Everyone has a story. Everyone has enough life experiences to fill a book. Some would be happy, some would be sad, some would be horrific and some would almost seem like fiction. For those who struggle with a mental illness every day of our life could be its own book. We may run through a wide spectrum of emotions in one day or we may seem an extreme onset of just one of those emotions. I’ve often thought about writing a book and sharing my story. I wouldn’t know where to begin but I already have a title. From the pills to the noose, my suicidal journey. The more I thought about it the more I didn’t like the idea of writing a book about my story.
My story is no different than anyone else who struggles with a mental illness. It is not exactly the same but the struggles we share are very much alike. I equate self help books for those with a mental illness to diet books. Yes we realize we need help and its great that what is in that book has helped at least one person but when you try it yourself and it doesn’t work you end up more frustrated and less willing to try anything else. It’s much like the coping skills they provide you when you are hospitalized or even by a therapist. These are simply ideas, they are not guaranteed to work for you.
When you are in the fog you want anything, anything to work for you. Even if it offers temporary relief. For me it was retail therapy. I needed that instant satisfaction and would sacrifice long term security to get it. When I was working part time at Walmart my brother in law would ask me if I ever left work without buying something. The answer was no. Everyday I was there I made a purchase. I would buy things and never consume them. Like when the new flavor of lays chips comes out I had to buy all 4 but I would never open 2 of them. It was a rush for me to know that I had something that a lot of people were going to be looking for and wanting to buy. And the idea of buying something everyday was the one part of the day where I felt like an average joe. I was doing something that normal people did, it was my moment of normalcy in an otherwise chaotic day.
I can recall when I first separated from my ex and how I would look for anything to tell me that we were going to work out our differences and save our marriage. I can recall the number of bottles of jagermeister I drank during one week. I was so out of my mind I began making deals with God. I would say things like God if my marriage is going to be saved send me a message. Any message. An hour later I would get a text message from someone that was totally unrelated and for me that was my sign that things would work out. The next day another deal with God, that day nothing came. I became more distraught and would drink more. This would go on for days. One thing I learned is that no matter what the outcome of the deal was that neither of us was a winner.
We all want a fix. We want there to be a medication to come along. We wish that we could a brace on and be able to take it off and show people we are doing better. The bottom line is that none of these things exist. Antidepressants don’t make you happy. They are stabilizers. Antidepressants don’t cure life circumstances. Antidepressants don’t take care of the past due bills. Antidepressants don’t fix broken relationships. I’m not knocking antidepressants or any other medications. I’m not knocking therapy or alternative methods. The message I’m trying to pass along is that it takes more than a handful of pills or a few hours of therapy to help you along. Even when you get to the point of feeling better than you were before you fell into your funk that doesn’t mean you give up on your medication. Learn from my mistake. Not taking your medication once you have been diagnosed with a mental illness is the equivalent of a high wire act not using a safety net. You are gambling with your life without even knowing it. I wanted to be happy, not be made to feel happy. I took that macho approach and it didn’t end well. I do not ever see a day where I will not take a medication just as some will never see a day where they will not take a high blood pressure pill, or use an inhaler.
I wanted to write a book. I wanted to inspire people. I wanted to help people. I wanted to share my experiences so that others can learn from my mistakes or perhaps learn how to help a loved one with a mental illness. Every book I supposed to have a happy ending right? My doctor asked me during my last hospital stay, what will your happy ending be. I didn’t have an answer to that question but I do now. A happy ending doesn’t have to be me retired with a house on the beach. Or having millions of dollars thanks to a best-selling book. My happy ending is going to be achievable. My happy ending is going to be realistic. My happy ending isn’t the fact that I’m cured of my mental illness. My happy ending is the fact that I have the desire to live and share my experiences with others. My happy ending is the fact that I’m alive to write and share. My happy ending is the fact that I can be here to encourage and support others. My happy ending is the fact that I’ll be here to see my son grow up. It’s the small things that once seemed so unrealistic that one day can be part of your happy ending. Never stop fighting for that story book ending.
REMEMBER… YOU MATTER!!