“I want to die but I’m afraid to. I want to live but it hurts.”

“Sometimes you can do more damage by giving unsolicited advice.”

“I often really need somebody, but I’m scared to say anything because I’ve been invalidated or people will think I’m too “dramatic” or “sensitive.” Sometimes when I do muster up the courage to say something, it’s a cry for help that goes unheard.”

“I’m not asking anyone to take care of me, walk on egg shells or make themselves available 24/7 just to talk. The last thing I want to do is upset or inconvenience anybody in any way. I am not asking for anyone’s sympathy, likes or shares.”

“We don’t all fit into little boxes that certain medications cure. Mental illness is messy, it’s frustrating and often feels like a losing battle.”

What It Feels Like to Lose the Will to Live

Awareness of mental illness on general is also important because I was very clearly struggling when I was a kid but I didn’t know. I didn’t have a clue what anxiety was and only knew depression from the glamourized way the media portrayed it. Whenever I tried to express my feelings, I was simply invalidated by my family. When I had unexplained physical symptoms, no one ever thought to consider anxiety. Instead I was left in agonizing pain for years without an explanation as to why. One doctor even had the nerve to tell my dad that it was all in my head. Looking back now, it was so incredibly obvious I had anxiety, but years of being invalidated let me unable to feel safe expressing my feelings and convincing myself that I was just being overdramatic or I sucked at handling life. I didn’t know that I was struggling with legitimate medical conditions that could be treated. I didn’t know I didn’t have to live like that.

What We Can’t Forget to Talk About When We Spread Suicide Awareness

Most people would never know that I’ve been suicidal, simply by looking at me. If there was anyone in my life who had consistently seen me every day for the past 5 years, they might see a slight difference in my overall mood from day to day, but I tend to keep my true feelings bottled up inside and no one ever sees them. Based on what I’ve learned of Chester Bennington, I suspect he was very much the same. I think this photo his wife posted on Twitter recently is proof that it’s not always obvious that someone is suicidal.

Look at that smile. He was with his family, and very clearly happy in that moment. I often find it very easy to be present in the moment, although, to be honest, it’s been a lot more difficult in the past 15 months. But usually, it comes very naturally, for me to smile and joke around and genuinely enjoy the moment. It’s once I’m alone that things go bad.

It’s still surprising, even to me, that this guy with this happy smile, took his life only a few days after that photo was taken.

Chester’s suicide has been weighing very heavy on my heart since I heard on Thursday evening. I haven’t been able to go more than 10 minutes without his pain popping into my thoughts. This letter from the band makes it even more difficult to comprehend because he seemed to be in a good place leading up to this.

Linkin Park is one of my favourite bands, and Chester had one of the most incredible voices out there. I’ve always felt a deep connection to their lyrics and I learned recently that Chester’s depression effected him in a very similar way mine effects me. The most dangerous place to be is inside our own heads. Having been very suicidal just a few days before this happened (moreso than my normal passive suicidal thoughts) I can’t help but wonder if that’s what ultimately took his life, being stuck in his own mind for too long during a time that was very difficult but he never expressed it outwardly. When I’m really struggling, I know I don’t show it. I don’t intentionally try to hide it, it’s just a natural defense mechanism, combined with growing up being taught to keep my feelings to myself.

Linkin Park’s original Instagram post…
My repost…

Video: Chester Bennington's cry for HELP! Linkin Park | Waking Up Dad

Today was hard.

I struggled to keep myself from crying at work. I couldn’t think. I don’t feel like I accomplished anything. Course, that’s how I’ve been feeling nearly every day for the past several months. Today was particularly difficult. We had a developer meeting, going over details of a new feature of our software, and I had a very hard time sitting still (course my ADHD doesn’t help, but when my depression is also bad, nothing helps) and I found myself trying to catch up several times because I zoned out and then suddenly something specific was being discussed and I missed the beginning and felt lost.

I had a follow-up (which is basically the only kind of appointment I ever have because my depression is not going away) with my doctor this morning. I had a hard time telling him how I was feeling. I don’t think the depth of my depression right now came across properly. It never does. Course I did finally tell him, not at my last appointment, but the one before, that I’m not good at saying how bad it really is. He remembered last time because he did bring it up. I’m not sure if he thought of that this time though. I didn’t tell him everything that was going on. I always chicken out or can’t find the right words. That’s a whole other story that I need to properly write about, but I can’t seem to concentrate long enough to actually do it.

