Ever since I could remember I’ve had depression, as early as elementary school I was suicidal, wanting to die.
“I never asked to be here,” my third grade self screamed at my mom.
The panic attacks didn’t help either, it would start off with something small: imagine there was no space, then what would there be? Is there a such as nothing? What if you were forced to always be something, what if I kill myself and the next life is unescapable, because killing yourself is a sin…It went on and on until my breath grew short, child me popping up from the top bunk, hyperventilating. By the grace of god the panic attacks stopped when I entered middle school, but the depression was just gaining momentum.
I would feel so down, that my flesh became the prison from which my soul could not abscond. I thought feeling low was the worst, until the summer of 2015 when I felt nothing at all. A walking black hole, taking in sensory information, banishing it into an infinite abyss. I searched for my feelings at the bottom of a liquor bottle, but none showed up. I begged the universe to just let me feel again, please.
Then one day I did.
I cherished momentary happiness, soon thwarted by the simple fact that I was broken goods, damaged. It never goes away, it only goes on vacation. At least I was no longer delusional. I use to think it was cured forever when it went away. Berating myself when it returned.
I started working out religiously, mediating, praying. I could maintain a healthier chemical balance. Creating larger gaps between dark visits. Then a miracle happened! My baby sister has cancer, so I became obsessed with having a more alkaline body. Removing acidity meant cutting processed sugar out of my diet. I have a sweet tooth, so this was an arduous journey. Turns out the crash from the copious amounts of sugar I was ingesting (minimum two doughnuts a day, simple syrup in all my coffee drinks, candy, cookies, soda and so much more daily), was the cause of my depression.
I know I got lucky, that some people aren’t as fortunate as a dietary change to freedom. However, I am grateful for the experience; I can empathize, not sympathize with those who are still fighting themselves. So they know they aren’t alone. It’s also given me compassion and understanding. So I’m asking you, is mental health a priority in your life? Do you have loved ones battling with mental illness? How do you show up for them? How do you show up for yourself?