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.