Please stop trying to convince me I am not worthy of love, respect, feeling my feelings, and living. I have a mental illness but it doesn’t define me and I’m sorry you can’t handle that. I know you want my illness to take over and pull me into the depths of self-hatred. You get your power when I’m convinced I’m not worthy of this life.
You are a coward. And I’m done listening to you. Today I am taking my power back. Today I am going to take it one step at a time and turn my back on you. I no longer need your false validation to convince me people are better off without me, that this life is full of nothing but pain. I’m better off without you.
For so long I’ve sat with you on my shoulder, turning to you when life gets too hard, when I’m cruel to myself, and when others’ words hurt me. Surprisingly enough, you have been a comfort to me. Because I’ve always seen you as an option. But you are NOT and option any longer. You are NOT a comfort to me. You’ve fed off my insecurities and I’m sick of it.
I hate you for intensifying my emotions and experiences to the point of feeling I have no other choice. I hate you for taking advantage of my weaknesses. I hate you for sitting on my shoulder and comforting me in my times of darkness.
Today, I will join with my support system to kick you to the curb. While I’m not successful 100% of the time keeping you at bay, know that if you try to come back in I will kick you to the curb again and again and again.
I will no longer let you control me. I will no longer miss out on the precious moments I too often fail to see. And most of all, I will no longer feed into your power and negativity. Because it is false. Because it is not the truth. And because I know deep down I am stronger than you.
So good-bye suicide. Pack your bags and head to the door. You are no longer welcome here.
I’m Too Strong For You
If you’ve attempted suicide or thought of suicide, THANK YOU for holding on. I’m glad you are here.
Suicide. It’s a nasty word we like to push under the rug and ignore. It’s an ugly stepsister and a relative we’d like to forget. But I assure you it is very real. And it’s time to start talking about it.
I’d like to share with you some statistics about suicide (http://afsp.org/about-suicide/suicide-statistics/):
Those are some staggering statistics, don’t you think?
I’ve never been personally affected by someone’s suicide before, but I have lived on the other side of suicide. It’s a horrible place to be. It tears at your soul and convinces you there is no other way and your loved ones are better off without you. You swear you are a burden to them.
I’m here to tell you…nothing could be further from the truth. Our minds, when living with mental illness, are different. We aren’t martyrs or looking for attention. We are looking for a way out of the constant struggle and pain of living with mental illness. And in our minds, suicide is usually the only way out. When we get to this point, we can no longer make logical choices, especially when faced with strong emotions and thinking. When we get to this point, we are no longer in charge of ourselves.
What to Do When the Emotions are Too Strong and You Want to Give Up
Take yourself in a quiet room and allow yourself to feel the awful emotions. Too often we medicate them or ignore them until they get so big we can’t ignore them. GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION to FEEL those emotions. Release them in whatever way necessary, but do not punish yourself, harm yourself, or harm others. Do not let suicide win. Stay strong and know there is help.
Here are a Few Things you Need to Have
Taking care of yourself should be a priority as well. Eating right, exercising, and being kind to yourself should be part of your daily life.
If you fear for your safety, have someone lock up things which may be harmful to you; pills, guns, anything you can get away from your reach which you would use to harm yourself. This is not a sign of weakness or that you are a horrible person. It’s just that right now, you can’t be trusted with those things. And you have to allow yourself to let others protect you when you cannot protect yourself.
Lastly, it’s important to have a safety plan (you can find a copy of one HERE), because the truth is, suicide may likely come up, and you need to have a plan for combating it, especially when you can’t think clearly for your self. Take some time, when you are feeling well to sit down with your support system and get your plan ready. Post it where you can see it and when you feel yourself falling into that hole, pull it out and use it as a resource. Let it do the thinking for you when you cannot do it for yourself.
Living with mental illness is a struggle. But it CAN be managed. Thank you for staying here, even when it is hard to do so.
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Photo by Christy Zigweid
If you’ve spent any amount of time looking through my website, you will see I am a supporter of mental illness and advocacy. I also write fiction and blog posts that are hard to read because of their honesty. Why do I do this? Because I believe people shouldn’t have to suffer in silence.
As I write this I am very aware of the ripple effects it may have. But I've lived in silence too long and now it’s time to share my story.
It’s time to step out of hiding and say “You can’t hold me down anymore. I will fight you each and every time, even if every time you make it harder and harder to crawl out.” I am not my illness.
I’ve battled depression and generalized anxiety disorder for many years (I was diagnosed in high school). I have worn the mask, hiding my illness from people, afraid if I let on just a little bit I was struggling, my friends and family would suffer. I live with darkness and suicide every day. It's a battle I’ve learned to manage. I sit with myself often, enduring the self-loathing my illness projects onto me, waiting until it passes. Sometimes that’s a few hours; sometimes it's days.
Yes, I’ve been there, staring suicide right in the face.
And while I know this will be hard for many to read (especially my family), it is a truth of my everyday life.
In my times of utter despair, I have to remind myself what I’ll be leaving behind if I go through with it. All I have to do is picture my husband and kids and while the power to give up overwhelms me, I hold on to that ONE thing. Because it’s my family who keeps me here. It’s my closest friends who remind me how much I’ve touched their lives, or their children’s lives, just by being me. Those are the things I hold on to. Those are the things that eventually pull me out and bring me back into what’s real.
Through the years my husband and I have learned to deal with the ups and downs, the good days and the bad.
We’ve worked out a system and we trudge on, knowing the downs will come again, but being better prepared each time for when they hit. This is why I am a supporter of mental health advocacy, suicide awareness, and suicide prevention.
Without the support of my husband, I don’t know that I would be here today writing about my story. My illness is very scary for those around me as well as for myself.
My husband only wants to help but often doesn’t know how. My children see the effects but don’t understand why mom is “sad” or “freaked out.” It’s hard watching your family struggle and knowing you are partially the cause. It’s scary sitting with your own thoughts, part of you knowing they are lying and part of you knowing they are not. It’s hard to sort through the truth and the lies.
I am learning to know myself better as a writer and as a person. And while I’ve been denying the truth about sharing my story, I've hindered progress in taking the right steps to move forward. Some people believe we have a “calling” in life. While I do not believe we have a pre-determined path to our lives, I do believe in fate. I do believe we are all here for a reason. I was born nearly three months early and weighed two pounds two ounces. At the time of my birth, hospitals were just figuring out how to care for premature babies. I survived.
I survive today, despite my illness telling me I have no purpose here. I will never be “cured,” just as someone with a chronic illness will tell you. But I can share my story with others. I can own my illness as part of me but not all of me.
I can continue to take care of myself and live out this “calling” I feel compelled to do.
I also credit people who have helped me step out on this limb. My husband, my very close friends, my writing group friends, a group called “This is My Brave," and Conquer Worry. These people have opened my eyes to the fact I don’t have to live in silence anymore, pretending to be something I am not.
My illness is only a part of me. I am a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, and a human being. Do I have flaws? Absolutely, but they don’t define me and they are not “all” of me.
THIS POST ALSO APPEARS AS A GUEST POST ON CONQUERWORRY.ORG
￼Today I am featured as a guest blogger on This Is My Brave, Inc., a website dedicated to raising awareness about mental illness by sharing stories.
No material on this website can be used without permission. All Rights Reserved. Christy Zigweid - 2017
**I am not a licensed counselor nor a medical doctor and the views on this website are solely mine. **
If you are in crisis and need immediate medical assistance, call 911 or the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273- (TALK) 8255 or text "Start" to 741-741