It’s a question I need to consider every time I put off drafting a blog post. Every time I feel like giving up on my writing because I worry about what you think. Yes, I do worry what YOU think. Here is the truth I’m afraid to out: I used to think about suicide. A lot.
I’d struggled with severe depression, tracing back all the way to age 11. I cried nearly every day. Cut to me, 18 years later, and I’ve made such giant strides. I couldn’t have done it without changing my mindset about the point of living as well as powerful medications and a supportive network of humans.
While my progress has been positive, I have setbacks. 2017 was one of those setbacks. In October of 2017, I had been struggling with medication that simply did the opposite of what it’s supposed to do — and I felt that dying was the only option. That happens a lot with these ‘miracle medications’ — they can be counterproductive and put you in such a deep state of despair that living seems like the worst kind of effort. I was too afraid to act on it, but I did go to the hospital. I told very few of you out of sheer humiliation. I thought friends and family would think I’m ‘over-dramatic’ or ‘crazy’ or ‘attention-seeking.’ When I did tell 2–3 people in my life, I had the opposite reaction. Fun fact: people didn’t throw me aside nor did they dismiss my feelings. They treated my depression as they would a fatal physical disease and wanted to do what they could to help.
In those moments of deep despair, you forget that you have family and chosen family that wants you alive. Luckily, I remembered. I remember I had all of you, and felt like I couldn’t do that if it was under my control. Luckily, it still was. Not everyone is as fortunate.
This reminder of the people in my life is a wonderful way to keep moving, but minimalism — in a few different forms — has helped me to put everything in perspective. Here’s what I’ve done and how, maybe, it can help you, too:
- Meditation: Minimizing the weight of your thoughts — has finally clicked as a solution to those days where it feels like if you fuck up at work, your life could be over.
- Extermination: Get rid of the shit that you would be much better off without. Why do I keep those wires that mean absolutely nothing to me? While this may not seem like a way to improve your health and prevent those suicidal thoughts, I swear that if I had kept the pesky non-essential items, my life would have been much more chaotic. I wouldn’t have been able to focus on the meditation. I wouldn’t have been able to get the motivation to say, “It’s going to be okay.” I would have been too weighed-down by the overwhelming idea that my stuff was a futile attempt to fill a void.
- Medication*: This may be the right or wrong path, depending on your mental illnesses and/or symptoms, so take it with a grain of salt. I try to pare down my medication cabinet so I know exactly what’s affecting me and how I feel with or without it. I was too afraid to ask to reduce/eliminate/replace certain medications for a long time because I thought, “What if the next one fails me, too?” I found something that covered the majority of my symptoms. Just know that if you’re actively working to reduce your symptoms with mental health professionals, you will move forward with feeling like you can comfortably be yourself again, with or without prescribed substances.
If you have these horrifically painful feelings, please don’t be afraid to talk to someone. Minimalism has been a miracle-worker in my life, but it may not be the path for everyone.
*Please note that I am not a medical professional. The advice I give worked for me, so please consult your doctor before making any big medical changes.
Originally published at https://www.raemshane.com on January 18, 2018.