I am a self-proclaimed, and semi-medically diagnosed, martyr and self-destructive masochist with a true medical diagnosis of depression and anxiety. I have spent the longest portion of my life within a destructive mindset and unwarranted ideas of being unworthy or undeserving of goodness. Now I realize that even as I write this these problems still persist. The difference is what I have learned over the years about myself and my issues. I have been on the edge of suicide just within the last year. I push myself to exhaustion on a consistent basis. I am the epitome of “you are your own worst enemy.” I have spent countless hours degrading myself, going through an old film reel of all the mistakes or perceived failures of my life – extending to the earliest memories of my life.
It is the film reel which almost sent me over the edge of a cliff; unfortunately I don’t mean that in any metaphorical sense.
Imagine for a moment that you are in an old movie theater, back when they had the big film reels. Now imagine that somehow the reel can be on a continuous loop just replaying the same thing over and over again. Stretch your imagination further and imagine that this reel contains every one of your memories of a failure, a mistake, or an embarrassment. You are then forced to sit and watch this endless reel of your all your short comings. This was my life, for years I have had this experience. An endless number of slides containing all the times I failed, all the times I disappointed someone, and every other embarrassing mistake I made in my life. Things would obviously get added as I grew and often times a new failure experience would start the film again.
Enter in the depression, which is as much nature and it was nurture. Both of my parents struggled with depression in their difficult child and adulthoods. However I also grew up experiencing, in particular, my father’s struggles with depression as well as alcoholism – which work in sync with each other to create a more destructive force.
Last semester I was particularly overloaded, I was attempting to take five college courses while also working over full time between three different jobs. Needless to say the lack of consistent sleep and rather unhealthy diet caused my mind to take off on a long journey, my anxiety increasing each day until the end of October when my film reel would not shut off. I took a walk which usually helps with my thought reel but I walked along the cliffs near the Mississippi river and I just wanted my own voice in my head to be silent, just for a moment. I begged and pleaded. I just wanted some inner silence. Just one quiet moment and at one point my desperation pulled my mind to the idea of just throwing myself down the ledge; if only for a moment’s reprieve.
I was barely able to walk myself back to my apartment and then I dragged my sorry self to work and in the morning I met with my counselor. I talked about what had happened and it wasn’t until she asked me whether or not I felt like I could keep myself safe that my calm demeanor shattered.
I knew the answer was I could not keep myself safe.
It was a scary thought, as I had experiences of wanting desperately to commit suicide before; even in the presence of my own family members. My counselor kept me well past my scheduled time to convince me to sign myself into a hospital. A couple of my closest friends went with me and I was in a mental health facility for five days.
This was just last October. The problems, as I said, are lifelong issues but I am making progress. My entire high school story is a traumatic tale itself and while I have heard some college classmate pine for the “old days” I would never trade my current days for the world. There is no amount of money which could convince me to return to the untreated mental instability of my youth.
I am still “making up for lost time” and my life plans have extended themselves to accommodate for my mental health needs. Notwithstanding the general grievances of life as a college student who works my life has been better since last October. I have the necessary support in terms of friends, family members, and professional health care and my own inner strength which has somehow carried me this far.
To end with my favorite quote:
“Success is not final; failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.”
~ Winston Churchill
By: Madeline, Anxiety In Teens Contributor