**I wrote this on the evening of August 11, 2014. Shortly after the news broke that Robin Williams had died by suicide. This post is the first time I ever shared with my friends and family about my mental health. I would end up being diagnosed with Bipolar type II in 2018, explaining a short lifetime of emotional turmoil.**
TRIGGER WARNING: suicide attempt
My earliest memory of feeling depressed is in the second grade when I tried to hang myself from my bunkbed with the cotton belt of my robe. I don’t remember what exactly had me feeling so low. It more than likely had to deal with the fact that I felt like my father never believed me when I told the truth or that he always had an excuse to “beat” us. Then I remember the challenge that hit our family when Dad had his stroke. Imagine a 12 year old trying to help her newly disabled dad everytime he didn’t make it to the bathroom. Six months later, we were evicted from our home because the owner died. I was leaving my friends and new social life behind. We moved to Lakeside, (San Diego) where the neighbors welcomed me but school was more challenging. It was my 7th grade year where the bullying began. Unfortunately for me, I was blessed with my father’s BUSHY eyebrows. Those eyebrows became the host to all the harassment that began then. I would fake sick, leave early, whatever it took to avoid the teasing. Until one day, I gathered the courage to leave a note for the VP. The very next day, I was called into her office and met with the counselor for the first time. My harasser got written up for sexual harassment.
By the time I got to high school I felt like the odd man out. I was changing. My face finally looked pretty in my opinion but come sophomore year, I was incrediby depressed. Dad was in and out of the hospital due to his new found kidney disease. His health was deteorating before my eyes and the stress of taking care of him after school was getting to me. I was having frequent panic attacks but did not know what was wrong at the time. There was blood work done. My mom was convinced I was suffering from fatigue due to mono. Negative. That same day after being drained of my supply, I went immediatley to my assigned counselor. “I’m feeling really sad.”
That same day I was sent home with a permission slip for my parents to sign acknowledging that I was okay to seek help from the school’s lisenced psychologist. The next morning my dad asked if anything was wrong, I knew mom had told him. “I’m meeting with the school psychologist today.”
Dad sighed and said, “You know you can always talk to me too.”
I visited with Patty a few times a week. She made me express my emotions using playdough. I built a cave telling her I felt like I had a large hole inside and she reminded me that if I threaten to hurt myself or others she has the authority to know and report it. I did well with her help. Then one day, she was gone.
Somehow, I got through that moment in time. I was an anorexic according to my mother. I was missing so much school because I couldn’t stand to socialize. Then I found I had a passion to write. A passion that helped me finish those last two grueling years. I finished writing my first book, the end of junior year.
My depression remained at bay for a few years after high school. Hitting me hard when my best friend traded me for her boyfriend. Soon after. my first serious relationship ended when I found out he was cheating on me. In a year’s time, I found myself sitting across from my new Doctor who told me I was clinicaly depressed and suffered from anxiety. I was started on Paxil and given Xanax for emergencies. The Paxil tortured me the first two weeks. It was then that he prescribed me Celexa. Wow. Over time, I began to feel happy again. That is until I realized I was now 25 pounds heavier. I made the difficult decision that I would rather be depressed than fat and weaned myself off the rx. I will never forget the nights, crying to my mom that I wish I would just go to sleep and not wake up for a very long time. These feelings came and went. I sought help from a psychologist but stopped seeing her after I felt she misguided me.
It has been nearly five years since my last breakdown. To this day, I still suffer. It’s not everday, but probably too often.
When I heard of Robin Williams’ passing, I cried. I cried because I felt the hurt. I cried because too many people look down on depression as if it is something that we bring upon ourselves. Perhaps, Robin felt the same I do, that making people laugh is the only thing we can/could do to mask our own suffering. After all, laughter is the best medicine right?