Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Stamp it out: The fear of the bottom

Please read the prior three posts in the "Stamp it out" series:

Just Keep Swimming
Branches of a Tree
She's the Happiest girl in the world... until she's not.

Throughout college, I was on and off of Prozac. I tried to go without it and in my senior year, yet again, I faced myself. I was in a relationship with a guy that I thought was the one. I was young and stupid and believed I was fine. I was just stressed with what my next step would be. I was normal. But I wasn't. I was depressed and psychotic and all over the map. My boyfriend and I grew apart and we were giving it one last ditch effort and then... I got pregnant.

It was April of my senior year. My boyfriend was a year younger. I had delusions of grandeur that we would have the baby, he would stay at school. We would get married and I would visit with the baby. I was young and dumb. A week later, I miscarried. And while the loss of a life is not a thing that anyone wants, it was one of the best things that happened to me. A week later, my boyfriend and I broke up.

I was devastated. My world was swirling in chaos and hormones. I was beyond crazy. I felt as though  I had lost my future husband, baby, life, best friend and self within a period of two weeks. I was a mess. Despite the hormonal war going on inside my body, I finished the year out ok. I graduated four weeks later.

I went home after graduation and I had no idea what was next. I had been a psychology major so I sent my resume out to future employers. It was impossible to find a decent job that would pay the bills.

Despite my heartache, I was still not on prozac. I thought I was ok. I was going to the gym, working out. I was social and responsibly trying to find a job. I bought a car with the help of my parents and was somewhat even.

But I was fooling myself.  My brain was breaking down despite my efforts. It was failing and sleeping dragon of depression was waking up.

I decided to switch my plan of finding a job in psychology to administrative assistant positions. Given my prior work experiences, I landed a job quickly.  To link back to my psychology major, I received a scholarship to complete a training to volunteer for a suicide hotline.  I secured a place to live and was going to move out of my parents' house within the month.

I was on the path. And then the bottom. Here's the thing with every person with mental illness. They fear the bottom. It's a constant fear that is just floating around waiting to drop. Everyone with mental illness has this fear.  At this point I had no idea the bottom was so near to me. I had a fear of it as I always had, but I didn't know it was right around the corner.

It was a Friday and I realized that despite all of the positive things in my life, I thought I was destined to die. I honestly thought the world would be better off with me watching over them than being on earth. I had my mind convinced. I called my ex- boyfriend and said good bye. He was confused, and I think he knew the real meaning behind my good bye, but he didn't say anything. I have thoughts about that but it's not worth my energy to type it out.

I went out with friends at a local bar, one of them was Bobby, had a good time and drank a good deal. My friend dropped me off at home. I said goodbye. I knew what the goodbye was, but they didn't.
The next day I woke up knowing my purpose, knowing it was my last morning. I felt calm and euphoric. I went to Old Town Ellicott City and walked around. I thought maybe I would go see a psychic to determine if I was correct in my presumption of my fate. I couldn't get the courage to go in. I went to the store and bought a box of Tylenol PM. I wandered the mall, drove around and returned home around 6 pm.

My mom and I had an argument and it sent enough adrenaline through my body to go upstairs and consume 14 Tylenol PM. What I didn't know is that when someone is severely depressed, the shot of adrenaline can push the depressed person to taking action. I looked at myself in the mirror after taking the last pill and screamed. I ran downstairs and told my parents what I had done.

The next 24 hours were a blur. I was trying not to fall asleep in the ambulance. I was given charcoal and forced to throw up. I was questioned by the resident psychiatrist and released into the care of my parents. I was quiet and numb.

The thing my mom always says about that night is that she never knew. She never knew what was going on inside me. I think she felt guilt but then realized quickly that no one knew. Not even my closest friends. I was that good. I was the happiest girl.

Obviously, I retracted the scholarship for the suicide line. I did take the job and I started three days after my suicide attempt. I moved in with my friends in September instead of July. I began seeing a psychologist immediately and taking prozac.

Later, I realized that the hormones from the miscarriage threw a wrench into my normal detection of depression symptoms. The hormones hid my normal "signs" and essentially woke up the dragon.

I had reached my bottom. And on some levels I was relieved. I had no where to go but up.

Next up: My view on depression since 2000.

If you or someone you know is depressed or having suicidal thoughts, get help. Call a suicide hotline or make an appointment with a doctor.

I'm Blogging for Mental Health.


  1. So happy you're still here. Depression is a mean ole bastard.