SEPTEMBER 1, 2018: I wrote this last year, about the events of the year before that. History hasn't changed, but I have. I think I might be clear of the recovery stage, finally. I've done some amazing things, I've connected with some amazing people and reconnected with even more. I got published. I went to the lake and saw my granddaughter teach herself how to put her face under the water and then come up laughing and high-five her mom. I came up with the story idea that's going to change my life (and I'll write it just as soon as I get book 3 to my publisher, because THAT's a phrase I never thought I'd say...)
ANYWAY. In a lot of ways my life started 2 years ago today, so I'm leaving this here for posterity.
(Originally posted 9/1/17) It’s time. If you know, if you knew, if you didn’t know – now you will. This is the story of me, one year ago.
I can’t tell you how it got as bad as it did. Mental illness doesn’t work in absolutes and neat little formulas, depression doesn’t care if you should or shouldn’t feel as hopeless and lost as you do. I can tell you it didn’t happen overnight. I can tell you I fought. By Chuck, I fought. With everything I had, and some things I didn’t. Every single day I would repeat to myself the words that worked for an actor I respect and admire – Always Keep Fighting.
Jared Padalecki dealt with depression and thoughts of self-harm and suicide as well. He was going through some shit rather publicly while I was struggling myself – he has no idea how much he helped me. I can’t go to cons or connect with him in person at all, but the man is probably singularly responsible for me not killing myself at least five times. Because there was always his face, his sincere and aching Sam Winchester face, begging me not to give up, not yet. That I couldn’t see it or feel it, but I mattered.
Today marks the one year anniversary of the day I lost that fight. The specifics are blurry. I think I went to work. I know I had another anxiety attack. I know I couldn’t stop crying. It was like I never stopped crying. I’d been reaching out the only way I knew how, messaging friends who thank Chuck could read past my dry “i’m totally kidding” words to see that I was absolutely not kidding and in actual, real danger. There was just nothing they could do, I was hundreds of miles away. They convinced me to go to the doctor – I managed not to drive full speed into any number of trucks, and I made it to the doctor, who’d seen me for depression and anxiety more than a few times over the previous months. And I didn’t tell him I was fine.
I remember the doctor telling me he was going admit me for a psych evaluation. I remember he said the cops could take me or my husband could take me. I remember him calling my husband because I couldn’t make the words happen. I remember being picked up, going home to get clothes, and never going to the hospital. Something about how they weren’t going to let me sit around and feel sorry for myself, so why didn’t I just go to the beach and get away for a few days. I remember curling up on the couch and the tv being on. I remember the painkillers. I remember alcohol. I remember more painkillers.
I lost count. I lost faith. I lost hope. I threw up once, but just took more to compensate. I remember a seizure. I remember lying beside my sleeping husband and actively fighting to not throw up again while I begged – BEGGED – god to let me die.
Let me make it abundantly clear that despite any murmurs to the contrary, this was not ‘for attention.’ I wanted to die. I NEEDED to die. My daughter lost her father to suicide when she was younger, so can you wrap your head around how broken I had to be to think that her losing her mother the same way would be acceptable, let alone for the best, as I was thinking at the time? I can’t. I’m a year removed and I remember so clearly thinking that my death would make things so much better and easier for the people I love, and the me I am now is still stunned that I’d even consider it.
I failed, obviously. I woke up. It’s hard to describe the next few weeks, because I checked the fuck out. I was a zombie, without the hunger. Just an empty shell, nothing left – no way to move forward, no way to go back, breathing only because it was automatic. Something was missing – hell, everything was missing. I just. didn’t. care. I couldn’t even bring myself to feel angry or betrayed or even sad anymore. I just wasn’t there.
You want hope and warm fuzzies, look somewhere else.
I survived, but barely, and not in one piece – Jared Padalecki may have saved me over the years, but it was my brother, my Simon who literally walked me out of hell. The River storyline in Firefly, where she goes off to a place she thinks she wants to be and then is all tortured and crazy and Simon gets her out and deals with all the broken parts of her in the aftermath? Yeah. There’s a reason I call him Simon. There’s a reason he calls me River. I don’t lay claim to the super-genius part, but the deeply damaged psychic? Yeah. So the next time you’re glad to see me, thank him.
I’m not going to post tomorrow, nothing big, anyway. I’ve got this idea that I should treat tomorrow like something special, and spend a little time convincing myself that I have come a long way, that the journey was worth it, that there is more to come and maybe not all of it will be pain and sadness. Or maybe I’ll cry for that woman I used to be, born of the girl that I was, and help her see the woman she can be. Either way, I’ll wake up tomorrow. And the day after that.