About four months ago, I decided to change careers and end a long-term relationship. Those first two months I was on what I like to call a “change high.” I was so overwhelmed and in love with the new wonderful opportunities in my life. I felt so energized and full of life.
But then that third month arrived, and something slowly started changing. I felt exhausted all of the time. I stopped eating and exercising on a regular basis. I slept more and cancelled on social plans. What used to take me 30 minutes to do then took an hour. I had trouble getting out of bed in the morning and constantly found myself running late for my job. My blood sugar levels were harder and harder to control, and I felt sick most of the time. I lost interest in all activities that once brought me joy. My social anxiety returned. A lot of anxiety returned. I overreacted to the littlest things at work and at home. I no longer felt confident in my direction.
I am still emerging from that hole of hopelessness. I cannot explain what exactly pinpointed such a depressive episode. But a few weeks ago, I started reaching out to family, friends and colleagues. I started being honest about how I felt about a lot of things. And rather than be met with scrutiny, I was met with support.
I still have that support. And on truly harrowing days it’s that support that really gets me through. In the meantime, I’m taking the time to explore opportunities and challenges. What is it about my current circumstances that make me feel so value-less and useless? What can I do to change that, regardless of the risks?
I’m not one to feel alive waiting in line for the rollercoaster. I feel alive when I am on the rollercoaster and crossing that first hill and putting my hands in the air. And I’d like to share this journey with you. I don’t have all the answers. But I recognize we are not alone in our struggles and only by connecting can we really, truly feel alive.
I’m planning to post more on this blog over the next month. And to give you a glimpse of the past six weeks, here are a few short episodes. Continue reading
I am less than 24 hours from officially surviving the most heart wrenching, traumatizing, emotionally charged, tumultuous, unforeseeable, devastating decade of my life (Jane Austen would disapprove of that many adjectives).
Speaking of Jane, 10 years ago I was obsessed with the movie Becoming Jane (I also had a huge crush on James McAvoy, that is until his overdramatized portrayal of mental illness in Split). Like Austen’s character in the film, I wanted to experience a great love story but then spend my life dedicated to my writing (and writing six of the greatest novels in the English language couldn’t hurt either). Continue reading
In light of recent conversations on mental health, I thought it might be appropriate to reflect on a period of my life when I questioned that life. Even though I had everything going for me, I, like so many others, struggled with the mental and physical realities of my worth. What difference could I make? What impact could I have? Whether I lived or not, the Earth would keep revolving. I didn’t think things could get better. I also didn’t think they could get worse. This was two years before I met diabetes.
June 16, 2007
The most recent typed edition of my second working novel is scattered across the blue carpet of my bedroom floor. I write today’s date on a folded piece of looseleaf paper and set it aside. I just took eight over-the-counter IB Profen pills. They’re the most potent pills I could find in the medicine cabinet. Unfortunately, my parents do not take prescription sleeping pills (that I’m aware of).
I have no idea what overdosing on anti-inflammatory medication will do to me, but I can’t imagine it’s good. I think I’m playing with my life. But I am determined to finish my second working novel before the medicine kicks in. I only have two more chapters to write.
I look at myself in the shattered mirror of my closet door. My parents are in their bedroom across from mine. I’ve locked my door. They know about my depression, and they’ve supported me in the past two years as I made the transition from home to college and old and new friends. They know that I started taking anti-depressants. They know I was seeing a therapist at the university health center. They know I’ve run out of anti-depressants. Continue reading