darkness. clawing my way to the light…

For as long as I can remember I have succumbed to the darkness of depression. I have strong recollections of being at a church camp when I was in junior high sharing with a leader that I had contemplated suicide. Where did these feelings of worthlessness come from, for I was a professing believer? Satan. The prince of darkness himself.

When I was in my early twenties I really began to fall into that darkness more than I ever had before, and it was the beginning of my journey towards the light. It would prove to be the longest journey on which I would ever find myself, the scariest, and most amazing.

I was attending junior college at the time, and without realizing what was happening I was in a place that frightened me, and I didn’t know how to get out of said place. One evening after finally getting an appointment with a counselor for the first time the dominoes began to fall, and there was no stopping them. I remember sitting in her (the counselor) office, and speaking to her about how I just couldn’t ever seem to get any sleep. I would lay awake at night and my mind would not turn off long enough for my eyes to shut, my body to go on standby, and for sleep to consume me. The next thing she suggests that I admit myself into a psychiatric hospital to get some help in sleeping, she thought I was sleep deprived. Here’s the catch…in order to be admitted into such a facility you have to proclaim that you are a danger to yourself. I had to admit that I had not only thought about suicide, but that I was actively pursing the idea of suicide. I am now in the hospital being told I can’t wear this, and I have suddenly forgone all my rights as an individual for at least the next few days until I could be evaluated by the psychiatrist on staff.

Wow. Now I’m in a room by myself. I’m alone. It’s cold. Eventually I sleep.

I wake up, and there is a strange person in my room asking me to follow them. It’s the doctor. I spend fifteen minutes with her, and I am now diagnosed with severe depression…well, duh! Take these pills. I take them. I don’t know what they are, but I swallow.

Suddenly things begin to be a haze. I’m not hungry. I don’t eat. I can’t sleep. Here’s something to help you sleep. Ambien. I hallucinate. I’m so afraid. I call the nurse. HELP! It feels like I’m screaming for help, but hardly any sound is coming out of my mouth. She says for me to just close my eyes and go to sleep. It scares me to close my eyes. She abandons me. I finally sleep for a few hours. I awaken. I’m wired!

I ask to call my mom. It’s the middle of the night. She (my mom) is at work as she is a graveyard shift nurse. They refuse to allow me to call her. I wander the halls at a swift pace. Where is all this energy coming from? Not energy..anxiety. I can’t keep still. I go back to my room. I close the door. There is a puzzle. 1500 pieces. I push two dressers together. I start putting the pieces together. One of the dressers keeps moving because it isn’t level. I fold some paper to place under one of the wobbling legs. It stays still. I put more pieces together. The sun begins to rise…and my puzzle is finished after only a few hours. I’m beginning to crash. I’m so tired, but yet I can’t sit still.

Finally it’s group time…I listen. I listen some more. I am with my family. They have come to sit in on group time. I am asked why I am in the hospital. My reply, “I’m crazy, I guess.” Not the thing to say to a room full of unstable individuals! Who are they? Some who are battling eating disorders, anorexia or bulimia. Some who are schizophrenic. Some who are bipolar I or II. Some who are abusing drugs. Some who are just depressed. Some who have already tried to kill themselves and been unsuccessful. Who are they? Who am I?

Who am I? That is a question to which I still don’t have a difinitive answer.

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