585 days later & 5 takeaways
It's been 585 days since I checked myself into an inpatient psychiatric care facility. I was severely depressed to the point that I was a risk to myself. I felt broken. I felt worthless. I felt like I was always 'screwing things up'. I couldn't accept my own positive attributes and accomplishments. I didn't believe any of it was true. I felt un-loveable. I wanted everything to stop feeling so difficult and overwhelming. I wanted to disappear.
On top of that, I was mad at myself for feeling these things. "Why the hell couldn't I just be normal?", "I'm so difficult, whiny, moody.... bleh", "I'm more of a burden on everyone than anything else...". So much negative self-talk.
There's still a chunk missing from our wood coffee table where I was repeatedly stabbing it while daydreaming about turning the blade on myself.
I didn't understand depression or mental health in general. I thought people with mental health issues were just imagining things. I didn't think it was real and I didn't know I could feel better. I stumbled through my 20's without developing much in the emotional intelligence realm. I'd do my best to put on a pleasant happy face when I needed to. I didn't understand my emotions and wasn't able to manage them in a healthy way. I'd lose my temper or express my disdain for a situation in moody, immature ways.
Hope doesn't come naturally to a depressed person. Neither does accepting help, initiative, goal setting, etc... I tried to isolate myself from the world - deactivating social media accounts, removing myself from group texts, not answering the phone... When a loved one suggested I go to the hospital and get help, I first felt the my defensive ego-driven response creep up. Then I realized, I was already at bottom. Maybe this could help. My go-to response hasn't served me well. Maybe it's time to accept that I need help.
September 15th 2016. The day I accepted that I'd hit bottom, the day my eyes and my heart were open, the day I started on this journey, the first day of the rest of my life.
The last 585 days haven’t always been easy, but there’s absolutely no question, I’m a better person now than I was before. Layers of ego continue to be stripped away. I continue to become a more loving person.
What are some of the most important lessons I’ve learned?
1. Love is ALWAYS the right answer.
2. People aren’t annoying – I just get annoyed.
3. It’s okay to not feel okay – the storm will pass.
4. Other people struggle too – we’re all just trying to get by.
5. The mind is plastic – it can be trained.