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Living with #NoShame: My Story

When I was 20...I tried to commit suicide.

It was exactly 3 months before my 21st birthday. I should have been excited to turn 21. But...I wasn't. My life was an absolute wreck. I was taking a full load of classes. I was trying joining a sorority, which presented its own set of drama and mayhem, and on top of that, I had a boyfriend who was a master manipulator. I wouldn't say he was "abusive" in that sense of the word...but what I will say was nothing I did was ever good enough, I never spent enough time with him, and I never seemed to please him  I hated being where I was in life. I played the same CD's over and over. I read too much Sylvia Plath. My weight, a constant struggle, went up and down because of binge eating or not eating at all. My mother and I, despite our good relationship, were fighting much more often because I could not stand what I was seeing at home between her and my Father. And although she was right, I chose to ignore her advice. I felt I didn't belong anywhere: not in college, not in my sorority, not in my family, not in my relationship...

I had to escape.

On December 28th, 2000 I took lots of  asprin, and just waited, then I started to convulse and vomit. My mother called my brother..and we went to the hospital. They pumped my stomach with charcoal.  I cried and cried.  They kept me on a 72 hr hold.

My mother was a panic. My brother cried. My father was angry, more concerned, as usual with the cost of this hospital visit than how I was. The boyfriend at the time came to see me and was more concerned about himself than my health. I was in a room with a lady who apparently heard voices. I didn't eat anything. And the medicine they gave me (I learned after the fact was Prozac), made me feel sicker.

 At the time, I refused to go see a therapist. I refused to take medicine. I just refused anything.....and a few weeks later..I was back in class..as if nothing had happened. Instead of being depressed, I threw myself into everything I could. And no one knew anything. Eventually, those suicidal feelings subsided and I coasted through college, graduate school, and eventually life as an "adult" relatively unburdened by that trampling feeling of sadness.


Or so I thought....

Fast forward to early 2008, and with the compounding pressures of a divorce, finding out my husband had been unfaithful numerous times, finances and weight ballooning, and threatening to lose it all, I contemplated taking that route again.. I felt alone. I felt lost. I had pills. I had alcohol. I had access to fire arms. I knew it was bad when I thought about jumping in front of a train platform one morning heading to work. But the turning point was when I sat in a bathtub, fully clothed, drinking red wine from the bottle, water running, hoping I would get so drunk I'd drown. Luckily, my then husband caught me.. At the time I cursed him out, but that is when I knew I had to get help. I sought a counselor....that helped me with these issues, prescribed me a small level anti-depressants, and helped me form the courage to seek healthier alternatives than committing suicide. I was diagnosed with episodic depression and although I knew the difference between "chronic" and episodic, I knew having a name for it made me feel a lot better.I was able to pinpoint this via therapy, that I had experience episodic depression throughout the years, beginning in my early teens. I just thought I had "sadness", not depression.. I told my husband at the time they put me on a small dose of anti-depressants. And he frowned. He was mr psuedo-holistic-black-nationalist-fake-Rasta dude. When we got into an argument once, he said, "You're the crazy one! You're the one on the pills".... 


When he said that, I knew the end was near.


Getting my depression under control, I believe, gave me the courage to leave a dead marriage, to start my life over, and to embraces a new me. I'd rather be sane and whole and medicated...than dead metaphorically.

I say all this to say that mental issues are nothing to be ashamed of, especially in the African-American community. People kept telling me to "pray" or that "it will get better" or to just "buy myself something nice" or even "just get a new man". But all the money, prayer, clothes and men couldn't resolve what I knew was fundamentally wrong with me: I was sad. I was not well. I needed help beyond material or even metaphysical. I encourage counseling. I seek it from time to time when I know the road is rocky.I would encourage anyone to get help .

At first...I said I would never speak about this...But today I tell my story. Today is National No Shame day...and I live to tell.........

I want to thank poet/writer/all around dope Bassey Ikpi,the Siwe Project and the #NoShame Twitter campaign for giving me the courage to help someone with this post.

Be encouraged...life is worth and FOR living :)

#BlissMovement2012

Please visit The Siwe Project’s website to share your story  or read the stories of others who have experience mental health issues.  You can also tweet The Siwe Project at @thesiweproject on twitter with the hashtag #NoShame.

Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. So many people don't understand. They think that hiding makes it better. I'm inspired to share my story because of yours.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my!! This is very heart touching! I appreciate you for sharing your story Tati. Talking about it is so therapeutic for you and your readers! You will save a million lifes with this blog. I admire you so much for your strength!

    Love Ya

    ReplyDelete
  3. "I knew having a name for it made me feel a lot better." I could relate to this so much. Thank you for sharing this. What you did was incredibly brave, and I'm sure someone else sees themselves in this.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for sharing your story.

    I was there earlier this year and NEVER thought I would be on this journey ever in life. Depression is real and could not pray my way out this time I had never felt so low or alone. I was always encouraging those who needed help to get help Christian or not but it was very hard for me to take my own advice. Finally, I reached out for help earlier this yr and see a therapist once a week and I am doing much better but still not 100% yet but pressing on all the same. I was depressed due to feeling like a failure due to not being where I thought I would be in life by a certain age and I hate my job(yes I know how dare I say such in this economy). So I was just over life or so I thought and I wanted the pain to end. You never know where life will take you on this journey.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's so brave of you to post this. In our community there's so much stigma/share around this issue, but it's far more common than folks know. This is reason #1,203 why i love your blog. Total candor and realness.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thank you for posting this! I admire your bravery and honesty.

    ReplyDelete

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