I just watched this video and I started crying all over again. I related to this so much. I’ve always felt like I’m worse when I’m alone. I am not nice to myself. When I am around other people, it’s pretty easy for me to be present, in the moment, most of the time (when things are particularly bad, like right now, it’s not so easy at all) but then when I’m alone, it’s like the entire world is crashing down on me. He describes it so well.

Side note: I’m not sure why the uploader of this video titled it as being a cry for help, because that’s not at all how it comes across. It simply sounds, to me anyway, like he’s describing his depression. Either way, it’s a good video.

💔

Whenever I hear of someone, who I am a fan, of dying, it’s always difficult to process. Whenever I hear about someone dying by suicide, whether I’m a fan of them or not, it always hits me in a different way. When I hear about someone who I am a fan of dying by suicide, it’s that much harder to process, especially when I am currently experiencing suicidal thoughts myself.

I experience passive suicidal thoughts almost daily, but this past week. There has only been a few times in my life when I have experienced more severe thoughts where I was actually afraid that I might actually do something. One of those times was less than a week ago.

Earlier this evening, while watching (more listening to) eTalk, I heard about the death of Chester Bennington of Linkin Park by suicide. Initially, I was in shock, and didn’t know what to think. Then I started crying. I cried for about 10 minutes straight. By the time I stopped, I wasn’t even sure why I was crying. It didn’t feel like I was actually crying for any reason. Given that recent changes in meds have been messing with my mood, it wasn’t all that strange, but after crying every days for more than a week, and then suddenly going two and ha half straight days without crying, it felt weird.

A lot of Linkin Park’s music has gotten me through some particularly difficult times in my life, so to hear this  news was hard. I didn’t know a lot of Chester’s history, so the stuff they mentioned on eTalk I hadn’t known before. It made me feel for him even more. I haven’t had any serious trauma or a what you’d see as a hard life. I’m one of those people who you’d probably say has no reason to be depressed. Yet, I am. I have been for a very long time. I’m also very empathetic. I don’t know why, but it’s very easy for me to imagine how others feel, even when they’re going through something I cannot directly relate to. So, hearing all these other struggles he’s gone through made that pain even worse.

Having been so close to that point myself, it is incredibly difficult for me to hear that someone, especially someone I feel sort of a connection to, has been overtaken by those thoughts. I begin to imagine what it must be like, which isn’t that much of a stretch for me. I think the only reason I haven’t given in to the the thoughts, in the more recent times, have been fear and the lack of means. In the past, the thought of what would happen to my dog without me has prevented me from getting that close to the edge. More recently though, that has not been enough. The fear causes me not to reach out for help when I really need it. Combine that with the lack of means, it leaves me suffering alone, feeling as if there is no end in sight.

I had forgotten until the day after my most recent bout of these more serious suicidal thoughts, but when I was in a slightly better place a month or so ago, I actually did some research on a local hospital’s mental health services so that I would feel like it would be okay if I did get to that point again and so I would be safe about the idea of taking my self to the emergency room if I ever needed to. Problem was, when I did reach that point where I should have gone to the hospital, I was so terrified that they would send me away because I wasn’t sick enough and on top of that I didn’t want to admit to my family how horribly I was struggling at that exact moment. It didn’t hit me until the next day when I was feeling weirdly better (which really freaked me out, but that’s a whole other story) that I had done that research intentionally because I thought it would help me. But when I got to that point, I couldn’t think about that. All I could think about was how much I wanted, not to die, but to cease existing, and that I had absolutely no one I felt safe talking to about it.

While I am glad I didn’t give in to the thoughts, I’m still finding it difficult to admit that I’m having such a hard time, even though right now, at the moment I am writing this, I’m okay. I’m not great. Not good. I’m not sure I’m even okay, but I don’t have a better word for it. I’m just not in the horrible place I was just a few days ago. I survived the week I had to wait for my follow up with my doctor (tomorrow morning), and at the start of the week, I didn’t think I would. So… I don’t really feel like that’s an accomplishment, but I think it should.

Anyway, I guess I just needed to get some thoughts out of my head and I don’t have a person I feel like I can safely share them with, but for some strange reason, I can share them with the internet. I don’t necessarily feel safe about it, but its easier than talking to real people…

Until next time…?


Edit: I realized after posting this that I didn’t actually know a whole lot about the band members. I really just like their music a lot but never spent much time reading about the people behind it. It’s actually weird because I usually do read a lot/watch a lot of interviews and stuff about my favourite bands and musicians, but there are a few who I just never research and Linkin Park is one of them.

I made the mistake of watching several videos on YouTube (there’s a lot of stuff up from today alone) and I ended up lying in bed sobbing and I finally had to turn of my tablet just so I could stop. Plus, it’s after 12:30 now and I should be sleeping.

