I have a secret. It’s kind of surprising, considering the things I write about, but it’s there nonetheless. My physical health issues aren’t secrets. I’ve written about them so much, talked about them, posted on my social networks, even co-led a few support groups. There’s little about my physical health that isn’t known.
I’m an advocate for talking about your issues. I will always firmly believe that the only way anyone learns anything about anything is because someone somewhere talked about it. But when it comes to my mental health, I’ve mostly kept quiet. Well, no more. It’s time to end my silence and help end the stigma.
I have, and always will, battle the demons that are suicide and depression. It started in my preteen years, before my physical health became a major issue, and only got worse when my physical health decline intensified. Still, I’ve survived and continue to survive. Not only do I survive, I thrive, despite the ups and downs of life.
I attempted suicide five times and still struggle with depression, but even when life is hardest, I no longer want to die by suicide. (You can read more about my battle with overcoming suicide here.)
Even though I’m no longer suicidal, I will never forget those years. I have tremendous empathy for those who are still suicidal. I support you and wish you well on your fight through it. For those of you who have never felt suicidal, there are some things I hope you never understand.
I hope you never understand what it feels like to wake up and wish you hadn’t, not because you didn’t get enough sleep or don’t want to go to work, but because you realize another day has come, and it doesn’t feel good. You are disappointed that you didn’t die in your sleep.
I hope you never need to rely on people to remind you to be asleep or awake. I hope you don’t ever have to have people force feed you because you are too depressed to eat on your own. I hope your family never hides knives from you, or you never have to have someone in the bathroom with you when you take a bath so you won’t drown yourself. I hope you never feel alone in a room full of people.
Most of all, I hope you never understand what it feels like to forget what happiness is. I hope you never feel like death is the only way out of your sadness. I hope you never experience the complete emptiness that is suicide and depression. I hope you never feel like there can’t be a future for you.
Because I promise it gets better if you let it.
If you ever do feel like suicide is the only way out, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK ( 8255 ).
ELLIE is a 44-year old woman living in South Carolina. She works as a cashier, but is always dreaming of more, though she’s isn’t always sure what more is. Ellie’s favorite hobbies are reading and writing book reviews. She was originally diagnosed with progressive relapsing multiple sclerosis, but recently the diagnosis was changed to malignant multiple sclerosis. Ellie blogs at https://elliejeanb.wordpress.com/. Her biggest hopes are to be a voice for the chronically ill and for no one to have to feel alone.
Radical hope. Compassionate change. Equipping those affected by chronic physical and mental illness through community and education rooted in Jesus Christ.