2:52 in the morning. I have woken from a sound sleep. Laying there I felt the tears hit my pillow before I realize that I am crying. I am burdened with sadness for people I don’t personally know. Robin Williams, famous comedian and actor, committed suicide yesterday. A permanent choice to end the pain of a long time struggle with depression. He was just one of many — we won’t hear about the other suicides that happened yesterday — they were just everyday folk that mental illness claimed.
I cry for them, I cry for myself. I cry for those that are left behind to cope. It is something I know well. I am a suicide survivor. When I say I am a grateful survivor — it is sincere. I am grateful for each day I have the courage to get out of bed and face the world. In honesty, I would rather stay safe in the cocoon of my home where I am most content. Grateful that I have survived multiple attempts to end my life, too many medications to remember, shock treatments, countless hospital stays, hours of doctor appointments, therapy, classes, and programs. I cannot comprehend the time of my life that I have been a warrior in the fight against depression. Grateful, I am a survivor, to be sitting here at 3 in the morning typing this.
What I have lost is devastating. My children who can’t cope daily with a mother with a mental illness. As my child put it, “I can’t handle waiting every day for the call that says “This time she was successful, she’s gone.” Family who just don’t want to deal with “my issues” and respond by my alienation from family involvement. Fear of an intimate relationship because the burden is something I feel guilty to share. Friends who “disappear” during my dark times. The loss of a well-paid successful professional career to the distant doubtful dreams of process development, public speaking and a published author that still fill my head. The financial confines of a monthly disability and pension income.
I write them to document how mental illness effects every aspect of a person’s life. I am the face of mental illness people don’t want to acknowledge and cope with. I am the subtle eradication of a promising, thriving woman to one who is simply grateful for the basic simple things in life. In that is the blessing that keeps me alive. With the acceptance of my mental illness and it’s limitations comes accountability. I do everything within my means to challenge this deceitful, vicious, life-threatening illness. My body, my spiritual and my emotional well being are tended to daily. I find contentment in I may not have all I want, yet, I have all I need. In that is my message of a #grateful survivor and a #warrior against depression.
Today I am thankful for ..
- The knowledge that right now, these sad emotions are temporary, they will pass.
- Within me is the knowledge that stars shine the brightest in the dark.
- Those who love and support me, do so unconditionally. I can count on that and am secure in that. They are my lifeline when I am lost in darkness and feel life is no longer worth living.
The greatest gift I can every receive is the gift of time. Time that makes memories. Memories that sustain me in the darkness of my depression. Material things are alright, but, they can be replaced. Time with those we love can not be. There is no repeat or rewind on life. I am confident I am not the only one shedding tears tonight. Those of us, who are very aware of how susceptible to the darkness that claimed Robin, know we are statistical time bombs. And those who are grieving in pain and anger at the loss of a husband, father, and friend.
If you are feeling hopeless and/or are having any thoughts of hurting yourself, click this link http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1.800.273.8255. Don’t make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion.
affectionately yours, Laura