couch all day. I have learned to live.

If you are struggling with being alive, think about someone who loves you – a family member, a spouse, a girl/boyfriend, a pet, a neighbor, a friend. Imagine how you would feel if something happened to them, if they died. And then know that this is how they would feel if you died. Even if you don’t think anyone cares or if you think that these people would be better off without you, imagine how devastated they would be and hang on to that. Hang onto it as long as you can and get help. Comment here, or send me a message.

Call the suicide hotline 1 (800) 273-8255 or Contact the National Alliance for Mental Illness 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or info@nami.org. They can help you find resources in your community.

You are not alone.

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