Those who know me, know that I wear my heart on my sleeve, I am pretty open with my life through my blog and book. But sometimes a topic comes up that hits a cord with me and I wonder whether or not I should write about it. Then I think if my writing can make ONE person stop and think and if it makes a difference to ONE person – then what do I have to lose.
The events of this past week – suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain touched everyone on some level. We all know someone whose life has been touched by suicide in one way or another. I have a dear friend I lost because of suicide not too long ago – it was a shock.
The thing is – suicide and that “dark place” knows no boundaries – no income level, no success, no popularity, no race, no sexual orientation….NO BOUNDARIES. You hear people comment all the time “Its such a shock, he was so happy….he had everything going for him” etc etc. No one truly knows the power of that dark place.
I am an almost 50 year old woman. I am happy, have a great life I love, happy marriage, 3 beautiful children. I grew up in a good home with wonderful parents. I am healthy, close to my siblings…I have a wonderful circle of supportive and awesome friends. I have a fun little business that feeds my creativity and passion. We are regular old income with bills and a regular house – but need nothing. But guess what? I have seen that dark place a couple times. I started an anxiety medicine a few years ago – I was having anxiety and snapping at people without even knowing. That was not me. My doctor diagnosed me with anxiety and depression and soon I was taking a prescription daily.
I have now been on an anxiety medication for 5+ years. Seems like every year the dose has increased a tad. This past winter I wanted to try to ween my self off it or at least lessen the dose. I was beginning to feel less emotions but got through the day. I wasn’t liking NOT feeling. I missed sobbing at movies, crying when my children were hurting and slowing down enough to love my husband. I was numb to a point. But I was smiling and got through my day without losing my shit on people. That to me was a success. I am not patient, but needed to find a way to be- my daughter needed a parent with more patience with all her quirks and personality.
My doctor changed my dose where I could slowly ween down and find the proper dose that felt right to me. Now, this was a good idea in theory – see your body can take 4-6 weeks to get use to a dosage. I had forgotten that. In 2 weeks time I went from 150mg to 50mg. I thought this is great I feel better…then the dosage really kicked in. I wanted to sleep all the time, wanted to be left alone, cried in the shower every morning. The littlest bit of disruption had me a wreck. I felt out of control and falling down a rabbit hole. I cried on my way to work over my daughter having a cavities and knowing the anxiety she would go through to get them fixed. I started worrying all the time about the future vs. enjoying the present. I literally felt like I was coming unraveled. I could not get a grip on my feelings, my anxiety and my world. I had actual moments when I was driving that I thought just one swerve and I could end this pain and anxiousness. I was starting to get a glimpse of that dark place when just that night before I probably was out with friends having the best time and lots of laughter. My dark place was so close to grabbing…but I still had the voice in my head that knew it was the medicine not being the proper dose. I needed that medicine because of a chemical imbalance that made me anxious and depressed. I wasn’t just sad, I was anxious and that lead to my depression.
I am back on my full dose and feel normal again. I will never go back to where I was. I need to be strong for my family…I also need them to see that it is ok NOT to be perfect, to have things that need addressing and to be honest with feelings and thoughts. No one is perfect, no one has a perfect life, not one person in this world is without flaws. It is ok. Sometimes you have to compromise things to be your absolute best.
I think of all these teens, adults, musicians, actors, chefs, designers – everyday people that struggle like this. It is a serious thing in our world – mental health, anxiety and depression…people who are one thread away from letting go because they aren’t healthy mentally. It should never be a stigma. It should be talked about in our homes, churches, schools and workplaces. If you have cancer or a broken leg people always ask how you are doing because it is a more visual thing…we need to be asking people everyday how they are truly doing.