When I decided to share my story with the world, I was scared….terrified actually. I have wanted to help the childhood cancer community and the depression/suicide community my entire life. I have wanted to write a book since I was 10 years old and I wanted to be a speaker for the LDS church. These have been my dreams for as long as I can remember. What has held me back all these years? Fear.
Fear of failure. Fear of falling flat on my face and getting kicked while I was down. Fear of trying so hard to do something that I wanted so desperately and having it fail; laughing and mocking me all the way down. I was terrified that this thing that I have dreamed of my whole life would never come true and even without trying, I blamed myself.
Depression…..real, deep, dark depression, has a funny way of telling you that you will never be enough. It tells you that you will never amount to anything more than a sad, pathetic shell of a human being that never accomplishes anything. It tells you your whole life that anything negative that you have told yourself or that someone else has told you is true. It reminds you over and over again of your weaknesses and physically forces you to stay hidden from your life and the world around you.
Depression is debilitating. You are constantly exhausted, both emotionally and physically. Your mind is constantly taking you to dark places and forcing you to feel the emotions of them, even if they are only imaginary. Depression is a disease that eats away at your mind until you have nothing left to give yourself or anyone else around you. You feel empty, lonely, unworthy, sad all the time, unlovable, desperate and guilty.
When the depression is truly dark enough, it tells you that permanent darkness would be the ultimate relief. Turning it all off would be the only thing that would truly set you free from all the sadness and pain.
This week is National Suicide Prevention Week. To honor those who have taken their own lives, and all those who have thought about it, I wanted to share a little more of my story.
I was suicidal when I was 17 years old and a senior in high school. To read more of that story, go here. I was completely spent. I didn’t feel that I had anything left to give and that darkness was a much better option than anything I was feeling at the time. That was not my first time considering suicide and it was definitely not my last.
When I was 19 and living away from home, I felt this urge again. I was on an anti-depressant that seemed to be making the urges stronger and I planned it out again. I sat on my bed in a room that I shared with one of my best friends. I was alone in the apartment and I decided I was going to take a bottle of pain pills and just go to sleep. I sat there for a long time staring at the bottle and waiting to get the courage to just do it.
I have always been a very compassionate person and “put myself in others’ shoes” often to try and feel their pain with them. I think this may be a sub-conscience thing that I do as a form of punishment to myself; feeling that I need to feel as much pain in this life as possible because I didn’t deserve a second chance. (Definitely a post for another time)
But, it is this compassion that got me to stop what I was doing this second time. I didn’t want my roommates to come home and find me on the floor and then have to make the dreaded phone call to my parents and the police. I didn’t want to be the reason they were traumatized for the rest of their lives. Noble, right? Believe me, there was no sense of nobility in this decision, only more frustration and anger. Once more, I had to live in my darkness alone, and no one would know what I was planning on doing that day.
When I started having children of my own, I suffered from severe postpartum depression. I locked myself away from the world in my room with my baby as often as I could. I never wanted to go out, I didn’t want to see or speak to anyone. I didn’t have a detachment from my babies, I had a detachment from the rest of the world, which unfortunately also included my husband. We were at odds for the first year after our first daughter was born, and about two years after our second daughter was born. He tried the best he knew how, but just didn’t know what to do. And to be honest, I wasn’t in a place to accept his help either, I just didn’t want anyone around me but my baby.
The hardest part of this form of depression for me, was that suicide was no longer a viable option. As much as I felt in my heart that my babies and husband would live a better life without me, I couldn’t bring myself to do that to them. I know now that Heavenly Father was allowing that stronger sense of family and love to win out over what my body and mind were doing to me at the time. I’m beyond grateful.
The past three months have been the hardest and most rewarding months for me personally. When I decided to start my blog, it was easy to write. I just had to get online, start telling my story with Leukemia and voila…the words came easily. It was somewhat cathartic to relive it all in a storytelling way. To see it in detail again so I could share as much of it as raw and real as I could.
That was the easy part. Once I started to get into more of who I became as a result of surviving Leukemia, then it got harder. Writers block is a very real thing for someone who is sharing their soul with the “world”. Once I knew there were people actually reading my story, and relating to it, it became much harder to pour my heart out because I then wanted to make sure everything I said was beneficial.
I will always pray and hope that something I say resonates with someone. That even if ONE person reading what I wrote, can feel less alone in their own darkness, that all the fear and pain was worth it. I would go through all of the struggles I have had a million times again if it meant I could help my children and maybe strangers know that they are not alone, and that they can learn to love themselves in spite of all their shortcomings.
I have come to own ALL that I am! The good and bad, the happy and sad, the joys and the anger, the strong and the weak, the heartache and the pure love. I own it all, because it all is ME!
I recently read a quote by Brene’ Brown, in her book Rising Strong that says:
I am owning my story. ALL of it! I am finally being brave and stepping into it. I am sick of all the negative things from my life defining who I am. I want to share it, and pray that it can be helpful to someone else. I want to show that it’s OK to be Imperfect…..in fact, that is the ONE thing that I am perfect at…..IMperfection!
I know that even when I have bad days and days that I am completely unproductive…I am enough. I am enough for me right now. I am enough for my kids right now. I am enough for my husband right now. Can I use some work? Abso-friggin-lutely! Can I continue to pick myself up, dust myself off and try again…..YES!
And YOU can do the same! Start small….find ONE thing that you want to work on starting today, and be better at it. Just one thing. And don’t forget to not beat yourself up if you can’t even go 24 hours being better at it. We are all human. We are all imperfect beings struggling just to breathe most days. It’s OK!
XOXO, JAMIE LYNN
*There are lots of resources out there if you are having suicidal thoughts or suffering from severe depression. Please talk to someone and find help. It is out there. If you just need someone to talk to, feel free to email me at [email protected]
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE
www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org or CALL 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
AMERICAN FOUNDATION FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION
The LDS church just launched a new website for Suicide Prevention this week. Please go check it out also, and watch the videos.
LDS.ORG WEBSITE FOR PREVENTING SUICIDE