This thing happened recently. It crept up so slowly and subtly that I didn’t even realize it until the words came out of my mouth one night.
Two Aprils ago, the stress of my job increased exponentially, angst over what I actually wanted to do with my life came to a crest, and, as I approached the anniversary of my rape, my PTSD symptoms took hold like a parasitic force in my brain. The joy of being in my relationship turned into a constant fear of screwing it up (SPOILERS: I did) and I slowly descended into the scary and dangerous state of depression and panic that just would not go away.
In June, we went camping. It should have been a wonderful trip and I had been looking forward to it for a long time, but something in me snapped while we were out there. I spent most of our trip trying to figure out how to best go about committing suicide.
I didn’t want my actions to have long term scarring effects on my boyfriend so I obviously had to break up with him and wait a while so he didn’t care anymore. I had to wait until after my sister’s and mother’s birthdays because I didn’t want to leave the scars of my untimely exit on the days that were meant to celebrate their existence. As I plotted and schemed, and became more and more silent, it seemed like it was the only thing for me to do.
I have no idea what prompted it. One day, at a beautiful site in northern California, I suddenly felt like it was the end of the line for me and that I had to do it. No logic, no reason. I just had to. My life was done.
My ever present silence, broken only by moments of crying and telling my boyfriend that I didn’t think he really loved me or even liked me, finally broke us apart. It was heartbreaking for both of us. We cried together, hugged, kissed, but ultimately separated.
Over the next several months, I kept eyeing my timeline. As I started a new job that I should have loved, but hated, and started school again, I tried to give myself enough to keep me going until I decided it was time.
There were many late nights when I thought it may be time but I always backed out.
Eventually, I had a friend come and stay with me. He had some issues at home and I clearly needed someone around. Unsurprisingly, it helped.
I started to get out of my head for longer and longer periods of time. When April came around again, though, I once again descended into that dark place where I was convinced suicide was the only option. Our friendship broke under the strain of certain circumstances and he moved out.
As he did so, I decided that it was time for a slight relocation. I had another friend come and stay with me shortly before moving into my new apartment. Things… did not work out.
Yet, through the summer, I joined a board games night, became close with someone I had totally thought hated me, started investing in other friendships I had neglected over the last year or so, and started friendships with several other people from board games night who have since become very dear friends. I started working much harder at learning programming languages and took on extra projects at work. Somewhere along the way, the depression receded so slowly that I didn’t notice it happening.
I’m not sure which piece of the puzzle was the tipping point but, a couple of weeks ago, I was talking with one of my board game friends and I suddenly realized that I was happy again. It wasn’t until I said “I don’t think I’ve ever actually been this happy in my life,” that I realized it was true. Apparently it was true for him too and we toasted to the end of the hardships that had brought us both to board games night.
Shortly after that conversation, he and I went from being friends to being something more. He knows most of this story and that there is always potential of me spontaneously descending back into depression. We’ve been friends long enough for him to have seen some of this journey.
Yet, this story isn’t about him.
The year and a half, or so, I spent fighting to keep myself going was terrifying. I have no good reason for why I didn’t reach out, go back to therapy, or get help at all. I stayed silent about what was going on with me.
I’ve regained a lot of weight. I almost don’t care. Getting through the minefield of my PTSD was much more important than maintaining my weight loss.
Recently I started going to see a therapist with my mom and I realized that I still have this burning need to be heard and to have my story told. That’s what this place is, right?
This has always been a selfish blog. I ask you to come along for the ride with me, listen to my stories, cheer me on, and not judge me too harshly when I make (oh so many) terrible decisions. Not blogging, not telling my story, was a mistake. So, I’m correcting that now.
I hope, dear readers, that you are still there to go along for the ride with me.