After swallowing the last of about 20 bottles of pills left in my husband’s medicine cabinet, I walked by the open door of the room where my daughter was sleeping. I looked at her sweet, angelic 9 year-old face with tears pouring out of me. The realization of what I was doing to her by ending my life hit me hard. I immediately woke my husband so that he could take me to the hospital.
Suicide – no longer an option
After getting my stomach pumped and wearing a barf bag around my neck for 3 days, my selfish thoughts of suicide were gone, but the depression was still unbearable. I felt paralyzed by it.
I had started out as a very optimistic and hopeful child. I was a dreamer and believed those dreams would come true, but somehow those dreams turned into the nightmare that was my life.
At 28 years old, I had already been through more pain than most, but, in the past, I was always able to bounce back and adapt somehow. But at 28, my mother had died from cancer at only 50, and a family friend had severely hurt my daughter.
The initial overwhelming pain from these two events were bad enough, but when I added my own ingredients of guilt and grief, the resulting dull ache of depression got the best of me.
The warm blanket of alcohol
I spent the next 7 years using alcohol as a therapeutic tonic, but, of course, this type of self-medicating didn’t work. I decided that I needed professional help. I stopped drinking and started taking the anti-depressants that were prescribed. They worked somewhat, but the physical side effects were less than ideal. I kept taking them however. I also went through therapy, but that didn’t seem to take either.
A few years later, my brother was murdered by his supervisor at work. I was kept so busy by the homicide detectives, the press, the funeral parlor, family, lawyers, etc. that I didn’t have time to really grieve. By the time everything died down, I took my first drink of alcohol in 3 years and started to cry. Those tears lasted for years. Again, alcohol was my medication of choice.
Life is not without painful events
The next situation (too personal for this article) put me in a paralyzing depression for eight months. I only left my bed to do the very essential things to get by. During that time, I thought of all of the individual events in my life that had caused me pain. I was riddled with a guilt that I seemed to wear as a badge of dishonor. The fault had to be mine. I fed this depression with more thoughts of loss and pain.
After 8 months of either insomnia or sleeping for 48 hours at a time, eating whole Sara Lee strawberry cheesecakes and deleting my checking account by buying everything on those late night infomercials, I finally said, “No more!”
What to do? What to do?
I had to completely let go of the guilt that I carried. I also stopped eating sugar and simple carbohydrates and started exercising. Sugar sensitivity and mood swings run in my family. Exercise got the “cob webs” out of my head that trapped the depression there. I realized that depression is a hole that can either be crawled out of or dug deeper. I chose to crawl out.
For me, anti-depressants were an uncomfortable crutch that I personally didn’t want in my life. They may work well for some, but they just weren’t for me.
The therapy I went through many years before didn’t take at that time, but my mind was in a different place then. I remembered back to what Margaret, my therapist, had said to me and finally took the best of that to heart.
I am a new woman. Bad things still happen, people still die and life is not a bowl of cherries. The main difference is how I react inside to what’s happening outside, and I am a happy woman now!