Anyway, I just wanted to make a point of saying that I think it’s really amazing that they are one of the few bands out there who are not all cliche musicians who are on drugs and whatnot. I know Chester has had issues with addiction in the past but I does not sound like that had as much to do with his death as you’d expect. Although, it’s to early too say that for sure right now.

It sounds like he was hit pretty hard by the death of Chris Cornell a couple months ago and today would have been his birthday. I can’t help but wonder if that had anything to do with Chester’s death. Others have mentioned this as well.

Okay, that’s all for now. I just wanted to add that thought to this post. I’m going to go try and sleep now, listening to Linkin Park on my phone. 💙


Edit – Friday @ 2:40pm: I posted some more thoughts on Instagram this afternoon. I don’t know if this will show since my account is private. If it doesn’t, I’ll copy the content over later when I get home from work. I just wanted to post the link now.

I was completely heart broken yesterday when I heard about Chester Bennington's death. Not only because he had an incredible voice and Linkin Park is one of my favorite bands, but because of how he died. Having been so close to suicide multiple times myself, it hurts a little any time I hear of someone dying by suicide. When it's someone I feel connected to, whether they're a musician I like or some other celebrity I'm a fan of it's hard to process. There's something about music though that connects you to a person on a deeper level though when you relate to the music. Linkin Park's music has been there for me through a lot of difficult times in my life, including my more recent ones. I'm one of those people who can't listen to happy music when I'm down because it makes me feel worse. I have to listen to music that matches how I feel. It makes me feel validated and less alone, something I don't often get from the people in my life. I've been listening to Linkin Park exclusively, non-stop since last night because I just can't listen to anything else right now. I've been struggling a lot this week. Especially early in the week. This news yesterday made it worse. I'm trying to stay away from too much news about this right now because of the negativity and stigma towards suicide. I saw a few people saying horrible things about it and some simply ignorant things about suicide in general. While I know those people simply don't understand what it's like to be suicidal, hearing/reading those negative opinions can make my already horrible mood even worse. Because I'm struggling with this specific topic myself right now, I just can't allow myself to let it get worse, so I have to stay away from it. But I just wanted to post something here about it because this news has been very present in my mind all day today.

A post shared by //keira (@keirahenricks) on

Around the time I kind of, unintentionally, stopped posting on here, this happened, and it hit me really hard. A lot harder than I expected.

What We’re Reminded of After Amy Bleuel’s Passing

Why Amy Bleuel’s Death Does Not Invalidate Her Message

When I first heard about Amy’s passing, wasn’t able to find the right words to express how I feel about it. I still haven’t. I probably never will.

I’m still in the middle of my own battle. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve wanted to give up. I’ve lost count of how many times I came right up to the edge. The fact I’m still here is not a feat of strength, by any means. In all honesty, fear is the only thing that has prevented me from stepping off the edge and completely giving up on life. Fear is the reason I’m still here. Fear of failure. Fear of missing out of the things I used to dream about. Problem is, the longer I keep going, the further away those dreams seem to be, they feel less achievable than they used to be.

The fact that Amy wasn’t able to hold on, especially after all the work she’s done for the mental health community is absolutely heart breaking, especially as someone who has come so close myself. To be honest, I’m still having a difficult time even comprehending it, even though I didn’t know her. It certainly doesn’t invalidate her message. It’s more a reminder of the fact that this stuff, this pain, the struggle, it doesn’t just go away. Even when someone looks fine on the outside, it doesn’t mean they are.

Even though we may be mental health activists, even though we put our stories out there hoping to inspire other, even though we are comforted by being a part of a community where we share common struggles, we are still battling.

I don’t want to to be here.

I want it to end.

I don’t want to kill myself. I don’t really want to die. I just don’t want to exist.

I’m so sick of feeling like shit all the time. I hate feeling like a failure at life, like I’ve never accomplished anything.

Whenever I feel like I’m making progress, something happens that sets me back and feels like the world is crashing down around me.

Continue reading

I know I’m going to feel really guilty if I let #BellLetsTalk day go by without actually talking about my current state of mental health.

Last year, I had no problem being open about my experiences and where I was at because, this time last year, I was feeling pretty okay. I wasn’t great. I’m not really even sure what great feels like. Although, in comparison to whew I am now, I was pretty close to good, of not great.

That’s kind of a errors way to say it I guess, but this time last year, I was writing lots about how I watched feeling and it came pretty easily. Right now, in this particular moment, it is not easy. Not even a little bit.

