Monthly Archives: March 2013

In the “well”.

A friend of mine described her depression to me once as feeling as if she were in a well.  Sometimes she was near the top of a full well, floating in the water and could see the sunshine, but it was just out of reach.  Other times she was at the bottom of a dry well and could barely see the sunshine, but would stare at it and hope it came closer somehow.  And other times she would close her eyes and hope and pray that someone would realize the well was dry, and empty, and start filling it with dirt.  Burying her.

I have adopted this analogy now.  It fits the best, doesn’t it?  When you struggle with great depression, as I have, sunshine (happiness) always seems out of reach.   Sometimes it is so close you could ALMOST grasp it, but other times it is so far away that you forget what it looks like and just don’t even care anymore.

During the 5 years that I struggled with undiagnosed, horrific pain, I was in the well.  At the bottom.  Eyes closed.  PRAYING someone would just fill it up with dirt already.  I was done.  I needed to be put out of my misery.  I have always found it ironic that putting down an animal in pain is always considered the “HUMANe” thing to do, but to do the same for a human, is immoral and illegal.  We are allowed to “play God” with animals, but not with ourselves.  We can determine when an animal, who can not speak to us with words we can understand, has had enough and is in too much pain to carry on, yet we cannot offer the same relief to our fellow humans who DO speak to us with words we understand.   I just don’t get it.   And yes, okay, okay…there are legal issues…but I am sure that some lawyer out there is smart enough to figure out the logistics of legality around it.  (insert lawyer jokes here if you must).  But I am serious.

Though, now that I think about it, in hindsight, I am glad that option wasn’t available.  I would have taken it.

There are days that the ONLY thing that kept me alive was my family.  My children, in particular.  My husband would have understood…he would have been sad, and devastated, sure.  But he would have understood.   It was knowing that my children would NOT understand that kept me alive.  The thought of them going through life somehow blaming themselves, was more painful to me than the physical pain I was in.  And that is the ONLY reason I am still here to tell my story.

I was planning on writing a bit of my story every day.  See, it is like therapy for me.  I feel like if I get my story OUT, it doesn’t own me anymore.  I own IT.  But, I am finding that writing this is taking a bit more time.  A bit more reflection.  And it has brought some feelings back to the surface that I never wanted to see again.

But, if I write them out, I release them.  So I will press on.  I will continue to get it out.  And someday, I will have gotten in ALL out, and a new story will be created.  One of happiness ever after.

I am close.  I am now outside the well…dangerously close to the edge and peeking down in, but I am outside of it.  And that is a huge step in the right direction.

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The gift that keeps on giving…

It turns out, that when you get toxic mega colon, and go septic, it can lead to all sorts of other fun problems.  It doesn’t just “go away”.  You don’t just “get better”.  It sucks.  I am still dealing with residual GI issues from it all.  But, it took a very long time to figure out just how much I had going on and what we were dealing with.

After I came home from the hospital, I was still very sick for a long time.  I couldn’t eat, I was in a lot of pain, and I was exhausted.  But, well, I was a stay home mom with two young kids. So, there was no such thing as resting.  So I carried on the best I could.  I learned to just suck it up and keep going.  But I was crabby.  And started resenting everyone.  I felt like no one “GOT IT”…no one understood that just because I wasn’t hooked up to IV’s anymore didn’t mean that I was all better.  Just because I found the strength to make dinner, didn’t mean that I wanted to have to push through and find the strength to do the dishes.  Or the laundry.  Or vacuum.  Or anything.  It took all I had some days to just get out of bed.  Shoot, sometimes it took all I had to just open my eyes!  I hurt.  ALL.  THE.  TIME.

I am not talking casual aches and pains.  I am talking EXCRUCIATING pain.  

I kept going to doctors.  I went to my primary care physician, and he gave me the pain meds I desperately needed, and referred me to a GI.  I went to the first GI doctor, he heard the word “Salmonella” and cut me off and said, “Well, you have post infectious IBS”.   Asshat.  So I went to a second GI dr.  Again, he heard Salmonella, and dismissed me with, “Well, after what you went through, it will take a while to heal completely.”  And a third GI told me that if I wasn’t feeling better in 6 months to come back.  SIX MONTHS?  I couldn’t live like this for 6 more months!!

But, as it turns out, I lived like that for 5 years.  If you can call what I did “living”.  I merely existed.  I had days that were like an out of body experience…I would be watching myself move wondering how the hell I was doing it.  

