On Friday, April 4th, 2014, I stopped breathing, literally. In a moment of complete despair and hopelessness I tried to take my own life. Call me selfish, call me ungrateful, call me whatever you’d like… but unless you’ve suffered the crippling effects of mental illness, who are you to judge. In that moment I was doing everyone a favor. Were I gone, there would be no more worrying. My loved ones wouldn’t have to deal with my breakdowns; wouldn’t look at me with concern as my body withered away. Me going away was just as much for them as it were for myself.
I awoke in the hospital intubated, disoriented, and scared. My body was being flushed with medication to save my liver that was failing. An IV provided my malnourished body a source of fuel. My loved ones were at my side, still frightened but finally feeling a sense of relief… I was going to be ok. Two days had gone by. Two days my family waited by my side in ICU. Two days of my life were gone. Seeing their faces hit me with such a force. If just two days had done this to them, how would a lifetime have left them?
Mental illness is real. Yes, we all have our ups and downs, but for some those downs are indescribable. To hate one’s self so much to feel that death is the best choice is a feeling I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Yet, there is this horrid stigma attached to metal illness that has left so many feeling alone. We hide the disease from everyone, including ourselves, because we should just get over it, right. Suck it up. Deal with it.
Why does our society accept drug and alcohol abuse and promote its recovery yet treat those with a mental illness as if they are faking some ailment? Why do we commercialize recovery centers for addiction but leave those suffering with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, eating disorders, etc to fend for themselves?
We suffer in silence afraid of what society thinks. We suffer in silence because we believe it is our own fault. We suffer in silence fighting demons that no one can see. We suffer in silence mentally and physically hurting ourselves because we feel we deserve the punishment.
It’s time to break the silence. It’s time to breathe again. It’s time to live.
"Hope is real. Help is real. Your story is important" TWLOHA www.twloha.com