Coming up for air

It needs to be said, I have not coped fantastically well the last week or two. While the array of stressors I am experiencing are neither extraordinary nor extreme, collectively they dragged me into a precarious position.

I’m trying to decide if I’ve completely reverted to poor coping strategies, or if the improvements in my overall mental health allow me to regress without completely collapsing. I have an incessant need to analyse and work out if I’m “getting better” or “getting worse”.

During the last week I had a rapid escalation in suicidal ideation. As each day became more exhausting than the last, the desire to succumb to eternal sedation was overwhelming. I sobbed my little heart out in a manner I can’t recall doing for a long, long time. I could have reached out to any one at any moment in time, but when I desperately yearn death, the last thing I can do is tell anybody. Telling means acquiescing to living and I have to be ready for that. But more significantly, telling someone means burdening them once again with sadness and worry.

I carried the burgeoning grief, the yearning, and the sense of hopelessness for a week. I took medications well in excess of prescribed doses, but hopefully not in overdose. And each day I felt worse. Friday afternoon I made the decision to contact my psychologist with a hypothetical question.

Out of curiosity… If I was really struggling with myself and feeling precariously unsafe, what would you recommend I do?

And that one simple act was enough to turn the decline around. Somebody knew. Somebody cared. Somebody told me what to do. I shared the messages with my husband so the secret wasn’t shackled to my heart, dragging me into the ground.

I am still struggling, but now the struggle is to get back up, search for air, to breathe and find freedom. Before, the struggle was to hang on another hour, sleep away the mental anguish, and to quieten the guilt and shame. Once again I’m reminded how shameful silence is. When I stay silent, I feel shame. When I speak out, I let it go.

I am still exhausted and physically unwell. I still have a house in utter disarray, unfinished travel plans, and a paralysing fear of how I can financially contribute in the future. But I’m breathing more easily, I’m ready to talk it out, and I’m prepared to hope for the future again.

I’m not quite cheery, but no longer so dreary. I’ve come up for air and I’m ready to move forward once more. I think I shall declare this, Progress.

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