I’ve spent 5 hours at hospital this morning. Not for anything sinister. I’ve been at a workshop to learn ways to manage the persistent pain I experience on a day to day basis. If that isn’t sinister.
I’ll be honest though, I had to leave. I can’t stand being trapped in a dialogue of how awful everything is. I’m not always positive, that’s for sure, but this really set me off and I had to escape in the early stages of a panic attack. Ironic right? The discussion about anxiety, trauma and mental health actually triggered me. 3 coffees probably didn’t help my heart rate and stress response, but it got so much worse listening to stories of helplessness, because I refuse to believe that for myself.
I’ve suffered depression and anxiety for as long as I can remember, being diagnosed at 17. I’ve had ups and downs wth it, sometimes one being more dominant than the other. I sometimes joke that depression has made me want to die, and anxiety has saved my life, so they work quite well together. But the depression has come pretty close several times, most recently this year. I don’t want to delve too deep, because it’s hard, and I don’t want this to trigger YOU if you’re suffering. For me, dealing with this stuff on top of chronic pain, parenting, failed business, marriage separation and the hectic nature of daily life very nearly got the better of me. I was drinking way too much and relying a lot on substance to mask my pain, and one night I got really close to ending it. But I woke up the next day, literally and figuratively. I’d scared myself, and some people close to me, and I knew i had to change something. That desire to escape the discomfort of chronic sadness is SO real, and when circumstances get really hard, it can just simply be too much.
Then, the anxious, people-pleasing perfectionist jumps in and saves the dark and morbid useless Jade. She pulls her out of the depths and says “you don’t want to be annoying to someone by dying! Get back up and achieve something!”
Sounds a bit harsh, but this is how it works for me. So I did. I pulled myself out, and decided to try and live again. I cut down the drinks, increased the positive self talk, started working on things that I enjoy and have managed to turn this shit around in a few months.
I understand it’s not simple. But what I want to say is, that every time I’ve chosen NOT to die, I’m always glad I didn't die. And what helped me was a glimmer of hope that I held some value in this world. That someone thought I was worth something.
There’s a lot more complexity to my situation than I’ve shared here. But I wanted to share a bit of my story in the hope that if you’re reading this and you feel the same way, you can see a little glimmer that you are valuable, and need to be here, even if you don’t know why. We are all enduring this crazy life together, so call someone who gets you, and have a chat.
My current favourite words from @adamjk on Instagram.
Good things do happen.
Love is real.
We will be ok.