It's been a long, long while folks. I must admit that over the past four or five months, my participation in this community has dwindled to a mere "lurking" state, checking stories and popping into the chat every now and then.
But I wanted to discuss something rather important here, and I wasn't sure where to put it. I put a disclaimer on this topic because it is quite serious, and to some, could be considered mature.
As some of you know, I have been battling depression for quite a long time. However, when I say battle, I mean that I have just hoped that it would go away whenever it became more prevalent in my life. I was always so afraid of getting help because I didn't want to know what was wrong with me. In addition to this, I am a Graduate Student with a 4.0 GPA. This led me to tell myself that I'd put off seeking help until I was finished.
What most of you (or maybe even all of you) don't know about me is that, this past May and June, I was literally five feet away from ending my life. It was going to be my body against a slew of traffic on a busy road in my old town. A lot of unfortunate events (one being told I had a month to move out on my own with little money and no job or health insurance) and increased isolation make for a deadly concoction if untreated.
Despite my grades being perfect, my depression got the best of me in those months, and I became dehumanized. The pain--that disgusting feeling in my chest that weighed me down--was almost to the point where my body and mind couldn't bear it anymore. By God, or by some miracle of some sort, I talked myself out of ending my life. While months have passed, I still feel that pain. Whenever I talk about this experience, it hurts...a lot.
A few weeks ago, I started having increased moments where my chest would "close up" and my heart would race, almost to the point where I thought I would pass out. It had been going on for months, but I never did anything about it until three weeks ago. A doctor's visit and two blood tests later revealed that I didn't have any infections or physical illnesses; they said it was anxiety and suggested I seek counseling. Biting the bullet, I took their advice. And I will tell you, even though it has been only three weeks, I am healing. And it is the best advice I've taken in a long time. They found that I have anxiety problems and even what's called "dysthymic depression," which is when you have a small trace of depression that lingers, but worsens in instances where you're isolated or something bad happens.
Needless to say, they're going to find out what to give me to help. They asked me a question my first day in counseling: "When was the last time you were truly happy?" And I couldn't answer. It has been that long. Six years of knowing, and never doing a damned thing to get help. And look what it almost did to me.
All of my friends always see the happy, nice, caring friend in me...but not nearly enough of them know about this side. I've learned to conceal it in an effort to maintain the image they have of me...yes, that's foolish, and yes it's immature, and it is something I am working on. But now I am getting the help I need, and am wondering why I waited so long to do so.
With that said, I am compelled to share this with you for two reasons. The first is that I needed to explain my large moments of absence in this community. The second is that I want to stress to all of you the importance of getting this kind of thing checked out. I know some of you are younger and/or may be reluctant to go, but I wouldn't ever want someone else to feel that kind of pain I was (and still am) going through. Don't let yourself get to the point of where I was, because the damage it can deal is a lot worse than it may initially feel.