Depression, anxiety, and suicide are all topics that weren’t really talked about much until recently. If you break your arm, everyone runs to sign your cast. If you tell people you have depression or anxiety, people run the other way. Approximately 6% of Americans are diagnosed with some form of depression, 18% are diagnosed with different types of anxiety disorders, and approximately 117 Americans take their lives each day. These numbers don’t include those who are still at home, fighting mental battles everyday. They don’t include those who suffer in silence because they don’t want people to see them differently.
What if I told you that I could’ve easily been one of those 117? What if I told you that I, too, have seen some incredibly dark and scary days, marked by both depression and anxiety?
You can look at a person and think, “Wow, they really have their life together. They have a family, a job, money, a nice house, a fancy car. They’re always smiling.” Deep down, that person could be having an inner battle against their own mind. You may think, “They have so much to live for. How could they possibly be depressed or suicidal?” That’s the thing about mental illnesses. The signs aren’t always visibly there.
When my husband left for Afghanistan, I had a new baby, a new job, and just found out I was pregnant again. I used to look forward to a certain time of day because that meant I’d be able to see my husband and daughter, only my husband was no longer there. Deep in the pit of my gut, I was worried he might not come home. My husband’s friends all deployed with him, and my friends all moved back home while their husbands were deployed. I felt like I had no one around me who would truly understand what I was going through. I knew I needed help. I knew I needed to talk to somebody because of how much stress I was under, but I didn’t. My sisters came to visit me, and I shared everything with them. When they asked why I hadn’t gone to a mental health doctor yet, my reply was, “They already took my husband. I don’t want them to take my baby too.”
I’m crying like a baby as I type this, remembering how I felt when all these events were taking place. I was so scared that a therapist would see me as an unstable mother, and that they’d end up taking my baby away because there was no one else to take care of her while I got the help I needed. I couldn’t bear the thought of that. I thought about suicide. It seemed to be my only other option to escape the pain I was in. I even thought of ways to do it. Then I saw my daughter, and that was no longer an option. If I had followed through with my plan, how long would my daughter be left alone in her crib, crying for someone to get her, before someone found me? Would she grow up thinking mommy didn’t love her enough to choose life? What would go on in my husband’s head, when he received that news? How would he handle it?
As I mentioned in a previous post, my husband ended up coming home early from his deployment due to his own anxiety and depression. Since he’s been home, we’ve both gotten so much better. I no longer have my job, but am attending school. My husband has a normal Monday through Friday work schedule, and sees a therapist once a week. Every night, we get to have dinner as a family. We’re looking into buying our first house within the next year. Our second baby is due in July, and I’m currently browsing pinterest for ideas for our daughter’s first birthday. None of this would be happening right now if I’d decided to end my life.
Before I go, I’ll share a 10 quotes with you that helped me during my darkest of days, and I still find them helpful today.
1.) “Every storm runs out of rain. Every dark night turns into day. Every heartache will fade away.”
2.) “Suicide takes the weight of your problems, and places it on the shoulders of someone else.”
3.) “Suicide is a permanent fix to a temporary problem.”
4.) “Sometimes, even to live is an act of courage.”
5.) “It’s often in the darkest skies that we see the brightest stars.”
6.) “Just remember, even your worst days only have 24 hours.”
7.) “Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you ever imagined.”
8.) “If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”
9.) “Even the darkest night will end, and the sun will rise.”
10.) “If today was perfect, there’d be no need for tomorrow.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, please reach out and get help from a friend, family member, psychologist, or even just call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. People will not see you differently or run the opposite direction…and if they do, they didn’t need to be in your life anyway. I hope this post is able to help someone in need. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog!