Where to even start? The last time I wrote, I wasn’t able to silence the thoughts that were telling me to die. I have never wanted that for myself. I have a “rage against the dying of the light” mentality that drives me to seek and create value till my dying breath, which keeps me “safe.” Still, my head became a nasty place to live in, so I surrounded myself with people at nearly all hours of the day, and sometimes the night too, so that I was never alone in the room with that voice. Yes, it’s possible to be thinking about suicide without being suicidal.
At last, I got a break. Two, three days passed without me shedding a tear. I saw my psychiatrist for the first time, and got a prescription for citalopram days later. 5 mg a day, and I was bouncing off the walls, a happy hypomaniac. Four days of that, and we decreased the dosage by half. And now, I feel like myself.
When somethings dark, let me shed a little light on it
When somethings cold, let me put a little fire on it
If somethings old, I wanna put a bit of shine on it
When somethings gone, I wanna fight to get it back again
“The Fixer” – Pearl Jam
Could it really be that simple? The truth is, I couldn’t believe it myself. I’ve always been told that antidepressants take over a month to take any effect, if at all, so why was it a matter of hours for me? Am I really just that lucky?
I hit a different low this weekend. Not the kind to make one curl up and cry, but a nagging self-critique appearing in unassuming forms. I didn’t want to be seen anywhere, anytime. I didn’t realize how scary it was for me to actually go down the hall and use the bathroom until I found myself procrastinating with obsessive behaviors. There is nothing “wrong” with my appearance, but I find myself searching for flaws over and over again. For years, I’ve been pulling dead skin off my lips and plucking out body hairs without really knowing why. I look at my media profiles and wonder how they look to other people. I reflect on all the interactions and things I’ve said in the last day, when I know they don’t deserve a second thought. My heart leaps and hammers when I decide to speak up in class. And there’s more than what I would care to admit.
At one point this semester, I took a step back to recognize that, yes…this is social anxiety. And frankly, it’s debilitating. Certainly, I know the strategies and positive self-talk that are supposed to help. This makes it all the more frustrating when I find myself still a slave to self-doubt.
Why can’t you just get over it? is the question they tell you to never ask someone with a mental illness. Why can’t you pull yourself together? Actually, I ask myself this all the time, and it’s a valid question. Just put on your shoes, and go downstairs for lunch. Where along the line did I internalize the belief that my presence is obnoxious? Screw that!
As God works to repair my brokenness, I fear that I never had all the pieces to begin with. The gap between my potential and what I give myself the rights to be is hard for me to acknowledge.
What all my therapists have told me is always the same. Practice self-compassion. I need to treat myself like a friend, but I can’t bring myself to believe I’m deserving of that.
“You just need to believe in yourself.”
-Rex, Toy Story
Why can’t I just move past this barrier? I’ve known it on an intellectual level for years, but to turn that into “heart knowledge” is a real fight. But hey, we’re all fixers here. Fight, rage, fix yourself against the dying of the light.
If you want to talk to someone or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, text the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Here is a list of international resources.