Thursday, 14 August 2014

Its not always that simple....

Many a time I have thought about posting my experiences and then procrastination, lack of courage, fear of judgement all step in and for one reason or another I wimp out. 

This week has been different!  There has been a lot of opinion and comments this week surrounding suicide and depression, much of it started because of the tragic loss of Robin Williams. Part of me is glad that these topics have arisen so that people talk about them and try to understand them, if only a little more than previously. Much of the confusion surrounding these topics comes from those who have never suffered from depression or thought about suicide. Part of me wants to pat them on the back and say I'm glad that they have never had to deal with it and glad they've never had to go to that deep dark black hole of an abyss that we call depression. Another part of me just wants to 'flip the bird' at them for judging what they cannot judge, to slap them silly for having an opinion of what they THINK depression feels like or what they THINK they know of how it works in people's minds. But then another part of me thought, well much of this confusion and lack of understanding comes from people like me not sharing our experiences, and honestly you can't blame me/us for not wanting to speak out. It's often part of our lives that is personal, it often involves taboo topics and it often stems from other taboo topics.

Before I spout into my experiences and what I've dealt with I wanted to first express my thoughts on what people should really be discussing at this time when depression and suicide are so fresh in MANY people's minds, and I think these things are so basic that they really do apply to anything, not just to help others deal with depression and such.  What conversations should we really be having with each other? How can those of us/you standing on the outside looking in, help? How can we all strive to be better people each day by loving more, by caring more, by trying, even if faking it, to be more empathetic to not only those we are in constant contact with but those we meet along the way.
            Remember when you were a kid or teenager and would fight with your parents and you'd think to yourself, 'man I'm NEVER gonna do this to my kids', or 'I'm going to give my kids more of this...or that', and then you became a parent and you realised you were almost exactly like your parents?! Remember when you realised this and thought, wow it really is quite hard to parent, wow it really is hard to try and teach your kids or to discipline your kids and then felt bad for thinking all those thoughts when you were younger about your parents and gained a new appreciation for everything your parents ever did for you?
            I try and think of this when I come across people that are experiencing things I've never experienced before, and I try and love them and help them because honestly I have no idea what they are going through, I've never experienced what they are experiencing, all I know is that they are struggling and that they need a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen to them, or two arms to hug them.  Those things I can do! Those things are easy for me to do!
            As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Days Saints I was taught not to judge but to love and care for ALL my fallow men. It is not my place to judge the actions of anyone. I may not condone what their decision was but I can still love them and care for who they are, the rest will be dealt with by a much stronger, wiser person then I. The Lord said "love one another as I have loved you", he truly does love each and every one of us and he understands our circumstances, our thoughts and feelings more than anyone and ONLY he can truly judge us when that time comes. I personally know there are things in my life that I have done that I'd love to take back or erase but at the same time I know it's part of my journey and honestly I don't think I'd be the person I was today without experiencing those thing! So my point is just love, care, smile, talk, give service to those around you! Don't shut out those people or their problems because you don't know how to deal with them or you don't agree with how they are dealing with them, you loved and cared for them before so surely you can continue to love them and help them in their hour of need.
Be Kind, We’re All Fighting Some Kind Of Battle: Quote About Be Kind Were All Fighting Some Kind Of Battle ~  Daily Inspiration
I guess the above is really what I wanted to get off my chest but if you so feel the need or want to step into the shoes of someone that has not only dealt with depression and attempted suicide but also rape then feel free to read on. These are my experiences, how I dealt with them at the time and some of my thoughts at the time.

So here it goes, I'm going to attempt to open up about some of my experiences with attempted suicide, depression and other taboo topics that I've 'suffered' and I use 'suffered' for lack of a better word. Never in my life have I felt like a 'victim', never in my life have I questioned my faith, my lord or my God why these trials and experiences were put in MY path. I have just tried to accept the circumstances I've been given and tried my best to deal with them in the best way I knew how AT THE TIME. 

Throughout my life I've had 3 taboos that have become part of my life's journey, 3 taboos that I often don't talk about for fear of not only judgement but also out of fear of being pitied or for fear of misunderstanding of the magnitude of these situations.

The first taboo that I was forced to deal with is and was RAPE. At the tender age of 13 years old while riding home from swimming training I was lured off my bike by a person I knew and thought was a friend, at this time he preceded to pull me in a wooded area, I thought he was just going to show me something, but here he tied me to a tree and raped me. At the time I was in shock and had no idea what was happening, it all happened so quickly and part of me is glad that my young mind didn't know what was truly happening. Before I knew it I was back on my bike riding frantically home with tears streaming down my face. In riding home my swim bag got caught in my front tyre and I was thrown over the handle bars and happened to land on my knees, I still have the physical scar from that.

When I got home I remember one of the first things I did was run into my bedroom and silently sat on my bed praying for help to get through this, that I would have strength and boy was I blessed with strength. I remember crying and eventually Mum came in asking what was wrong, I just told her I feel off my bike and hurt my knee.

I can't remember how long it was before I finally told my Mum, I think several months if not almost a year or two after the fact. I know without a doubt I got through this experience without 'breaking down' because my parents, my close friends and other family constantly showed love and 'support' (they didn't know what happened but they always supported me in every other endeavour).
On a daily basis I was forced to relive my experience, every time I saw this person around school, around the community and sadly sometimes at church functions, but I knew that while others were surrounding me there was nothing he could do to hurt me again.

