**Trigger warning, this post discusses suicide ideation**
I don’t normally open up to this extent about my struggles, but I’m feeling the need to be vulnerable and I’m rolling with it. Depression, anxiety and suicide ideation are difficult to navigate individually, and I have battled all three at the same time.
When I think about my lowest point, I get really emotional. Because I feel a lot of shame about it. I remember the day like it was yesterday. Even though it was two years ago. I remember the exact date that my dark thoughts almost completely took over my life.
My husband and I just moved across the country from Philly to Denver and we were still getting settled into our new space. I was a complete zombie when we drove across the country. My anxiety that was at its peak for months, ultimately led to a crash for me.
I started battling depression in varying forms after I graduated from college, and after I got my MBA, I almost lost my battle with it.
I was applying for jobs frantically while in grad school and after it. Hoping that the right fit would stick, while I was receiving daily rejection emails. I was also adjusting to being a newlywed and got asked what felt like daily when I was going to have kids, or was told that “now is the time”.
As I was trying to find my voice, my sense of self, and my place in the world, I was also getting a very CLEAR message that what I was doing wasn’t enough, who I was as a woman wasn’t enough because I wasn’t pregnant.
How I “should be” and how things “should be” really soured my own perception of myself. While I put in a daily effort to focus on my mental health now, at the time, I would wake up in the morning after 1-2 hours of what little sleep I could get – in between anxiety attacks and crying from being so tired/overwhelmed, immediately check my emails hoping someone wanted to interview me and instead I was fielding a wave of Nos.
A wave of you are not enough, and we want to only pay you $10 an hour even though you have 5+ years of experience and a graduate degree. It felt like a slap in the face and a flash back to the rejection I already faced in the racist and toxic work environments I left. When I would be particular about what environment I wanted to be in, I also received a lot of unsolicited comments of “sometimes it’s easier to get a job when you have a job” from some family.
All of this led to me getting really silent about my struggles because I didn’t feel heard or understood. When I would mention having anxiety to some people, they wouldn’t believe me or would try to downplay it. And as a Black woman I also felt the burden to smile and fake being okay because I wasn’t “supposed to” deal with mental health struggles. So I kept it inside the majority of the time because I felt so foreign, I felt like such an outsider in life and in my own body.
As this was all happening, my mind was thinking very dark thoughts that I hadn’t heard in my head in a while. On the day that I was at my worst, two years ago, my “I wonder if I’m supposed to be here” thoughts were LOUD. I started to wonder what it would look like if I was gone, and how I was going to go.
I also thought about the fact that I had also recently connected with a lot of my family and friends and thought that since I saw everyone already, it might be easier to make peace with the possibility of me not being alive anymore.
Something was keeping me from the kitchen, but I couldn’t stop thinking about the knives in there, how sharp they were and how I could find the right vein on my wrist if I really wanted to. I could leave the pain I was feeling in my body, that’s what I was telling myself. If I just left this earth, this pain would leave.
✨ I’d be lying to you if I said that I magically was able to get back up from this. It took time to trust myself again and to know that all the pain I was feeling came from so many things. I’d also be lying if I told you that those thoughts are now 100% out of my head.
✨ For me, it is very much a work in progress every single day. Some days I’m okay, and others I completely question my existence.
✨ I had to really get internal and write out what was in my head, I started to daily write gratitude for what was in my life and what was going right. Therapy was also my saving grace.
✨ Although I felt and still feel shame about my lowest point, the thing that shifted for me was realizing I never wanted to get to that point again.
✨ I have to be honest, 2020 has pushed me into some pretty dark spots at times that have scared me because I know where my thoughts can go, but I’m committed to fighting to still be here.
How did you get through your toughest or lowest point?