**Trigger Warning – this post discusses suicidal thoughts**
(yeah, I know, I’m that girl with a trigger warning on her blog post lol)
When I started this leave of absence I was really looking forward to going home, and then as soon as I got here I began to regret it. Not so much because of the cold (and JESUS CHRIST IS IT COLD) or the snow (and JESUS CHRIST THERE IS SO MUCH MOTHERFUCKING SNOW I CAN’T EVEN), but because it didn’t immediately cure the depression I’ve been feeling since early January and, in fact, seemed to make it worse. When I go home for vacations I generally feel a wave of relief as I lug my suitcase up the stairs and dump its contents on the floor of my childhood bedroom. I sigh with contentment and prepare to regress into a blob in a sweatshirt who reads a lot of trashy novels and indulges in Starbucks mochas on a daily (or even twice daily!) basis, and I revel in it.
This time is different, though, because I’m not here for a break in between performance management cycles. I don’t have a return ticket yet. I’m here to rest, yes, but also to try to figure some things out, and to not be alone in an apartment while I do it, because I’ve been really sad recently and it can be dangerous to be alone and sad.
Last week, instead of dumping my clothes out on my bedroom floor, I emptied out my old chest of drawers for the first time in 15 years (fun fact: apparently I had a fondness in middle school for shorts with stuff written on the ass because I was #sofancy) so I could put my real clothes away. I spent a day cleaning out my closet and desk so that I have actual adult living space. I moved in, at least for a little while.
Instead of the relief I typically feel when coming home, I was listless and depressed. My brain was on overdrive, running a loop of self-directed insults about my worthlessness, ugliness, and laziness on repeat. My mom in particular kept asking me what was wrong. At dinner on Sunday with my parents and my brother, things got bad. I don’t remember exactly what was said, but basically my mom got frustrated and fell into the trap (which many family members of depressed people do, it’s common and understandable, if not useful) of trying to get me to “snap out of it” and “appreciate how good” I have it and realize that “other people are a lot worse off.” I retreated into my room and didn’t come down until past midnight, when everyone else was asleep but her.
For the first time since the night in early January when I called her sobbing, we talked about real things. Specifically, I explained the full extent of how I’ve been feeling since I turned 30. I’d never told her all of it.
The Thursday after my 30th birthday, I spent the entire shuttle ride (nearly 2 hours) home sobbing quietly in my seat. It took me 30 minutes to shuffle the two blocks from the bus stop to my apartment; I kept considering going back and throwing myself into traffic on Stanyan (not a very reliable suicide plan, but whatever). When I got home I wrote a suicide note. I thought about going up on the roof and jumping off (not the best plan either, in hindsight; a jump from my roof would likely only have maimed me, albeit badly). And then I called my parents. I don’t know what would have happened if I hadn’t, but I think it would have been ok. I would have called my therapist or the company emergency hotline, I think.
My mom was understandably upset to hear about all of this, but she was also relieved that we were talking about it. She apologized for what she’d said earlier, and after an hour or so of talking I felt so, so much better, and still do three days later.
One thing we talked about is that a lot of people have suicidal thoughts. It’s not uncommon, and it’s not something to be ashamed of or something that makes you weak or crazy. The important thing is to get help and talk to someone, and realize that actions are different from thoughts. I didn’t act that night, and I’m glad that I instead called my parents and have since discussed that night and how I’ve been feeling with my therapist, doctor, some friends, and now my mom. So yeah, if you’re going through anything, please check out the many resources that are available and feel free to call a friend or family member to be with you until you feel safe!
Anyways, after having this conversation, I’m finally beginning to feel a little of that relief that I usually feel when coming home. I don’t feel as lazy or useless and the monologue of insults in my head have quieted (even though I took a long nap today lol). Part of me thinks that I had to come home just to have that conversation with my mom, if nothing else – to be able to look her in the eye when I told her how I’m feeling and know that, while she doesn’t always understand me, she loves me and will always try to help me no matter what I’m going through.
So yeah, I’m not entirely sure what this post was even about, but at the end of the day I’m glad that I’m here and am able to write this, I guess. And yeah, if you ever do feel like you’re in so much pain that you would consider hurting yourself, call a friend, family member, or go to www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1 (800) 273-8255.
In lighter news, tomorrow my mother and I are going to a Muse Paintbar to paint a picture of a willow tree while drinking wine, so…that should be interesting! Stay warm, my friends.