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I get by with a little help from my friends

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

A text I recently sent to my best friend stated: “I’m having the type of panic attack that involves heart pain, do you think I can take an extra (anti-anxiety pill)?”

I am almost forty years old…how has my life come to this?! How did I get to the point that I have to ask my mom or best friend if I’m allowed to take a pill that I know will help me and that I know is not above the maximum dose I have been on in the past?

I think I lost everybody’s trust one of the last times that I attempted suicide. I had admitted to my best friend that I was in trouble and she asked me if I was safe to drive myself to the hospital because she was pretty far away. I agreed that I could do it, but I wasn’t being totally honest, and I brought a knife along with me. At some point I pulled my car over on the side of the road and slit my wrist really deeply. Fortunately, I panicked and called 911 and then my friend, who met me at the hospital. But it was a time that I said I was fine when I really wasn’t, and I lost a lot of trust from my support team for when I am in a deep depression, and I lost a great deal of my support team’s trust. (By the way, I was obviously okay. Got some stitches and have a scar to never forget, but the hospital saved my life).

Now I have a little easier time dealing with suicidal feelings because I can separate whether they are due to extreme depression or if they are ego dystonic – thoughts from my OCD that don’t really align with how I’m feeling, they’re just repetitive in my head. Depression thoughts are linked to a plan and an intent, while OCD thoughts are just like voices – often I think God is telling me to do it, which obviously does not align with His character. Because I have learned to separate these out we know how to help me better and I don’t end up in the hospital as often.

It took a lot of work to build up my trust again. I go to support groups and counselors and a psychiatrist, I have participated in Clubhouse and I have read self-help books up the whazoo.

The biggest change that happened was my doctor taught me that going to the hospital is not a failure. I have a chronic illness and we have different ways to treat it. One of them is sending me to the hospital, but that’s all it is, a form of treatment. I’m also learning to see past today. Often, if I have a bad day I feel like I have to die because it will never get better, but I am learning to see the bigger picture and understanding that it was just a bad day.

One of the greatest skills that I have developed is having a purpose – I can’t give up, I have to keep fighting. Writing has made such a difference in my treatment. It helps me to calm my nerves, get out some of the tough things I am wrestling with, and hopefully help others as well. I have learned to not feel embarrassed, but to feel grateful, because this illness made me who I am and opened many opportunities that I never would have had otherwise.

So sometimes it’s discouraging that I’m almost forty and I have to ask if I can take another pill. But I understand that everyone on my team loves me and they just want me to be safe. If you ever need help, or feel restricted by someone who loves you, don’t get frustrated. Be thankful that somebody loves you enough to keep you safe. I know I am.

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