Back in about May or June of 2016, something changed. It happened so gradually though that I didn’t realize it was happening until sometime in July. I kept thinking, oh, its just one of those down periods they always say happens, even after you’ve been on antidepressants for a whole. It’ll pass. I’d had days where that was totally the case and it always did pass. But this time it didn’t.

This time, there was no trigger. This time, nothing I did could bring me joy. This time, I find myself not having emotional reactions to anything. This time, I was legitimately scared that I really might try to kill myself because I didn’t feel like there was anything to live for. I was a failure at everything I touched. I began driving recklessly because I literally didn’t give a shit about my life anymore, and I secretly hoped singing bad would happen, but I couldn’t bring myself to cause it intentionally.

The peak hit in September, the night before World Suicide Prevention Day. I began actually believing there was no way out and I need to go to the hospital. But I still had trouble admitting it to myself, let alone to anyone else, to asking my parents took take care of my dog so I could check in to treatment somewhere was out of the question.

Thankfully I trust my doctor enough that I tried to get in to see him right away. I had to wait because he was on vacation. That was probably the first two weeks of my life, doing to get in to work and stay focused and pretend like nothing was wrong.

A few months and several medication changes later, I am feeling a lot better, but still not where I was this time last year. I’m still finding my emotions are very numbed out, but some of the things that normally bring me joy are beginning to feel good again. Not every day, but most days. Yesterday actually happened to be a pretty decent day. But today I feel like shit again. I’m not suicidal like I was s few months ago, but I still find myself wishing, sometimes, that I could just die so I wouldn’t have to deal with this anymore, but I’m thinking significantly less often about different ways to kill myself. So there’s that.

I still feel hopeless most days but not too the extreme that I had been.

My doctor and I are currently exploring the idea that I might had Attention Deficit Disorder. We bit 190% sure yet, but I’ve been taking s stimulant for over a week now and have experienced significant improvement in my choice function and my ability to stay focused at work. Only problem is, he started me of on a low dose, short acting drug that wears off after 5 hours. But if it helps, he’ll give me a longer lasting one.

Anyway, I’m literally falling asleep on my phone right now and sooner or later there’s going to be a bunch of randon characters across the screen and I don’t think I want that since this post is probably already horribly written because I’m struggling so hard to form my thoughts into different sentences, on top of dosing of every few seconds.

Maybe I’ll add to and edit this post later when I’m more awake. I guess that’s all for now.

Depression Kills, by B.L. Acker, Contributor, The Mighty

People are struggling through life, feeling completely lost and alone, feeling like they have nobody to turn to, no one who understands. People are struggling in silence because we’ve made them too afraid to speak up. They’re afraid of being labeled or seen as weak, a danger to themselves or others or as a joke. We’ve told them too often to suck it up and reminded them that others have it worse rather than acknowledging and addressing their pain.

Silence kills.

We need to stop treating mental illness like a dirty secret that we can’t talk about. Depression is killing people. Silence is killing people.

Language is powerful.

How Language Impacts The Stigma Against Mental Health (And What We Must Do To Change It)

I’m surprised by how well this article was written, because I had just read one, right before reading this, on the same site (in fact this one was in the recommended section at the end of the other one) that was absolutely terrible.

This one caught my attention though because it’s something I’ve been struggling with lately. Not so much saying the things mentioned — I think I’ve done pretty good at eliminating them from my vocabulary over the passed couple years — but hearing others say them and having an anxiety attack because I want so badly to correct them, but my social anxiety gets the best of me, every time. It’s so frustrating.

I’ve had people say things to me, in the most casual way, about killing themselves, or wanting to die, because something isn’t going their way. While I understand the frustration behind the comment, it hurts every time I hear it because I have been suicidal. In fact, one particular time these comments were made during a time when I actually was suicidal. It hurt so bad that someone who had never struggled a day in their life with mental illness would say that they wanted to kill themselves over a client who was being super annoying. I was annoyed by the client too, but it had absolutely nothing to do with why I was suicidal at the time, and the person who said it, was most definitely not suicidal. That was not the only time that happened with the same person, but my anxiety and depression diagnosis was still very fresh and I hadn’t come out about it yet.

I’m the past few months alone, I’ve heard the people say, “I have, like, OCD,” referring to a pile of boxes in our office and wanting to organize them. Twice. Because of the way it was said both times, I’m not 100% convinced that this person was just saying it. It is possible they do legitimately have OCD, but I’m not entirely sure. It is probably unlikely though, because the boxes are still there any the only time clearing them up is mentioned by that same person is when someone is asking about the boxes.

