I came to the realization today that my relatively impulsive decision to quit my comfortable, secure and routine job to take on a more challenging role was more of a symptom of my upcoming mental breakdown than a sign of stability. Looking back, I had continuously ignored the many yellow and then red flags that’s appeared on my path. Had I not been caught in the whirlwind that is alcohol and depression spiralling out of control, I might have paid better attention. Ongoing and unresolved emotional stress had been eating me up inside and instead of turning to the took I had learned in my years of therapy, I slipped and chose what was for me the easiest way. And that was to withdraw from the world and wrap myself in the cocoon of isolation and comfort myself with alcohol and sadness.
I was wearing the mask for the world to see and it was exhausting. I began to withdraw even further from seven those closest to me. I was lost in an alcoholic haze most evenings and a robot in a job that I didn’t enjoy. I was now starting to suffer the consequences of my harsh decision and my mind couldn’t comprehend what I had done to myself, yet again. The endless tears began on a Thursday and didn’t stop until late Sunday evening, followed by three days of zombie like sleep. I had a close call again with Suicide but called for help from a friend and supports were there.
Moving forward, as part of the next stage of the recovery journey, I need to let others know what my flags are so they can be my watch party and intervene earlier. I’m learning to trust them and that they will keep me safe when my brain is telling me different. It’s hard to tell them my flats because they’re often embarrassing or shameful, and I’ve spent most of my life hiding them as I’ve tried to appear “fine” to the world. But I’m finally getting to that place where I realize that the “world” that I care about and what they think is actually just ME.
I live with an illness that makes me want to die. It’s not an easy thing to live with. It’s hard to wake up each day and be optimistic that maybe today will be THE day I have gone through all this suffering for to experience and going to bed feeling defeated. To feel like others around you have this secret or special skill to live differently – like the way you’re supposed to – and you just are wrong in some way and don’t fit in. To feel an emptiness even when among a room of your closest people. To have moments when you are in so much pain that you lie on the floor and you wail and the sounds coming from you echo your of pain, fear, loneliness, and grief.
I don’t write to seek your pity. I write in hopes you understand someone in your life who may be suffering. Sit with them in their pain and sadness. Go into the darkness with them. Share your light. Be kind.