This is where all my training in wearing a mask came in handy.  I would put on my happy face and pretend I was fine, because well, who wants to be around someone that is complaining all the time?  And really, it felt like no one cared.  No one wanted to hear it.  When you ask someone, “How are you?”  Do you REALLY want the answer?  Or is it just the polite thing to ask?  I found out quickly that no one REALLY wanted my answer.

I even had people, friends and family no less, tell me that I was “milking” it.  It couldn’t be THAT bad if I could go shopping (umm…we still needed food and clothes right?  And since no one offered to go for me…guess I sorta had to go…), I heard, “Well, so-and-so had Salmonella once and they are fine…”  *eyeroll*.    No one understood that I didn’t JUST have Salmonella.  I had gone septic.  I had toxic mega colon.  I could have died had my husband not forced me to go to the ER.  

Finally, after years of constant pain, a friend told me to see her brother in law.  Who was a dr. in a neighboring state and was known for being an excelled diagnostician.  I KNEW something was wrong.  Very wrong.  And I was convinced that it was not just a GI issue.  So I went to see him.  And we decided on a  pretty drastic course of action.  I was going to go under the knife for an exploratory “pain mapping” surgery.  I was put under, I was cut open, and then I was WOKEN UP!  And my organs were poked and I would say if it hurt or not.  (umm…it DID!)  then I was put back under and sewn up.

Turns out…that I had endometriosis, interstitial cystitis, and get this!  A prolapsed uterus.  However, my uterus didn’t prolapse the usual way.  Mine prolapsed because the ligaments at the top of it had stretched to more than twice their normal length.  My ginormous, infected, swollen colon had shifted things internally and apparently had decided to push that organ out of the way.  Because it was prolapsed from the top, it had been swinging around inside like a pendulum.  Hitting and banging into all my internal organs whenever I was sitting or standing, moving, etc.  And it had been undiagnosed by so many doctors, scans and ultrasounds because when I would lay down on my back for exams and tests (and the only comfortable position I could ever find to be in) my uterus would flop back into place.  Crazy right?

My dr. fixed the prolapse, and removed the endometriosis that he could, at the time of the surgery.  And I felt much better for about 6 months.  

Then the pain came back.  All of it.  I was convinced I had prolapsed again.  But my dr. told me that he fixed it and it wouldn’t have happened again this soon.  He blamed my pain on my interstitial cystitis.  Gave me meds for that and sent me on my way.  My OB/GYN said that there was no way it had happened again, and sent me on my way.  My GI dr was still saying “post infectious IBS” years later.  So the depression and frustration came flooding back…full force.  Worse than ever.  I was feeling defeated.  Dismissed.  Alone.  Suicidal.

I went to my primary care doctor and told him that I wanted to die.  I even (seriously!) begged him to put me in a medically induced coma, just so I could have a break from the pain.  I then started a wonderful cocktail of 3 anti-depressants (at the same time…hello 50 lb weight gain!).  It is that combination and my two beautiful children that kept me alive.  

After another year of this…my primary care doctor finally had enough.  He became my number one advocate.  And he helped me convince an OB/GYN to perform a hysterectomy. No one would do it because I was in my 30’s…and they would say that insurance wouldn’t approve it.  I told them I didn’t care.  I would pay out of pocket.  I just wanted the pain to STOP.

So I had my hysterectomy.  5 years after the Salmonella.  5 years of constant pain (with a nice 6 month break thrown in as a tease).  5 years of my life wasted in misery.   I had them take my ovaries too, because of the endometriosis.   When I woke up from the surgery, I knew something was wrong.  My one incision was burning.  A searing, burning pain.  The nurse just told me to walk…and gave me pain meds.  I went home 36 hours from the time I checked in, and I still knew something was wrong.  This wasn’t normal incision pain.  I had had surgery before…

So a few days later, I called the surgeon and said that I had to come in, that something was wrong.  Thank God my husband brought me in, and I didn’t go alone…I got there and found out that a nerve had been sewn into the incision.  It is rare that that happens where my incision was, but well…the salmonella messed everything up, so nothing was where it is supposed to be I guess.  So the dr. tried to give me a shot directly into the nerve.  She touched me to find the spot and apparently found it because I screamed the most primal scream and started to go into shock.  It was horrific.  My husband kept screaming at them to stop.  To get away from me.  So I ended up going home with pain patches and more pain meds, and was told that I would know in another 4-6 weeks if the nerve was trapped in the suture, or the scar tissue.  Fingers were crossed it was the suture…so that when it finally dissolved, the nerve would be released.  If it was caught in scar tissue, I would have to back under the knife with a plastic surgeon to release it.

