I remember something a psychiatrist told me many years ago. He was one of my first shrinkamadinks. I kinda sorta simultaneously trusted everything he said while believing 100% he was full of crap. Look, it was early on in treatment. I hadn’t been diagnosed with all my acronyms yet. I was ball of blame, shame, and good old fashioned crazy.
What this professional mental health care provider pointed out to me was I held on every single day of my childhood. He said it could have been the bird outside my window or the smile from an adult or the words in a book, but I found something to cling to every single day. The little girl I was found this thing called hope as often as she needed so she could survive. That truth broke me. Broke into me, broke through the fear and the mess.
I spent the next two decades wrestling with it all. I was embarrassed I needed something to cling to in order to live. I was proud I survived. I know many of you won’t get that, but there it is. I had to address the abuse and the acronyms, too. Doesn’t that suck? To find out your brain is hardwired a different way than other people’s AND to have to unlearn all that gunk and yuck, too?
I’m jealous of those of you who don’t understand what it’s like to look at suicide as a viable option for ending the nightmare. I’m envious of how you call suicide “the easy way out.” When I first started speaking openly about what ails me, my mister’s coworkers would often ask him in hushed voices if I was feeling better. I wanted to scream, “Crazy isn’t like the flu!” The misconception that I was going to miraculously recover from my illness was ever present. That wasn’t as bad as the unintentionally dismissive claim that I was simply blue and needed to get over it.
If “getting over” mental illness was an option, I’m confident all us crazy folks would have done so by now.
I’ll spend the rest of my life managing my illnesses with various strategies and safeguards. Suicidal thoughts will pop up uninvited at any given moment even with medicine, therapy, and a loving support group. I’m not a coward who’s looking for an easy way out of her mess. I’m the girl who survived her childhood. I’m a warrior. I’m not a selfish harpy who doesn’t care about her family and friends because I have suicidal ideation. I’m the woman who fights as best she can every time the darkness tries to swallow her. I’m the person who continues to find hope. I’m the hero of this story. No matter how it ends.