A few years later after graduating High School I moved out of my parents and a couple of hours away from home, I was so proud of myself, I had a little independence, I had just got my first real big girl job and I felt a little invincible. It was at this time that I met a couple 'friends' that back in my hometown I never would have hung out with, 'friends' that quite honestly I shouldn't have been associating with but at the tender age of 17 years old I thought I knew who I was, I thought I was stronger mentally and within myself then any external influences. I thought despite the decisions these people were making I wouldn't make those decisions, that I was strong enough to continue living my religion as righteously as I had been bought up to live.

Guess what?!? I WASN'T invincible, my young character wasn't as strong as I thought it was, my self esteem wasn't as strong as I thought it was and before long I was making decisions that I knew my parents wouldn't be proud of. With these decisions came guilt, with that guilt came more peer pressure, with me trying to still make right decisions but also making some wrong decisions came self hatred and feelings of being ashamed of myself, and with that came some more bad decisions and the cycle, albeit small cycle, continued. Before I even realised I was in a big cloud of darkness, I hated who I had become, I hated who I saw in the mirror, I couldn't feel the love of my friends or family anymore. It didn't matter how much they told me it's like it just never sank in.

Now from most accounts of those who didn't truly know me, I looked and acted normal, I went to work daily, often still had a 'smile' on my face, still cracked pathetic jokes, still had fun, but to those who truly knew me knew that something was wrong! They knew my smile wasn't genuine! They knew I wasn't being as funny and free spirited as I usually am (I like to think I'm funny :) although probably not! LOL) but quite honestly nothing they said or did I could get me out of this 'funk' I was feeling, I really quite literally felt like I walked around everywhere in this black haze that was so thick and dark that it was hard to feel any real sense of love or happiness. I remember knowing I was loved but not feeling loved. I was DEPRESSED.

Depression Quote

I hated feeling this way, I hated who I was, I hated the feeling of darkness, I hated what I was thinking the thoughts I was having BUT no matter what I did to try and think positive to try and feel that true love and happiness, I couldn't change my negative though pattern, I couldn't think or feel happiness or love.
I don't remember how the thoughts started, I don't know how they developed but I just remember one day feeling so sad.  Actually it was more than sad, I feel sad now replaying this time in my life but I still feel.  It's hard to explain really but all I know is that the sadness that most people feel and then they find something happy and move on and forget that sadness they momentarily felt, well depression is different.  It's not a momentary feeling of sadness, it's all consuming!

I don't even remember how the thoughts of suicide started, or even if they were thoughts of suicide but rather thoughts of wanting to have some 'relief'. I just remember one day wanting to feel free from myself, I remember wanting those around me to feel free from me too. At the time I didn't think "Oh I know I'll slit my wrists and die" it wasn't like that, it was more just wanting to feel free, wanting to feel peace, wanting to FEEL!!!! 

Before I even knew what was happening I was already DOING something to relieve my pain, to relieve the pain for others.  I remember not even being able to stop myself, it was too late, I didn't feel any pain while that knife was in my hand slicing open my wrist, I felt nothing but the relief of the red raw blood I saw pouring out of my veins. I remember feeling calm, I remember shock, I remember feeling light. I remember thinking was is happening, why doesn't this hurt? I remember thinking to myself STOP!

Then almost as fast as it started it ended, I came to in a hospital bed my parents by my side, I couldn't look them in the eye, I just cried, I held them so tight, I FELT LOVED.
Almost as fast as the black cloud came the black cloud was gone, I couldn't believe what I had done, I couldn't believe what I had been threw in 4 short months! I had completely gone from one person who was confident, happy, smart and loved to a nothing, and here I was in a hospital bed reflecting wondering how I had let my mind, my thoughts and now my body go to that deep dark hole called depression, and even to the point of attempting suicide.

I truly can't explain it, but what I can explain is that it is real!!!!! It is painful to have those thoughts and feelings, it's not as easy as some may think, to 'just think positive'. For some reason in a depressed persons mind positivity can't coexist with the negativity they feel.

So back to what I said above, all I can say is kindness, love, charity and all those other values can help! Even if to delay any actions they may be thinking of doing, until such time as their mind snaps out of their 'funk'. For me it was almost instantaneous, it was like waking up in that hospital bed awoke my true light, happy smart self and I'm lucky I've never gone back to that place again but for others it's a constant battle of light and darkness. You never know when those days of clarity will come when you're in the midst of darkness but for most, those days of clarity are few and far between.

Talk to your friends who may be struggling, and I'm not talking about texting them or messaging them on facebook or text message I'm talking GO to your friends house, sit down with them talk about anything and everything, spend time with them, watch movies with them, truly listen to not only what their words tell you but also their actions, their body language everything and if you have concern for them DON'T BE AFRAID to talk to them about your concerns, tell them you are there, tell them you will be there anytime they need you.

I know we all lead busy lives, and when I say busy, I mean most of us if we are honest with ourselves sit of facebook or the internet for 3-4 hours sometimes more each day,  just refreshing our newsfeeds to see what the next person you haven't spoken to in 10 years since high school is doing!

As Ellen DeGeneres always finishes her shows "BE KIND TO ONE ANOTHER".

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