This piece discusses self-harm in detail. We ask that you use your discretion.
There I was, heart racing, the palms of my hands dripping sweat, tears flooding my eyes as I looked down at the fresh wounds covering my arms. I knew this day was coming, and yet, I was so unbelievably unprepared.
A few months prior, I found myself in the deepest, darkest pit of depression. I was overcome with panic, anxiety, and to be transparent—I did not want to live. I spent my days numbing myself with alcohol, and self-harm became my most trusted companion. Plain and simple: I was suffering. With every sip and swipe, I felt an immense release of the pain that was crushing me. But I soon came to realize that this relief was only temporary.
Real, open, and honest conversations with trusted people led me to the decision to check myself into the hospital in December of 2018. I was aware that this was very much a life or death situation for me. I was sitting at a crossroads, knowing exactly where each direction would take me, so I decided to get help. I swallowed my pride (the small amount I had left) and I drove to the hospital that day. I parked my car and took a deep breath before walking through the doors and up to the counter.
“Why do you need to be seen today, miss?” I swear all of time stopped as I paused to figure out how to answer such a simple question.
I stuttered, “I…I’m suicidal.” I nearly passed out as those words fell from my lips.
How the hell did I get here?
Is this really happening?
Can I just turn around and run out?
“I’m so sorry,” the receptionist said as she frantically took down the rest of my information.
Within seconds I was in a room getting my vitals taken, accompanied by a security guard. I guess they thought I’d do something stupid right there—wouldn’t that have made things more interesting?
I spent the next eight hours in a room of the ER waiting for space to open up in the psych ward. Everything I had on me was confiscated—my clothes, wallet, car keys, everything. I was given a hospital gown and sat in a room with no door, the bed bolted to the floor, and bare walls, minus a camera right in my face.
This, if nothing else hadn’t already, would in fact drive me insane.
I was eventually escorted to the psych ward. I had no idea what the next series of days in there would entail. Some things I still haven’t talked about. But I did it, I survived it, and I am here to tell the story. Well, only part of it for now.
If someone had told me when I was younger that I would be able to get real help for the torture and torment that overtook my mind, I would have laughed in disbelief. I have spent the majority of my 25 years of life suffering from things I have no control over. I am a living, breathing, walking and talking aftermath of abuse. I have watched depression, panic, anxiety, and self-harm steal some of the happiest moments of my life right out from under me. I have watched it demolish friendships, relationships, celebrations, and so much more.
But I am here to tell you that this doesn’t have to be our forever. Those of us who suffer from mental illness do not have to endure it on a continual loop. There may not be a “cure,” but there is hope.
Hope for the future.
Hope for better days.
Hope for happiness, joy, peace, and purpose.
I’m asking you, no, I’m begging you, to hold on to hope. Grip it tight. Cling to it. Don’t let it go.
It is hope that caused me to have those tough conversations, it is hope that enabled me to check myself in, and it is hope that allows me to fight to see another day.
So here’s to us finding hope, knowing recovery, and embodying the will to live again. We’re in this together—the fight of our lives.
Thank you for the courage to share your story to help others hold on to hope. I’m so glad you held on too. Never give up! There is a bigger reason you are meant to be in this world. Search for it until you find it!
I’m so glad that you are still here to tell your story and help others. Stay strong and continue to grow and love yourself.
I completely disagree. Those of us with mental illness have no choice but to endure the permanent continual loop of suffering. It never ends and hope dies over and over again. Sure, we may come out for a little bit to do our dishes, but the loop is always there. For me, Psychiatrists, therapists, and medications are useless and have been of very little value over the years. Suicide hotlines are a joke. I always hear that “suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”. I’m sure that from the outside looking in that may appear to be so. For those of us with recurring depressive episodes that “temporary problem” is a cycle of hell that we live over and over and over and over again. Its endless and no amount of 1-800 numbers or unhelpful “go see a counselor” comments seem to help. I can appreciate your story and all that you’ve endured, but its not realistic and many of us WILL lose this battle eventually.
Reading your response, literally brought me to tears. Having believed the very same thing for so many years, my heart breaks to hear that you are feeling that very same helpless, hopeless pain.
I too walked through the endless revolving doors of psychiatrists, psychologists, medications, hospitalizations and professionals claiming they knew what was best. It took a very long time, and much trial and error, and I still have relapses and set backs, but you’re wrong that losing the battle is inevitable.
It will take everything in you, but promise yourself that you won’t give up. Mental illness tells us the lie that there is no hope and that we have no choice, but it IS a lie- please remember that.
Choose to persist, even on the hardest days. Because you will find someone that understands you and that CAN help. One day, when you don’t think you can go on any longer, things will begin to fall into place, and you will find hope again.
Remember this: “no one ever said that it would be easy, they just promised it would be worth it.”