I hear over an over coming from an unrecognizable, thick Acadian accent.
I am groggy and disoriented from the handful of pills I had taken earlier that evening. My plan was to go to sleep and not wake up. I didn’t know how to cope with life or my crippling sadness. I felt worthless, hopeless and alone. So I gave up.
I was chatting with a friend online that evening and told him what I had done before before I logged off and went to sleep. He called 911 and the parade of lights and sirens made their way to my house. A stranger from the internet had sent in the Calvary to save me.
It was the voice of the female RCMP officer from Rogersville.
I was taken to the hospital by ambulance where I was met by my mother. I will never forget the look on her face. I imagine it was a cross between fear, panic, relief and “I want to throttle you”.
My mother was my pillar of strength. She guided me through the healthcare system where I was prescribed antidepressants and began counselling. It was incredibly valuable to have a safe space to open up to someone. My counselor helped me immensely in developing coping skills, building my self confidence and helping me understand the chaos that was going on inside my head.
I was worried about what my dad’s reaction would be, and as I had feared, he was angry. I remember his disapproving look as he stood at the top of the stairs that night. It seemed he was more concerned about the ambulance bill than the flashing sign above my head that said “I’M NOT OK”. In his opinion someone with mental illness is “broken”, however in our family his quick temper was responsible for most of the breaking.
I am grateful to be able to share my story, because that means I am still here to tell it. It was not “the end”, but a “to be continued”.
I could have easily been another statistic of teenage suicide, which appears to be on the rise. When I hear of so many young people taking their own lives, I am heartbroken because I was there. I know all too well the despair and loneliness they are feeling. I know the feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness and that your dysfunctional brain convinced you that the world is better off without you in it.
But it’s not.
Your brain lies.
Things do get better, but you have to work your ass off for it. I know there are some days you don’t even want to get out of bed, the thought of doing anything at all is overwhelming, but those are the days you need to work the hardest. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and no, it’s not an oncoming train. It is a tiny flicker of hope. With time it will get brighter and brighter, and before you know it the light will wash away the darkness.
I am living proof that the darkness doesn’t last forever. And while I still get the occasional visit from my old friend, I have the skills, strength and support to keep moving forward.
Mental Illness is coming out of the shadows of stigma. It is something that so many suffer from, but nobody wants to talk about it. The invisible illness that shall not be named. The Voldemort of healthcare issues. Our silence is a disservice to those who carry the weight of an illness that no one else can see. We need to discuss Mental Illness. We need to support those who are fighting daily battles that rage in their own minds.
We need to be kind, compassionate and lend a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to listen.
Please don’t suffer in silence. If you are struggling, reach out to your friends and family. You may not think so, but you have a whole network of people who love and care about you. Talk to your doctor, or counselor, or even a stranger on the internet. I owe my life to one.
You are not alone.
You are loved.
You are worthy.
Your story isn’t over yet.