Trigger Warning: Suicidal Ideation
About a year and a half ago, I had an article published about deciding to take medication for anxiety and depression after hitting rock bottom. I felt 100% better. I was a different person, a better person, on that medication. I don’t know what exactly caused the depression and anxiety. Getting pregnant at 17? Becoming a mother and wife at 18? Dealing with family (in-laws) dynamics that were atrocious, heartbreaking, alienating? Undiagnosed eating disorders that have followed me from my teenage years into adulthood? Postpartum? Watching my sister achieve her goals, live her seemingly perfect life, and do things “the right way” with a big beautiful wedding, house, and children? Watching my brother live the college life I never did? I don’t know.
What I do know is, starting that medication saved my life.
What the readers didn’t know, though, is that shortly after that, I stopped taking it. I gained 10 -12 pounds, and for me that was a dealbreaker. As ridiculous as it sounds, my weight meant more to me than not wishing I was dead. So I stopped the medication, and didn’t return to my follow up appointment.
I went back to the doctor a few months later and requested a new medication that would not cause weight gain. They put me on it. I took it for a couple weeks, then stopped, in fear of gaining weight.
Yeah. I would rather be a depressed, suicidal, ball of anxiety, than take a medication that would make me gain a little bit of weight.
And then, January 2021, a year-ish later, I hit rock ROCK bottom. Fuck. I thought it was rock bottom before. Nope. This was it. Suicidal, anxious, and absolutely lost, I went back to my doctor and requested the very medicine that made me gain weight because I knew it worked, declaring that I would rather be “fat and happy” than absolutely. fucking. miserable.
What nobody knew is that during that time between when I stopped taking the medication originally and started it again, I had a handful of pills in my hands ready to swallow to end it more than once. That I pictured myself in my closet doing the unthinkable. That when my husband and the kids left me alone at home, I thought, “This is it. I will drive somewhere and do it now.” I typed up letters to be found later to each member of my family. I begged every day for an “accident” to occur so I could leave without it being called selfish. I cried most nights. I screamed at my kids and my husband for no reason. I was so angry. With myself. Not them. And then wanted to be done with life even more because of it. I cried in my car anytime I was alone.
And I was too ashamed, felt like too much of a burden, and was too full of pride to ask for help. I knew what I needed, but I was scared to get it. I knew I needed medication. But was too ashamed to walk back into my doctor and admit I stopped taking it again. I was too ashamed to admit to my family that the smile on my face was fake, that I was absolutely falling apart. That I thought about ending my life multiple times a day because I thought their lives would be better off when they didn’t have to worry about me. I didn’t want to burden anyone. They already worried about me too much.
But this past January, I called my doctor’s office and begged to be put back on medication, telling them that if they didn’t, I didn’t know if I was going to be here in six months. I actually told her, “I am at the point that I am willing to gain weight, as long as I can feel better, because this isn’t going to work for me anymore.”
And I went because I could picture my kids if I wasn’t here, asking where I was. Them wondering if it was their fault because they didn’t clean up or listen to Mommy. And I could picture my husband, distraught, holding my boys, asking himself if he could have done more. And my parents, blaming themselves because they couldn’t help me. And my siblings, devastated. And my nieces, wondering why Aunt Roshi hadn’t come around.
I was still so ashamed that I felt so sad, so angry, so completely devastated, when I had such a good life. I wasn’t going to tell my husband at first that I was going to go back on medication – but I knew I had to. I was terrified to admit to my parents that I did – mostly because I didn’t want them to worry about me. I already felt like a burden.
I want to explain what I had been feeling. It was the feeling of being “stuck.” Like this was just life, and I was just going to have to deal with it. Does everyone feel this way? The answer is no. When I found out that not everyone has suicidal thoughts every day, I was surprised. I’d had them for so long, I thought it was normal. Normal. It was not normal.
Hopeless. I was hopeless. I had a great life, I should have no complaints. Yet I was still so miserable I didn’t want to be on this earth any longer. I had intrusive thoughts. Driving down the road, wishing a car would swerve and smack my driver’s side against a wall. Feeling myself fade. Anxiety so high, I didn’t want to get out of bed. Chest hurting, tears welling up. Worrying and worrying and worrying about my babies. Guilt. So. Freaking. Guilty. Why do I feel this way? I have a good life – a husband who loves me, kids who are sweet, hilarious and smart, family that would drop everything for me. Why do I hate everything? Why does it feel like my world is crashing down around me?
Empty. Hopeless. Guilty. Angry. Sad. Devastated. Falling apart.
Recently, I returned to my doctor to admit that this medication was not working the same as the first time. So I am now on two antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and a sleeping aid. I am no longer ashamed of medication. Of needing help. Of my mental health. I want to be happy. I want my kids to see a happy mom. To remember a happy mom. I want my parents to know I am okay. My siblings to know I will be around for a long time and we’ll be bitching at each other when we’re 90. I want my nieces to grow and know my love. I want to be happy. I deserve to be happy.
So I got my medication again. Turns out that what actually is selfish is letting myself fade away instead of fighting for life for my children, my husband, my parents, my siblings, my nieces, my family. For myself.
I am determined to make myself happy. My children deserve a mom they can remember as happy. Not angry, not short-tempered, and not sad. I deserve to be happy. I am 26 years old now, and cannot remember any part of my adult life where I could say with 100% certainty that I was happy.
I will scream it from the rooftops, even until I make myself listen. Get help. Ask for it. Do it. You are worth it. I am worth it. We were meant to be here. You are not a burden. You are not alone. Life is really hard. Being a parent is really hard. Being a partner is really hard. Being a human is really hard. But there is help. And most importantly, you owe it to yourself to be happy. And to live a beautiful life.
You. Are. Not. Alone. Don’t give up.