So for 6 weeks I waited.  I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t walk or sit without pain, and I became more and more depressed.  This surgery was supposed to help.  It was supposed to make it all better.  It wasn’t supposed to cause a NEW pain!  I felt so hopeless.  Not to mention, I was also in the depths of menopause.  The hot flashes were coming so fast and furious that I was getting nauseous.  My family was sleeping in fleece pajamas and extra blankets in July because I kept the air conditioning on so high just so I could breathe…it was hell! 

Then finally, almost 6 weeks to the day, I woke up in the morning and rolled over to get out of bed and the pain wasn’t there!  I twisted myself into positions that would normally send me screaming out in pain, and it didn’t hurt!  Holy Shit!  The nerve was just in the suture and the suture had finally dissolved.  I had never been more relieved about anything.  Ever.

 

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Salmonella…you mother fucker.

So I am skipping around a bit.  So much for my title “ORGANIZED Musings…”  HA!  Oh well.  Bear with me.  In order to fully tell my story, I need to jump around a little….so a little back story first, and then flash backs later.

So here it is.  The catalyst to 5 years of unimaginable pain, frustration, sorrow, and suicidal thoughts and wishes.

I got Salmonella.  But not just your average, run of the mill Salmonella.  (does that even exist?)  I had what my doctor called, “The worst case I have ever seen!”.  I still think that title should have come with a trophy.  Or at least some sort of certificate.  But oh well.

I had been sick for a couple weeks before the Salmonella hit.  Going to doctor after doctor.  I had blood drawn.  I had a scope done.  I had a nuclear test of my gall bladder.  I had an ultrasound.  All led to the dreaded diagnosis of “IBS” Which, I think stands for “Intestinal Bull Shit”.   I hate that diagnosis.  It is such a “I have no idea what to call it, so I will call it this..” diagnosis.  It’s bull shit.  Anyway…by the time I got REALLY sick, I was stubborn.  And pissed.  And frustrated.  I called my husband home from work (Which I had never done) and told him he had to come home, that I was just completely non-functional and could not take care of our two young children.  So he came home, took one look at me doubled over and told me he was taking me to the doctor.  I refused.  What was he going to tell me that I hadn’t already heard??   So the hours went on.  And I got worse.  And worse.  And WORSE.  Finally, my husband couldn’t stand it anymore and he called the sitter across the street and he forced me out the door, into the car and into the ER.  By this time, I was barely functioning.  I was so dehydrated from horrific diarrhea.  My diarrhea was now a lovely red color, that I had assumed was from drinking a small bottle of red gatorade earlier.  I would later find out that I was wrong.  I was very wrong.

No one in the ER was taking me seriously at first.  It was busy that night, and I was a chick with diarrhea.  It wasn’t until I was running down the hall, ass flapping in the wind in the lovely gown, and literally shat on the floor.  In front of the doctor.  He got very alarmed and said, “how long has this been happening?”  I said, “hours.”  And he said, “No.  How long has it been like THIS?  This color?”  I said, again, “hours”.  Well, then let me tell you…I was taken seriously.  Everything happened so fast after that.  Next thing I knew I was being admitted, huge vials of  blue/green blood was taken from me (“is it supposed to be that color?”  I asked…”NO.”  Was the answer….)  Stool samples were taken, and I was given cups of horrific liquid to drink to prep for an MRI.

Turns out, I had gone septic.  My red shit?  Well, it was pure blood!  And, I had developed a condition my GI doctor said was called Toxic MegaColon.  My colon (at least 1/2 of it) had grown to more that double it’s size.  I was in such indescribable pain at that point.  Morphine drip was ordered…IV’s placed…and more tests were run.  No one knew at this point that it was Salmonella.  That diagnosis wouldn’t come for a few more days.

So I spent 6 days in the hospital hooked up to Iv’s and morphine.  2 IV’s blew in my hand (which hurts like a bitch!!) and I was refusing visitors.  I didn’t want to talk to anyone…or see anyone…I couldn’t concentrate on anything other than breathing through the pain at that point and wishing for it all to be over.  At one point I was told it was possible that I may lose part of my colon and go home with a colostomy bag.  I wanted to die.  I was 34.  No way was I going to live the rest of my life carrying around a bag of my own shit.  Eww!

