Trigger warning: Mention of suicide and trauma
2 years ago, I made a plan. I made a plan to end my own life.
This wasn't the first time I had thoughts like that. Struggling with suicidal ideation was something I had endured since my early teens. It was a part of me that I knew all too well. Like an old toxic friend, those thoughts were always there for me when I just couldn't handle the world anymore.
I was driving on the way to my friends home, in a dissociative episode, as I thought of how easy it would be to end my own life in that moment. One flick of my wrist on the steering wheel and I could end this lifetime of suffering and torment that was the inner workings of my own mind. I thought of how I could do it. I could crash head onto another vehicle, but then that would hurt a stranger, and although in that moment I hated myself, I did not want to hurt others with my decision. I could drive into that brick wall ahead of me, but then what if there were people behind it, who would be hurt again because of me? I started to cry again and continued driving to my friends home, again feeling helpless and completely hopeless.
I was trapped in my own head, which had been turned into a cage, a hell, that I couldn't escape. I was nearing my late twenties, and I thought of my future. Is this all there is to life? Living a little and then crashing again, over and over, until one day I cant take it anymore?
It was 2017, and I was already on my 3rd mental breakdown that year. My third brush with suicide, again.
I had tried "everything". Self medicating, exercise, positive thinking, self help books, finding loving friends, meditation, in my mind I had done all that I could.
But it was then, after that car ride, that I decided that I couldn't handle this alone anymore.
on ___ I made an appointment with my doctor, and told her about my plan to kill myself. After that, I was admitted into the Bellin Psychiatric Center here in Green Bay, where I stayed for a little over a week.
It was within those walls of that Center, where everything changed.
It's funny. The counselors and staff in that center can tell when you're lying. Everyday, about twice a day they would sit down with you privately and asked if you had any thoughts of suicide, etc. You can't lie to them. If you do, they just sit there and stare at you silently, waiting for you to fuss up.
Because of this, I was forced to be honest with them and then in turn with myself. I talked about thoughts I had that I had never really admitted to myself let alone others. And it was hard. It forced me to really confront myself, and what my mental illness was doing to me. It forced me to really look at myself and my life.
If this all there was to life, then I didn't want it anymore. I was so consumed by my severe depression and dissociative thoughts that I couldn't see anything else. The thing is, when youre buried so deep inside the illness, you cant see anything else. You cant see a tomorrow, you cant see hope. All you see touch and taste is the torment. You need help. I needed help.
And I got it.
Inside Bellin, I recieved the diagnosis: Borderline Personality Disorder.
I had heard of this term before. But, I never thought it applied to me. It seemed too severe, too extreme, and I was a good person. I was a good child, I had lots of friends, my coworkers loved me, I even had best friends from childhood. How in the heck could I have BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder)?
That's because it mainly showed up in my dating life, or with anyone who got really close to me emotionally. It didn't apply to all aspects of my life, and thats why it was sneaky. I was able to pass as "normal" in most aspects of my life, but when it come to intimacy and getting emotionally vulnerable with someone, it's like my mind went on alert. I was so incredibly terrified of rejection and betrayal (which was directly tied to my childhood trauma) that those fears would hijack my brain and relationships. I was so scared of the past repeating itself. Of someone I loved and trusted dearly, hurting me.
After I got diagnosed, everything changed. Everything started to make sense and fall into place. I started to learn words for what I was feeling. I started to learn what this meant and what that meant. I started to meet other people who dealt with the same struggles. And I got prescribed medication that helped alleviate some of my symptoms (there is no medication for someone with BPD. It's treatment is mainly CPT or DBT therapy and anti-depressants).
And on Aug 22, 2019, I met Mac. On __22, he asked me to marry him.
I still have Borderline Personality Disorder. I still sometimes freak out and fear that Mac is going to hurt me or betray me. But the difference now is that I am capable of taking a step back in these moments, and realize when it is my mental illness talking and not me. And I am open and honest with my partner Mac, and we talk all the time about my illness and how to handle it. He is patient and loving and understanding. He knows when to give me the space I need, and he knows what to say to reassure me that no, he is not going to hurt me.
5% of every purchase goes directly to N.A.M.I. Brown county - a local charity that helps those struggling with mental illness. Mental illness can affect anyone regardless of race, age, or identity. As someone who unfortunately struggles myself with it and has sought and benefited immensely from the correct treatment, I want to pass this onto others. The stigma against mental illness is REAL. Truth is, 1 in 5 Americans experience mental illness. It is prevalent, it is hard, and it is heavily stigmatized. Coming from a culture, where this topic was not talked about, I have made it my personal mission to talk openly about it. I believe that by shedding light on our demons, we can expell them from the dark corners of our mind. Join me in talking out loud about mental health and donating to your local N.A.M.I. chapter.