A couple of days ago I wrote about the anxiety I experienced, here is the next chapter to the mental illness.
Cue, depression, the darkest and lowest place I have ever been to. The panic attacks and anxiety had gone on in such an extreme form and for so long with me feeling alone and afraid that depression was my outcome.
I felt like my soul had died, whoever I was before had left, and all that was left was a shell of who I used to be. I had died in depression before I’d stopped breathing.
The only way I could recover from this became an obsession, an obsession of taking my own life. But how would I do it? It’s going to really hurt, but truthfully, nothing felt as painful as life felt.
I tried to push the thoughts of suicide to the back of my mind, they were scary thoughts but they kept cropping up more and more. I never told anyone what I was thinking, I kept it all to myself. I wasn’t planning it, I was just going to do it. I couldn’t set a date I just knew it would all get so bad that I would do it there and then.
I had seen counsellors and doctors and no one could stop this, what would it take for me to get better.
I was out one day feeling ok-ish. The previous day had been horrendous and full of panic attacks. If I’d had a day of panic and anxiety where I was constantly having panic attacks and my anxiety was extremely high, the next day would be a day of extreme exhaustion and extreme depression. This became my cycle, this became my life. I was used to it and if I’m honest I felt the depression was more manageable, it felt better to be exhausted and extremely depressed than constantly having anxiety and panic attacks.
So, on this day of depression and exhaustion I ended up having the worst possible panic attack ever. It took me by surprise, I was sitting down to lunch at my then boyfriends house and it came on suddenly and extremely out of nowhere. In a place I’d always felt safe, a place I’d never had a panic attack before. The panic attacks and anxiety had finally encroached into my safe place.
I had to just get up and leave the house. Literally, my dinner was about to reach the table and I left making an excuse that I owed someone money and that I had to go and deal with it. I have always to this day felt guilty for walking out like that with a lie about why I left, but I was too scared to say I was having a panic attack. This panic attack was my last straw.
I got in my car and I could not hold it together, I remember crying like I’ve never cried before. I was screaming stop, stop it now. I don’t want this, I can’t do this now, I’m too tired, I’m done.
And, I was tired, I was so tired of this now, I didn’t want it anymore I'd had enough. So, I took myself home and I sat there, but I sat with what I was going to use to end my life. I was crying on my own uncontrollably, I was screaming so loud, screaming for help, but no one ever heard me. Why could no one hear me, why had my voice never been heard, why had my thoughts never been read? Why was I like this, why was this happening to me.
I wanted saving, I wanted to be free again, I wanted to be like everyone else who didn’t have to suffer with this. I wanted to be free. But my freedom, was now death.
I don’t think through words I can tell you how much pain I was in, can I truly get the desperation I felt across to you? I was desperate and I was ready to die.
The next thing I knew my eyes were opening, I was boiling hot, sweat was dripping from me. Was I dead? Had I done it? I barely moved, I looked around and felt some relief, I felt strangely peaceful. It felt good, something was different.
Finally, I moved and had a look around my body, but there was no sign of death, the room was the same but the weather had changed. I didn’t know what time I had gone home so I had no idea how long I’d been there for. There was no one around me, I was still alone.
The sun was glaring through the smallest window, just on me, bathing me in its heat. How was this possible, I was alive? It took me minutes to realise that I hadn’t killed myself as the sound of traffic became louder and my senses came back to me. Where had I been in the time I’d forgotten? There is a gap in my memory which to the day has never been filled.
I don’t know if I was happy or sad to be alive, what I did know was that I needed help and serious help and this very moment in my journey, was the time I reached out to someone beyond the normal ways of help.
I dragged myself up and got the yellow pages out (this was 14 years ago) and I found exactly who I was looking for, a recommended hypnotherapist from ages ago and I’d fortunately remembered her name.
I picked up the phone and I called her, I can’t quite remember the conversation but I felt like I screamed down the phone for help. My appointment was booked for a few days later.
It took all my power to get myself there, the doubts I had were overwhelming, even to get my body into the car was a challenge, but I somehow willed myself to that appointment. I got there and I will never forget this day because it was the first day into my freedom.
We chatted and I told her everything, and not once did she make me feel stupid or judge me. The next session the hypnotherapy began, I was worried about it because I didn’t know how it would feel but it felt beautiful, relaxing and I really connected with it.
I was given a copy of the hypnosis to listen at home and some techniques to practice. I can tell you this, I did everything I was given and I did it all the time. I would listening to the hypnosis as soon as I had a free moment. I put 100% effort into my recovery and I’m so glad I did. I actually really enjoyed doing it too, getting better was not a choir to me, it was the most beautiful feeling ever.
The feeling of waking up not feeling like dying was spectacular, I couldn't remember a day I'd woken up and couldn't believe I'd not just died in my sleep. I'd wake up feeling refreshed and balanced and that brought me so much joy.
I had several sessions and then one day it just clicked, the therapy just clicked and I felt the most amazing relief.
It was almost as though the mental illness had been lifted from around me. The cloud had been lifted, my whole body felt different what was this amazing feeling that I felt?
It was wellness, and boy did it feel amazing. I loved this lady, her name is Carole Wan and she became my hero, she saved my life.
I left this particular appointment and got into the car feeling good for the first time in so long. I started driving home and the song that came on was about to be the most wonderful song to my ears. I hadn’t heard the lyrics of a song in such a long time, all I had been hearing were the thoughts in my head. The song was by India Ari, Strength, Courage and Wisdom. My recovery song, everything India Ari said in this song meant something to me, it was almost as though she’d written it for me.
Then something happened that I hadn’t experienced in a long time, tears fell from my eyes, like a river was pouring from me, these were the most amazing tears I’d ever shed, they were tears of relief, tears of sheer joy, that at that moment in time I knew I was going to be fine I didn’t have to kill myself now and that in itself was a relief.
After that I felt well, I actually felt well and balanced and as though healing was taking place. My soul had that comforting feeling of slipping into a warm bath where your whole body just releases, relaxes and lets go.
I was finally free from the grip of mental illness, something I never thought would happen, but did.
Next blog, life after mental illness.