Three years ago, I was in a really bad head space and I hated everything about my life and I felt trapped. I was dealing with a lot of different setbacks and life was not giving me a break.
I have suffered with depression on and off since middle school. I was different and I was an outcast and some of my classmates were cruel because of it. I could never understand why people hated me so much. I look back on the different things that made me cry back in middle and high school and I can laugh about it now. I remember going home crying because a girl said I needed to flat iron the kitchen part of my hair back when natural hair wasn’t as accepted as it is now. I cried because I was teased about smelling musty, called ugly and boring and the list goes on and on. I used to hate the things that were different about me and I cried to my mom about all of those things. Now, I have learned to embrace my uniqueness and love who I am. I know now that I don’t have to carry those labels with me because I am not what people say about me.
I used to look back on my middle and high school days and could only remember the bad moments and all the cruel things said about me. At one point, I couldn’t look at old pictures without crying. I’m not sure if I was depressed then but I wasn’t happy with my life and I hated everything and everyone. I transferred high schools because it was so bad and I found people like me. I think because of those trying times my coping method became isolation and internalization. To this day, I have a hard time making friends and trusting that someone genuinely likes me.
I am thankful that the bullying didn’t make me suicidal. It just put me in a really dark place. I had to learn much later in life that words do not have any power unless I give them power. I wish that I didn’t spend so long hating who I am and carrying the weight of other people’s judgments of me.
Fast forward a little bit to the time Raylan was born. Right after having Raylan, things transpired between my mom and Ryan and he had to go back to Savannah. I didn’t want to go back to Savannah and there were way more opportunities for me in Atlanta so Raylan and I stayed in Atlanta. And I don’t regret it and I’m glad everything happened because I found true strength and I’ve had a lot of time to work on me. Ryan left and that left me with the sole responsibility of taking care of Raylan. I felt like a failure and I felt like I failed my child. The life I had imagined of giving him felt more like a fantasy than an obtainable goal. Though I wasn’t ready to go through parenthood alone, my son didn’t ask to come in this world so I had to do what I had to do to provide for my child.
I never held a real job prior to having Raylan and it was tough trying to find work. My mom and I didn’t get along and that caused a lot of friction. To this day, I hate living at home with my mom but I’m glad my son and I have a place to stay. A lot of my depression came from wanting to be on my own and being independent but not being able to for a lot of different reasons like income, credit and I am picky about neighborhoods. And it is still frustrating to live in an environment where I can’t be myself or live comfortably. At the time, I felt like a failure because I felt I disappointed so many people. I graduated high school as class valedictorian and I got pregnant my freshman year of college. It’s not what anyone saw for my life.
Since I have suffered with depression, I knew postpartum depression would hit me hard. I stopped feeling, stopped caring how I looked, didn’t want to go out, didn’t want to be bothered, didn’t pay my phone bill so I wouldn’t have to keep in touch and I stayed off of social media. I had hit rock bottom and I was completely withdrawn from life. I wanted to die. With the constant pressure of feeling like a failure, not being able to provide for Raylan, carrying the pain of the bullying and just feeling like I didn’t belong anywhere, I wanted to kill myself and end it all.
I thought of ways to kill myself. Was I going to swallow a bunch of pills and overdose? Was I going to get a gun and blow my brains out? Was I going to hang myself? Was I going to drink alcohol until I pass out and hopefully die from alcohol poisoning? Was I going to step off the curb and run into traffic? This was literally my thought process and at the time, I had no intentions of being alive today. I knew the life I wanted to give Raylan and at the time I didn’t know how I could give him the life I wanted.
I was sitting on the bathroom floor with tears down my cheek and holding a pill bottle in my hand. The same pills they gave me after labor and delivery. These pain pills were no joke and I was taking them not for the pain but to feel good and to not be present in life. I wanted to drown a bunch of pills and hopefully die. At that moment, I got a call from Ryan about how sorry he was that things went down the way it did, encouraging me that I could be a good mother and to hold my head and be strong for Raylan. It was the conversation that I needed at the time. The conversation literally changed my life.
I realized how selfish I was being and never realizing that Raylan needed me. I had no choice but to be strong for him. I didn’t know how to be strong, how to be a good mother or how I was going to provide for him. I knew I couldn’t give up and I didn’t want to leave behind the pain of my suicide on those I loved most. So, I got up and I adopted the motto “keep pushing forward” and I still use this motto. No matter what happens in life, I have to keep pushing forward.
I look back on my life and see how much of a complainer and Negative Nancy I was. I never looked at the positive, always the negative. I always expected for things to go wrong. I changed my perspective and became grateful for the things in my life and that changed my life tremendously. I haven’t been back to that dark place in 3 years. And sometimes it’s hard not to go back there especially when things do not go right. But, I like the way I feel now and I can’t go back.
I am glad that I didn’t give up and that I’m still alive and able to give Raylan the life I dreamed of giving him. Sometimes your breakthrough is closer than you think. Days after my failed suicide attempt, I got an email from Macy’s for a job interview and weeks after that, I landed my first job and the rest is history. Do not give up on your journey. I know that is easier said than done but find a reason to keep pushing forward.
I wanted to share my very own tips for battling and overcoming depression so you can live a brighter and better life. These things helped me and maybe they will help you too.
– Get up, get dressed and go outside. Enjoy nature and take a walk.
– Change your diet. I read on Psychology Today that things like refined sugar and processed foods contribute to depression.
– Find a hobby. Writing has always been my hobby but at the time I didn’t feel inspired to write. Even though I felt no inspiration, I picked up the pen and started writing again and I haven’t looked back.
– Find 1 reason to keep pushing forward. If you don’t have a reason to live then you will find every reason to die. My reason to keep pushing forward is Raylan and providing a great life for him.
– Talk to someone. Anyone. Do not hold it all in and make the mistake of thinking no one will understand what you’re going through. We all need someone.
I hope my story and tips helps someone and encourages someone to keep pushing forward. I overcame depression and I’m living a happier life now. I don’t have to fake the funk because I am truly happy and enjoying life. I’m making the best out of my situation, seeing the positive in every negative and I’m not looking back to that very dark place. And I hope if you’re going through it now, you can get through it.
I wanted to share the suicide hotline number in case you needed someone to talk to.