I wish there was a quick way to train our brain to shake this, but I haven't found one. Sometimes all that gets me through is composing the next piece or practicing cello for the next project or gig coming up.
Recently, I've discovered many of my personal friends are struggling with something similar. This struggle isn't easily admitted, but after seeing some concerning FaceBook posts and after private messages; the constant battle, the cycle of pain, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts is very real and struggled with every day.
Here's a story from one of my friends....
"Hello, my name is ______ and just over a year ago I was diagnosed with major depression, general anxiety, PTSD, and suicide ideation. A year ago on August 18th, I went to ______ hospital thinking that I would just try out the outpatient program. After discussing with a psychiatrist, and a nurse practitioner, I was essentially given the option to either willingly check into inpatient, or unwillingly do so because they could not legally let me leave knowing that I had suicide on my mind every minute of every day.
I had previously brushed that bit aside thinking that I was in control, but now I was scared. I was scared because I knew that I was suicidal, I was just frustrated, and in so so much pain, and now I realized that there was nothing keeping me from acting on the urges other than an occasional distraction. I would burst into tears for no reason, and all I wanted to do was curl up into a ball and bury myself in a deep hole.
So I did inpatient, and they tried me on a few different meds for my anxiety and depression. This was when I was diagnosed with major depression, general anxiety, and PTSD. I had been seeing a counselor each week for those things, but now it was so bad that not even that helped. I did inpatient for about two weeks, all the while just going through the motions. This was when I started to cut myself again.
Everything "sharp" was taken away from me when they found out, but I was too creative and too good at hiding it, so I still managed to continue on my destructive path. I was pretty much forced into leaving by a psychiatrist who I saw during the last few days of my stay, because my regular psychiatrist was the "head/main" one of all of those that worked there, so he was busy. So I left. Not a week later, I was still cutting, and then I reached the bottom of my fall, and I tried to kill myself for the first time. I didn't tell anyone for a long while, and when I did, I was thankfully surrounded by dear friends.
My depression was still so bad that, even though I was being so so loved upon, I still felt completely empty of anything other than pain. I left and went home, and when I got there I realized that I had reached it, the point where I didn't care anymore. I didn't want to fight the battle for another minute, let alone another day. I didn't want to reach out for help and find nothing there. I felt like no one could save me except for God, and I didn't want to wait for Him any longer.
I knew that if I let myself have the time to stop and think about it, that I would take my life without a second thought. So I decided to stop thinking and start doing. I had spoken with friends, and every one of them urged me to (if it would help me and keep me safe), go back to ______. I spoke with my counselor and she said the same. So slightly begrudgingly I went back. I was honest with the intake interviewer, telling him with apathy about how I would kill myself if given the chance, and how I was only really there because others wanted me to be, and I was immediately admitted.
While I was there I would attempt suicide a total of eight more times. I cut myself over a hundred times, and had gotten into the habit of punching the faux wood floor so hard and so frequently, that my knuckles were more often than not swollen, purple and yellow, and I wouldn't be able to completely open my fingers. I was at _______ for the second time for about three months. There's a lot more to the story, and believe me it doesn't end there, but this post is already too long.
I just want to let others who are struggling like I did, and honestly still do, know that they are not alone. I don't mind if you think less of me because of my mental illnesses, I am stronger because of the struggles I have to overcome.
This is me, this is the face of depression, anxiety, and ptsd."
I really am amazed regarding the abject courage this took. I hope others can speak openly about this so others can be aware. It's a selfish world out there, and often we feel no one cares. Some of us do care, and you aren't alone. Many of us struggle also.