Luckily it didn’t come to that.  I was healing…swelling was going down.  I was VERY VERY lucky that my husband rushed me to the ER when he did.  If  I had had my way and stayed home, I may not be here writing today.  I could have died.  It was a very strange feeling.  Here I had thought many times in my life up to then that I WANTED to die.  And now, I was so glad that I didn’t.  Though, there were times in the 5 years that followed this stay in the hospital, many times, that I had wished I had died.  But I will get to that later.

I will never forget that it was Mother’s Day.  My son had just turned 6 a month earlier and was in Kindergarten.  I had to miss the Mother’s Day tea that Friday because I was in the hospital, but the kids were supposed to visit me on Sunday.  Well…on Sunday morning, the nurse walked in, in what looked like a full Haz-Mat suit.  She told me that the stool cultures came back and it was salmonella and I was now isolation.  What the what?!?!  Salmonella?  No way.  Come on.  And wait…my kids can’t visit me??  On MOTHER’S DAY???  It was awful.

I finally got to go home on Tuesday.  With orders to eat a very bland diet, and to bleach the toilet every time I used it, and to scrub my hands constantly.  The health department was calling me constantly trying to figure out where I contracted this…and we still don’t know.  But I did find out that you can get it from just about anything.  Not just raw eggs and raw chicken like I had thought!

Salmonella led to years of health problems for me.  So, being released from the hospital didn’t mean it was over.  It was all just starting.  And I had a long way to go…

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Ciao Italia!

The summer before my jr. year in high school, I took advantage of an opportunity to be an exchange student in Italy.  It would only be for the summer, but it was really a no brainer for me.  I thought, a summer away?  A summer surrounded by people that don’t know me?  A summer where I don’t have to pretend?  A summer away from kissing my mother’s ass?  SIGN ME UP!

So, my parents drove me to the airport, and put me on a plane.  I was 16 and didn’t know a single soul.  I wasn’t traveling with a friend, I didn’t have a chaperone…just ME.  It was the most freeing experience (and terrifying!) of my life.  I waved goodbye and didn’t look back.  I will never forget the freedom I felt the second that plane took off.  What a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders!  It was amazing.

Then I got off the plane in NYC to switch planes to get to Rome.  Navigating my way through a huge airport at age 16 was a bit difficult, I had not flown many times prior to this…but I found my way, and buckled my seatbelt for a long flight to Rome.  I couldn’t stop smiling!  Sure, I was excited to see a foreign country.  Sure, I was excited to meet my 16 year old “sister” that I was going to live with for 3 months.  Sure, I was excited to be on such an adventure!  How lucky was I??  But what really made me smile, was knowing I was FREE.

I landed in Italy, and walked off the plane and looked around for someone holding a sign with my name on it.  It was then that I realized, I still had to interact with people.  They may be NEW people, who didn’t know me, but was the real me good enough for them?  If it wasn’t for anyone at home?  I decided to give it a try anyway.  I made a vow to myself that I was going to be Me.  The REAL me.

I met a few other American students and we all traveled together to the hostel we were going to spend the night in before we all got on our individual trains to head to our host families.  We sat down to dinner at the hostel, and there were big jugs of wine on the tables.  WINE.  I was 16…I felt like such a rebel when I poured that first glass.  And then another…two glasses of wine made my inhibitions fall away and I had such a wonderful night.  Talking to all these new people, not even worrying about them liking me…I was liking myself. 

When I first met my new “family” the next day, I was struck by how serene they were.  How connected.  There was now thick tension in the air.  The mom and daughter walked to great me at the train holding hands…I couldn’t remember ever holding MY mom’s hand unless it was for safety reasons when I was a kid…It just struck me instantly how close they were.  It was obvious that they shared a bond, a love, that I would never have with my own mother, and it made me sad…

I had such an amazing summer…and the experience changed me forever.  I gained more self confidence on that trip, then I ever would have if I had not gone.  I had a long way to go in that department, but I got a huge head start!  There were a few scary times on the trip that I wasn’t sure I was going to find my way home, but I did.  I made it through those situations on my own.  At 16.  In a country where I didn’t speak the language (more than a few key phrases…).  It was very empowering.

