I have had major depressive disorder (MDD) for the majority of my life. I am now on the verge of 38, married for over a dozen years, two awesome kids, been hospitalized for my depression and have attempted to take my own life. I thought that after my attempt I would have a revitalized spirit for life and being alive, but that wasn’t the case. I thought I would gain some sense of purpose or have some wild existential beliefs… but alas, here I am — still depressed. Even though I didn’t lose my life, I still lost numerous things as a result of my attempt.
1. I lost the trust of my family.
I can no longer have a bad day without getting a leering eye that there is something more to it. They don’t trust me with medication. They don’t trust me to be alone for extended amounts of time. They don’t trust me when I tell them I am going to be OK. They don’t trust me when I say, “I won’t do it again.” I have lost their trust.
2. I lost faith in myself.
I never thought I would go to that extreme. I always thought I was “stronger” than that. Suicide has always been a solution in my mind but it was a line I never thought I would cross. I always thought I had enough coping skills to manage it on my own. I thought they were just intrusive thoughts I would never act on. I feel, in a sense, I let myself down. I don’t trust myself anymore, now.
3. I lost time.
When you attempt to take your life and you survive, life doesn’t just go on when you wake up. There is a lot of work on the backend of an attempt. Time, in essence, freezes for you and you try and determine how you got there. You take time to develop how you are going to move forward. The world continues to spin. But now things are different for me and I need to rearrange accordingly. I lost precious time with my kids. I missed shopping for kindergarten supplies with my son for his first day of school because I was in treatment. I missed important family time when my aunt passed away because I was trying to put the pieces back together. I missed mornings with my family. I missed meetings at work because I was at doctor appointments. Some are more mundane and some are important, but there still is time I lost and I will never get back.
4. I lost friends.
Everyone appears to try and be supportive, and for that, I am very grateful. However, and understandably so, it was too much for some people to digest and accept. While some were concerned and leaning in to help and be there for me, others were walking away. I don’t know how they perceive me now and I wish I could tell them I am still me, but I can’t expect everyone to understand. They have since moved on, but I still think about them.
5. I lost perspective.
I used to have a good idea of what was important in life and have priorities and perspective. All of that has changed. I used to prioritize family, work, music, my dogs and so on. Now… I don’t know what is important. The focus is day-to-day. None of the big stuff carries the same weight as it used to. Work has become a necessary evil, and I struggle to find motivation and energy to put any considerable effort into it. Family has become a repetitive chore; I mindlessly go through the motions to get the kids off to school and in bed. My dogs have been neglected; I don’t remember the last time they got a good walk out of me. Every day, I have imagined how what I am currently doing would be different had I completed suicide. How would things be different? Life feels like a blur and I don’t know how to get back to life before.
I am grateful my attempt was not successful. I truly did gain an appreciation for the little things in life and I can honestly say I am happy to be here. I hope to never be in that dark place again. Since my attempt, I have been seeing a therapist twice a month, my psychiatrist monthly and attending a support group every week; this keeps me focused on my recovery and my own mental wellness.
I may have lost a lot from my attempt, but I didn’t lose what was most important.
*Originally posted on Moving Away From Darkness.