Coping skills that helped me hold on

I’ve realized that I’ve been talking about my daily life and experiences, but I tend not to elaborate on the times when I was first diagnosed.

Perhaps it’s because it still feels too soon.

It was only  15 months ago that I voluntarily went to a psych hospital and was diagnosed.

It was only a year ago that I was in the ICU on attempted suicide.

Going back to that time is actually sometimes more painful than going back to my childhood.

When I was in the hospital I sang to myself to feel protected and cared for. The way I see it, there’s two of me. Healthy Jess and depressed Jess. Healthy Jess has got it together and feels terrible for depressed Jess. She knows that depressed Jess can’t help but have suicidal thoughts and feel the pain and helplessness of the past. When depressed Jess has the wheel… Well it’s not easy to say the least. Before there was more of depressed Jess than there was healthy, so that made it a lot harder to hear her. But now I truly believe that I’m more healthy than depressed, so stopping myself in my tracks is easier now. Back then, the only thing that seemed to get me out of it was singing to myself. It was like healthy Jess was singing to me. Telling me that if I hold on a little bit longer she’d be able to take over.

To be honest, just thinking about it makes me tear up.

This trek that we’re all on is a very difficult one, my friends.

It can sometimes be the most painful when no one around you understands.

The song I chose to sing whenever I was feeling terrible is “You’ll be in my heart” by Phil Collins.

Yes I like Phil Collins.

Yes I love Tarzan.

But also when my father left our family he dedicated that song to my brother and me.

It used to make me cry because it reminded me that my father wasn’t ever really around. But then when I was diagnosed I realized that song was never about us. It was about me. It was my way of just barely making it through the storm till a stronger me could return.

It was a song that I could use to remind depressed Jessica that healthy Jessica was right around the corner. Things weren’t really as bad as my mind was telling me. That if I just hold on… It’ll be alright.

Some lyrics that are and will always be relevant to my recovery:

“For one so small, you seem so strong.”

Depression is fucking difficult. When you have depression brain you don’t really think about the consequences of death or who you leave behind, all you can think about is how horrible everything is and that suicide would make it all stop. People with this mental illness are extremely strong.

And the fact is, some people will never get that. Which brings me to my next lyric:

“Why can’t they understand the way we feel? They just don’t trust what they can’t explain.”

It’s like running a marathon with no shoes on in a blizzard and your loved ones are bundled up drinking hot cocoa telling you to get over it. It’s an extra layer of hurt on top of everything else.

This is the most important lyric to me. And hopefully if you ever need someone to tell you you’ll be okay when you can’t tell yourself, you’ll come back to this post and read it again.

“When destiny calls you, you must be strong. I may not be with you, but you’ve got to hold on.”

Healthy Jess and your healthy self will come back around. But you have got to hold on.

believe me, I know it’s so much easier said than done, but if you are seconds away from death and you have no one but yourself… you’ve got to hold on.

I’m not going to bore you with “reasons to live.”

We have all heard that shit before and even in my worst bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts I still manage to stop crying and roll my eyes at that.

The only thing that makes sense to me is curiosity.

I’m curious to see how I end up.

The way I see it, until I’m homeless, jobless, loveless (in every sense of the word), and starving… I’ve still got some time to turn this thing around.

Maybe try finding a song that speaks to you the way this one does to me. And really try to get in tune with the two parts of you. Because we both know that we are not truly ourselves when depression takes over.

1969264_10152003229481274_623889275_n<— Khaleesi turning to her alter ego, the lion.

In the event that you’d like to speak to me on a more personal level, please fill out this contact form and I will get back to you ASAP. If your healthy side is smaller than your depressed side right now, I’m not against letting you borrow healthy Jess for a while ^_^.

-Jess

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