I came home a new person.  SO excited to tell everyone all about it and share my experiences with everyone.  Show the pictures, tell my stories.  I had a vision in my head of everyone sitting at my feet waiting to hear more…wanting to hear more.

That is NOT what happened.

See, my sister left for college while I was gone.  So, even though I had been in a foreign country, all by myself, that summer, to my mother, was the summer that my sister went away to college.  She listened to my stories, sure.  But never asked questions…never looked excited for me…never asked to see the pictures.  I had to pretty much shove them under her nose.  It was very disappointing.  I guess my expectations had been too high.

And my friends…well…all I can think of, is that many were jealous.  Something happened while I was gone.  I got back, and all of a sudden no one was talking to me.  No one was calling…I finally asked one of my friends why it seemed everyone was mad at me, and she told me, “It’s a shame you were gone all summer.  We all really bonded while you were gone.”  It was such a blow.

So all that freedom, that new found self confidence…was wiped out in the first 2 weeks I was home.  I longed to go back, I wished I had signed up for the whole year.  But now I was home.  My sister was gone.  My friends were not really friends any more.  I had to forge a new path for myself.  Again.

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The quest to feel Good Enough.

As a child I became a professional actress.  It’s true.  Not in Hollywood, or on Broadway, but in my life.  I guess you could say it was my own little reality show.  It was just never on TV, and I was the only person that knew about it.  I learned very early on, that my true, authentic self, was not someone worthy of unconditional love.  So, I invented a new character.  A new me.  Only, it wasn’t really me, and pretending got to be exhausting, and lonely.  I could be surrounded by friends at a party, and laughing on the outside, but sobbing on the inside about how lonely I was.

I don’t know WHY I felt unworthy of love being myself.  I can’t pinpoint a moment in time where it clicked that I wasn’t good enough for my mom.  And the more I look back and REALLY try to figure out what happened, the more confused I become about what really caused it.  My mom is NOT a bad person.  She was not a horrible mother.  I just think she didn’t know how to deal with me.  How to relate to me.  She is one that holds her emotions in, and doesn’t let anyone else in.  She is sarcastic and puts others down in an attempt to make herself feel better.  She didn’t interact with us much.  I really cannot remember a time where my mom played with me as a child.  No board games, art projects, etc.  But I know a lot of people that were in similar situations, and they didn’t feel unloved, so why did I?

I, on the other hand, have always been a “heart on my sleeve”, highly emotional, sensitive, needy person.  I NEED love.  I NEED validation.  And due to the lack of attention I felt I was getting, I became someone that NEEDED attention.  Lots of it.  But it seemed the harder I tried for her attention, the less I got.  The more I annoyed her.  So I became a character.  A new me.  I became a People Pleaser.  A Fixer.  I became a Kiss Ass.   And I spent the rest of my childhood, teenage years, young adulthood and well, really, until the past year, doing nothing but kissing her ass to get her attention and love.  To finally feel GOOD ENOUGH.  But even that wasn’t working.  I STILL don’t feel like I am good enough for her.

The damage that thinking does is tragic, really.  When you don’t feel worthy of love from the one person in the world who is supposed to just naturally love you unconditionally….how on Earth do you ever feel worthy of love from ANYONE???

So, in my reality show that I created for myself, I became this outgoing, silly, happy happy girl that did everything she could to get a laugh.  It became my goal to get everyone else to love me, so I could then say, “See mom??  Everyone ELSE loves me!  I don’t need YOU to.”    It worked to an extent.  Only, having others love me didn’t make me feel less needy of my mother’s love, it made me more resentful of her.  And then that resentment put a bigger wedge between us.  I would kiss her ass to her face, and hate her behind her back.  It was very damaging to our relationship.  I take some ownership for that now.

In my teen years, I would spend more and more time at friends’  houses.  I called my friends’ moms “Mom”.  I called my own mother by her first name.  I would get angry at my friends for complaining about their moms…I loved their moms.  Their moms talked to me.  Asked me how my day was.  Asked me about the boys I was dating.  My mom rolled her eyes.  My mom turned every conversation to be about Her.  Sending me the message that my day, my life, didn’t matter.

I remember my senior year,  the senior class voted for the yearbook awards.  “Best Smile”, “Cutest Couple”, etc.   I won “Best Personality”.  It felt like such a farce to me.  I remember thinking it should have been “Best Actress”.  No one knew the REAL me.  No one would have voted for the REAL me.  I felt like such a phony!  A fake.   But I had become so used to my character, it became method acting.  I didn’t know where *I* went…I couldn’t even really remember the REAL me.  I am just now finding her again.  And you know what??

