They called it depression...
I couldn’t tell you quite how I had arrived in such a place. It was a bit like how you manage to pull into your driveway without recalling half of the turns that got you home. Perhaps I had, in some bizarre spin of events, simply been programmed to arrive there. Perhaps this was how I was meant to go. But it felt all wrong. I found myself in the middle of a storm, intense and raging. I couldn’t see anything around me, and so of course if you had asked me to find some rational direction in which to turn I would resent you for even suggesting that it was possible. Clearly there was no way out. I was trapped. It was all a white out and the snow was deep and cold. I was buried. I was going to die. I WAS going to die. I couldn’t save myself, and nobody else could even see me. I was invisible in this mad whirlwind and miles from civilization.
The fact that this storm existed only within my mind meant nothing. Nothing. Regardless of whether other people could see it or not, it had permeated every sense of my being. I huddled in my bed. Torment ripped through me like burning shards of glass. I tossed and turned and thrashed and tried to make it go away, but it wouldn’t. IT wanted me to die. I jumped up and raced downstairs, trying to find anything ordinary with which to distract myself, but nothing was ordinary anymore. I raced back up the stairs, threw myself back onto the bed, smashed my face into the covers. I WAS going to die. It couldn’t be helped. I couldn’t be helped. This THING inside me was going to kill me.
I worked my way to the bathroom, flung open the cabinet, searched frantically through the cluttered contents… Extra bars of soap, makeup, band-aides, scented lotions… Finally I uncovered what I was looking for: a new set of razor heads, their metallic blades shimmering in newness. Grabbing a tweezers I carefully disassembled the razor heads until the sharp blade emerged. I clasped them in my hands, so tiny, so powerful. I imagined an end to all my suffering, my tension, my failures... Death was taking on a crazed appeal.
Depictions of my son pounded themselves into my mind. His deep, inquisitive brown eyes. His little fingers that ran through my hair in search of comfort. His gentle voice calling out for me. I imagining myself dead, I imagined him finding me, soaked in my own blood. I imagined his cries. Yes, it was all wrong. I couldn’t do it. Not to him. The tears I imagined in his eyes became my own. I collapsed, saline spilling out, my cheeks drenched in my sadness, and my whole being drenched in a complete sense of defeat.
I lowered myself to the ground, the razor still clenched in my in hand. Slowly and firmly I pressed its sharp ridge against my leg. I squeezed my eyes shut as I dragged the blade across my skin, feeling the sharp burning of the metal, the warm sensation of blood trickling from the wound. I felt my tension released, spilling out with the crimson fluids. I opened my eyes, and satisfied, let my nightgown fall across my legs, hiding all evidence of pain behind the layer of soft flannel. I wiped the tears from my face and rose to my feet. It was time to put on my happy face, to pretend that all was normal. It was imperitive that I protect everyone around me from my pain, and just as imperitive that I protect myself from their judgments, for my ability to hold on was fragile and if I were faced with one more thing I knew it could easily shatter.
...This was my life for two years. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and prescribbed one antidepressant after another. They all made me worse. Finally I was labeled as bipolar and put on a new kind of drug... An antipsychotic. It has drastically improved the quality of my life. I still suffer with low moods sometimes but I can handle it now. I no longer cut, I no longer fear for my life. I feel like I have been given back my life.
For anyone who is struggling, please keep fighting. It's such a hard road, I know that, but there's hope. Learn all that you can about your disorder and about related disorders and listen to your intuition. Life is worth fighting for.