Both times, it was not said directly to me, I just happened to be right there, so it didn’t feel appropriate to say anything, but the first time, it was bring said to someone who has previously used the phrase, “you’re OCD,” referring to someone’s pickiness about something specific.

If my social anxiety wasn’t so bad I probably would say something, but I am so terrified of coming off as bitchy that I end up bringing myself almost to tears every time this happens. The logical part of my brain keeps telling me that I’ve only ever been called a bitch once, by someone with their own attitude problems (she called the cops on one of my friends, twice, for the dumbest reasons, the cop actually thought she was a teenager, and was shocked when my friend told him she was 27) and didn’t even have the guts to say it to my face. In fact, I was in a different province at the time, over 3000km away. But no matter how many times I remind myself of that fact, I still think on going to be called a bitch.

Another one that happened recently, was a co-worker said to me, “I’m getting PTSD,” referring to some poorly written code we were trying to debug. I was already stressed out to begin with, and when I saw that (it was in a chat message) I started to panic. I went back and forth in my head about what I could say and whether or not to bother. As soon as I stated to tear up, I knew I had to stop. I minimized the window and tried to calm myself down and distract myself with something else, which was hard because I didn’t have anything unrelated to work on at the time.

So, again, I didn’t say anything. It got me thinking though, maybe I need to be the one to start talking about this stuff in the office. I can’t do it by bringing it up to everyone, and I certainly don’t want to single anyone out (because I know it would make me uncomfortable) for saying these things, but how will anyone learn how harmful these seemingly innocent phrase are of no one tells them.

Because I’m also struggling a lot with my depression right now, it makes it even harder to bring this stuff up, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do yet. For now, I’m sticking to spreading awareness online.


October 2-8, 2016 is Mental Illness Awareness WeekSpreading Awareness, Reducing Stigma.

I didn’t realize the stats on this, but it kind of makes sense. Men are taught that feelings make you weak, or “girly” and you have to be macho. So it’s no wonder that people are more shocked when men attempt or commit suicide, because they think they can’t talk about it.

Being a woman with depression, it’s hard enough talking about it simply because of the stigma of depression alone, without the added pressure of gender expectations. But what’s even worse, is the stigma from the people closest to me.

Even though I’m a girl, I grew up thinking that my feelings were wrong and felt invalidated by the people who were supposed to love, protect, and support me. This led to me bottling everything up and not expressing my feelings and is the main reason I was not diagnosed until I was 26, when I easily could have been diagnosed with depression by the time I was 14, and anxiety by 6 or 7.

My counsellor has told me multiple time that I’m very good at hiding it. It’s not that I’m intentionally trying to hide it, I’ve just been doing it for so long that I do it without even thinking. I may appear functional on the outside, while inside I looking for ways to give up and escape.

Even the people closest to me often don’t see when I’m at my worst. If they do, they may not realize what they’re really seeing, because it often comes out as agitation and irritability. It’s often combined with my anxiety as well. The two definitely feed off each other, but as my doctor pointed out a couple weeks ago, one always seems to be more prominent than the other.

Over the past two years, my anxiety was quite severe, and my depression was more of a byproduct of my anxiety. Once I started CBT for my anxiety, it got better. Once the things going on in my life (mostly with work) improved, so did my anxiety. Because I still hadn’t found the right antidepressant for me, my depression symptoms started to become quite severe a few months ago, which is why I’ve now started my 4th antidepressant.

The biggest, and hardest part about my depression at the moment, is that it was not triggered by anything specific. Work is going really well. In general, my anxiety is basically under control. Or more accurately, I’m able to process through it better than I used to. It’s definitely not gone, but I’ve gotten better at listening to the logical part of my brain. Yet for some reason, I couldn’t stop feeling unhappy, hopeless, and worthless, and thinking about suicide. Did I tell anyone? Of course not. I don’t feel safe telling anyone except my doctor. So, I finally did.

But no one seemed to notice how down I was. I was struggling to concentrate at work, and really wanted to call in sick on several occasions. The only reason I didn’t, is because what scared me more than calling in sick to work was answering to my parents as to why I was staying home. I didn’t want to tell them I was feeling suicidal. So I kept going to work.

I’ve been on my new antidepressant for 3 weeks now. I am starting to notice some smaller mood changes. I saw my counsellor yesterday, and he said I seemed happier than the last time I saw him, two weeks ago. I told him I didn’t want to get my hopes up though because I’ve had had several that seemed to work for a bit, and then they stopped. It’s too soon still. So we’ll see.

But anyway, back to the initial topic here. As hard as it is, we do need to talk about this stuff. That’s why I started this blog.