She rocks!

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My first suicide attempt

I was in third grade.  Yes.  You read that right.

It was a Saturday.  In the afternoon.  My mom had just spent the previous hour screaming at me, accusing me of taking her best jewelry and losing it.  I spent the previous hour telling her I had not touched it and had no idea where it was.

Her and my dad left to go somewhere.  I don’t remember where.  My sister was outside playing with the neighbors across the street.  I sat in the house sobbing.  Tired of being yelled at.  Tired of never feeling good enough…Loved…Wanted.  Tired of being blamed for things that were not my fault.  I was 9.  I didn’t take her jewelry.

So I decided I was going to make her sorry.  Sorry she blamed me.  Sorry she yelled at me AGAIN.  Sorry that she hadn’t loved me enough.  So I went into the kitchen, took down the bottle of tylenol, and took about 5.  Yup.  5 Tylenol.  Chewable Tylenol because I didn’t know how to swallow a pill yet.  Then I laid down on the couch, closed my eyes, and waited to die.

Of course, I soon realized, that 5 Jr. Tylenol were not going to kill me.  And I understand that some may see this as a kid being stupid and attention seeking.  I get it.  However, to me, it was more than that.  At that moment, I KNEW what I was trying to do.  At age 9, I had already had enough of what life was offering me.

Now, keep in mind, I didn’t have what most would consider a rough childhood.  I grew up in Suburban America, with two parents, a sibling, and a dog.  We lived in a very average neighborhood with block parties, 4th of July Fireworks, and Christmas Carolers.  I didn’t want for much.  I was fortunate enough to have a nice home, a good education, and parents with enough money to provide almost everything I could have wanted as a child.

The only thing I lacked, in my mind, was the approval of my mother.  The full, unconditional love that I so badly craved.  I am not saying she didn’t love me, and that I didn’t love her.  It just didn’t seem like “enough”.  I always felt second best.  Not good enough.  Unworthy.

That day, as I lay on the couch waiting to die, I remember thinking that she would come home, drop to her knees next to my lifeless body, and proclaim how sorry she was.  Scream to the world how much she loved me, and how wrong she was to blame me for something I didn’t do.

But, I woke up.  And she came home.  And miraculously remembered that she had put all her best jewelry in a box under her bathroom sink to hide it, as we had some burglaries in the neighborhood in the weeks prior.   And, upon her discovery that SHE had hidden her jewelry, and that I had not touched it, I waited for her heartfelt apology.  31 years later…I am still waiting.

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Where to begin…

Hi.  My name is….well…I am not going to tell you that yet.  Not to protect myself…as much as it is to protect those I love.  See, I am planning on writing everything.  My whole story.  Unedited.  Raw.  Real.  MY story.  And, though it is all 100% real and honest, that honesty has the potential of hurting those I love.  So, for now…I am keeping this anonymous.

 

“Why write it then?”  You may be asking…well…the answer is simple, really.  Because I think my story may be able to help people.  My story is not all that unique.  Not all that uncommon. Yet, one that no one likes to talk about.  Not many people are comfortable coming out to the world and saying, “Hey everybody!  Guess what?!?!  I wanted to kill myself!”  Yet, I have come to realize, that if someone, anyone, had told me THEIR story when I was going through my personal hell, it would have helped.

 

Depression is isolating.  It is debilitating.  It is real.  It is scary.  It is horrific and tragic.  It sucks.  It really fucking sucks.  And in the depths of it, you feel alone.  You feel like a failure.  You feel weak.  You feel exhausted.  You feel helpless.  You feel sad.  You feel just flat out DONE.

 D.  O.  N.  E.

 

My story will come out…slowly…and my plan is try to post everyday.  I will try to piece it all together as well as I can, and I hope you can follow along, should you decide to.  And I promise to be real.  And honest.  And lay it all out there.  In return, I ask that you keep my identity a secret, even if you know who I am.  I ask that you don’t pass judgement on me, or anyone involved in my story.  And I ask that you pass the link to my blog along to anyone that you may think it could help.  Anyone that you know that is suffering from depression and could benefit from knowing that they are NOT alone, and that it CAN (and will!!!) get better.

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