Hope. What does this mean to you? For some it is a word that even in the darkest of times can bring a small ray with just enough will to keep going. For others the word may seem empty and worthless because for them, they feel there is no hope. I’ve been there, and I know I am not alone in that.
“Hope is Real.”
You want to believe those words so lovingly laid upon you, but what is left but a mere shell? An empty pit barely left alive, and perhaps not for much longer.
“Help is Real.”
Where? I had gone to the doctor. I had taken the hardest step by reaching out for help and saying the words, “I’m so depressed. I can’t sleep, when I do I have nightmares. When I’m awake I have flashbacks. I’m in so much pain all I want to do is lay in bed and cry, but tears won’t come. I’m numb. And so I cut to try to feel, but this hole just gets deeper and deeper.”
“Don’t Give Up.”
I took the medicine they gave me. When that only made it worse, they gave me more. My impulsive behavior was spiraling out of control. From the inside I felt myself screaming out for help, but it seemed nobody could hear me, or maybe they just didn’t care.
Then one day I had reached my peak. Dizzy, exhausted and unable to fight anymore I cut long, quick cuts down the length of my forearm as tears poured from my aching eyes. Then I just stared at the damaged, the depth of my hopelessness so real. But I called my brother and told him to take me to the emergency room immediately. I called my Pastors who met me in the waiting room and prayed with me before I was admitted. And then finally, everything changed.
“Your Story is Not Over.”
My brother and both my Pastors saw me long enough to get me to the hospital and pray with me. After that, I was quickly taken by the nurse to be prepped for evaluation. I had to strip all the way down and be checked for any sharp objects and then I waited in a well monitored room by the nurses until the doctor was ready to see me.
My arm was cleaned, I got a painful shot and it was determined I should stay for a 72 hour hold. For this, I didn’t feel trapped, I just felt relief. For months I had been crying out for help and nobody got it. No one understood how deep the pain and how serious my need.
The Psych ward is very structured, meals at certain times, group therapy as well as one on ones as the doctors work closely with you to try to straighten out your medicine and provide you with the recourses you need to take on the world stably on your own.
By the time I left I felt like myself for the first time in a long time. My mom told the nurse that had been looking out for me that she felt like she had her daughter back. Crazy what happens when you’re given the right prescriptions to balance out your brain.
I also learned new ways of thinking. They talked so much about the fact that we cannot control other people, only our responses to what happens around us, and this has been a lesson I have carried with me.
Psych wards are not big scary places like they are made out to be in movies. Honestly, most of the time, its just a bunch of doctors and nurses whose desire is to see you get better and be ready to take on the world on your own again. I reached out for help and I got it. It took some trying, some failing and not giving up until I got what I needed. But I prevailed, because I was honest about my need.
And even after you get help, you’re still going to have a mental health struggle, maybe for the rest of your life. But you’ll know, like I do, that you have people behind you like those doctors, nurses, like To Write Love On Her Arms who inspired me and encouraged me to keep going on my bad days, and so many others who will not stop fighting to see you thrive!
“Your Story Matters.”
My story is one of overcoming, and it needs to be shared because you need to know that there are other options besides taking your own life. I know the pain. What I’ve written here is only a tiny sample of my struggle and victory. Believe me, I know what its like to want to give up. To be ready to. And I know its worth holding on to life.
It is too late for many others. A friend of mine, Travis was lost to suicide just last year. This is a disease and it must be fought! Too many have been lost already, step up and help fight against suicide. The numbers have been growing, but I believe if we come together, we can turn it around.
Supporting To Write Love On Her Arms means providing resources, counseling, treatment and a continuous movement to end the stigma of mental health.
If you or someone you know is suicidal:
You can text the CRISIS TEXT LINE 741741 https://www.crisistextline.org
Or call the SUICIDE HOTLINE 24/7 1-800-273-8255
You can also go to twloha.com to find resources in your area for mental help, addiction and more. Don’t settle. Don’t give up. You’re worth fighting for.