TW: i do talk about suicide, hospitalization, depression, and anxiety. so pls know that before you read this. i don’t want to upset anyone…
so, i got a tattoo on friday. now, i know what you are thinking “alexis are you seriously makes your blog comeback, to talk about your tattoo?” listen, i just needed something to start with please do not come at me rn.
anyway, i got a tattoo on friday. it was nothing too complicated, truly. just a hanger that at the bottom said “hang in there”. this tattoo does in fact have a meaning behind it, i thought i would just answer that question before it was asked. what does it mean? well, my friends, that is where we get to the real point of this post.
i have many mental illnesses that i don’t speak of. the meaning for this is because as a society we are taught that certain illnesses are not meant to be spoken about in a crowded room. they are meant for hushed voices in the back bedroom where no one can hear you. it’s just the way it was meant to be. we see this on television when they are used as plot devices to further a relationship or spoken about with some tragic song playing in the background. we learned about it from our parents and their parents. we teach each other when we whisper about it in secret and promise not to tell anyone. we are raised to believe that certain things should be hush hush and that we should feel ashamed that they effect us. well, i’m done with that now.
so, again, i have many mental illnesses. i suffer from ADHD, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and depression; or at least that’s all that i am diagnosed with. These illnesses arose all at different points in my life. only to come together as i grew older and slowly turn me into the chaotic mess of an adult that i am. honestly, it sounds worse than it is.
now due to these illnesses deciding to work in perfect harmony, i have suffered from many side effects, if you may. one of these is the fact that i have been, since i was a freshman in high school, and person who suffers from suicidal thoughts.
i know you are all thinking “this is so shocking!!” “wow, but you seem so happy.” “i never would have known!!” honestly, even my therapist said those things when she first found out. the fact of the matter is that i hid it and extremely well. this being because we learn that suicide is something we talk about it behind closed doors. we are taught to be ashamed of it. which, i’m not saying we should proud of it, but we should be able to feel comfortable enough to talk about it. because, if i’m being honest, talking about it saved my life.
i know, it sounds dramatic and you probably won’t believe what i’m about to tell you next. which, it’s fine… i understand, i couldn’t believe either when it was happening.
so, some back story. i obviously have issues and i have finally come to the decision to find myself some help. thus i got a therapist and a psychiatrist. i was medicated and i talk to someone once a week, it’s great.
at first i was talking wellbutrin which gave me hives. so my psychiatrist decided to put me on an SSRI called prozac. prozac and i always had a weird relationship. it took longer to kick in then wellbutrin which wasn’t the best since i wasn’t doing my best. however, i knew it was take longer and i dedicated myself to hold out for this stuff to work. i was extremely hopeful that prozac would teach me how to be happy again, and how to make me smile again… to feel fine, really that’s all i wanted. well, my luck, that didn’t work out exactly how i wanted.
it started on a monday. i woke up and felt worse than i had before, but i just assumed it was because i was tired so i ignored it. then tuesday came and i felt even worse, but i ignored it… told myself, it would pass. wednesday was next, and i was walking across a bridge and i remember stopping for a second and thinking “i could just jump off”. everything for me, it went numb like i didn’t feel anything. i became slightly dissociated, like i was watching myself fall apart. and all i could think was this obsessive thought that i could just jump and it wouldn’t matter. and i wanted to, but i didn’t. i kept walking and later the feeling passed.
the next day was thursday, and i think that was the worst day. i was on a bus, and i was happy before it happened. i was excited to work, but then it happened again. everything went numb and all i could think about was just going home and take all of my meds at the same time because i could. because i had the means and i could and it wouldn’t matter what happened. and that’s all i could think about even when i came out of that dissociated state, it wouldn’t stop. i felt like i was losing my mind, so i contacted a crisis counselor and after talking to them i contacted a few other people, including my therapist. she called me recently after and helped me calm down before scheduling an emergency appointment the next day.
so, i worked and then i went home. i removed all the dangerous things away from me and i went to sleep, or i tried to. the next day i met with michelle. we discussed in-depth the feelings i was having and how they were so much more different than any other time before that i had been like this. we came up with a safety plan and then realized that maybe it wasn’t that safe… so by the end of our session, we decided that i should go to the emergency room since they had resources that could help me better than anyone else.
so, my roommates took me in and i admitted myself. i was in the emergency room for 4-5 hours before i got to leave. after talking to a counselor and nurses and a doctor, it was decided that i got to decide what i wanted to do; this being because i was aware of my own feelings and what was going on. aware enough that i could be trusted in that moment to make a good decision.
due to the fact that being in that room made me feel a million times worse, i decided against waiting to be admitted to the hospital since it would take a couple of days, and instead going to a crisis center. we then decided my prozac was the cause and i was removed from them. my roommates picked me up and dropped me off at the center.
i was only there for a night, but i did get to talk to more counselors and decide on a plan in case everything got worse. after that night i went home. i didn’t feel okay again, but i was more stable. i knew i had options, i knew what caused it, and i knew people cared about me enough to help me if i continued to be unsafe. these things helped my mental state and definitely helped my recovery. which, i can say, despite how rocky it was at first; i am better. in case anyone was wondering.
so, i got a tattoo because of that. not only to remind myself that i am strong enough to get through something like that, but also to remind me that it happened. that i live with some not so pretty things, but that’s okay. because those things are part of who i am. my illnesses helped develop who i am as a person… and, god, it isn’t pretty and it isn’t what people think, but it is what is and i can’t change that.
these moments, feelings, and illnesses, the ones we talk about in hushed voices and behind close doors, they aren’t something to be ashamed of. no matter whether we like it or not, it’s part of who we are. it defines parts of us, even if we don’t want it to. and i think the best thing that my therapist ever told me is the way to get past these things isn’t fight them, but to accept them. if only because accepting them makes it easier to find a way to work with them; thus finding healthier ways to cope.
so, the point of this entire story wasn’t me wanting your pity or for you to feel bad. it was a way for me to say that i’m done hiding it and fighting against it. these mental illness are apart of who i am, and i’m not going to be ashamed of that anymore. i’m not saying i’m going to broadcast it all over facebook everytime i’m sad… what i am saying is that i’m not going to lower my voice when it’s brought up. i’m not going to close the door every time something like this happens. i’m done with the way society teaches us that it’s better to keep our mouths shut about an illness then to ask for help. these illnesses are real and they cause some very real things to happen. i know that sometimes mental illnesses seem like some story told to us on the tv, but it’s not. it’s probably the realest thing i have ever experienced.
so we need to stop hiding it and teaching kids to be ashamed of things that are just as real and serious as physical illnesses. we need to allow people the ability to speak out and ask for help. we need to be able to talk openly about these things just like one would when they break their arm. we can’t continue being ashamed of it. our perception of mental illnesses and the way we treat them need to change. we need to be speaking out about these things, not shutting the door every time you want to tell someone that your depression or anxiety or whatever else is getting bad again.
it’s time to stop shutting down about mental illnesses, it’s time to start talking instead.