“Today, September 17th, is my one-year anniversary. An anniversary that comes with both joy and sadness. Joy because I overcame a battle. Sadness because of the mere thought of the possibility of the aftermath. September 17th is the day I had a clear plan on how to end my life.
I had been battling for over a week with terrible bouts of anxiety and depression. The last day of this week was when I had at least 3 different ways I could commit suicide.
I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder when I was 21. I had been taking medications on and off for the last 10 years, and therapy, until I found out I was pregnant in January 2013.
I got off the medication because I thought I didn’t need it, and because I didn’t want it to affect my baby. Fast forward to middle of 2014, when my baby was now about 9 months old. I started experiencing what I know now is: postpartum depression. The first time I experienced an issue was in 2014, when in the middle of the night all of a sudden, I couldn’t move or talk. My immediate reaction was something serious was happening to me. Like a stroke or some type of paralysis. My husband took me to the emergency room. I was wheeled in a rush. I could hear all the doctors and nurses asking my husband if I had consumed any drugs. They kept asking me a lot of questions, but I still couldn’t talk.
Finally, one of the nurses put a substance under my nose and slowly I started to react. I was thoroughly tested. I kept thinking I would be informed I was really sick. Diagnosis was severe anxiety attack and extremely low potassium.
In the coming months after, I went to the emergency room at least 3 more times, thinking I was dying of something serious, and it was always the same diagnosis: severe anxiety. One occasion, I was at home, getting dinner ready, nothing stressful at all. I started to experience chest pains, and my arm was becoming numb. I had planned to drive myself to the emergency room once more, but I feared I wouldn’t make it. I was sure I was having a heart attack. I had to resort to call 911 because I felt like my heart was going to come out of my body. Paramedics checked me fully. Meanwhile, my 1-year-old is standing next to me while they check my heart and blood pressure. She looks so confused, she doesn’t understand. They informed me I had to calm down, my heart rate was very elevated. They asked me if something had stressed me. I said, ‘no, I was preparing dinner.’
Now it is 2016, and I find out I am pregnant again. At first, I am a little surprised. First child I thought I was very blessed, but that it would only happen once. I had tried before, and it never happened, so I really thought there was the possibility I couldn’t conceive.
My second pregnancy brought along mixed emotions. I can say now I was very depressed since I found out I was pregnant. I found out I was pregnant in a time in my life when I was trying to focus on myself. As selfish as it sounds, I had never felt so happy with my life and just in general how I felt in that moment. I felt upset I was pregnant.
It took at least 5 months for me to start enjoying my pregnancy and be happy. I continued to be very depressed and anxious, but I believe I could manage it without having to resort to taking medications. I was very against taking medicine, since I had already weaned myself off it. I was still breastfeeding, and I didn’t want it to affect my unborn baby.
I continued the pregnancy suffering with the worst depression and anxiety. My anxiety became worse when I was diagnosed with placenta previa and considered high risk because of my age and hypothyroidism.
My anxiety was so bad during labor. I thought I would pass out of the stress. I felt I couldn’t breathe. I opted for no pain medication or epidural. The pain of the contractions was almost unbearable. My anxiety just multiplied when I told nurses I felt I had to push, but they said, ‘no, it is not time, you are not fully dilated’.
Everyone left the room, nurses and midwife. Less than five minutes later, I tell my husband I feel like I peed myself, super warm. He looked, and baby was crowning. No nurse or doctor to come fast enough to help me. Finally, a minute later, a couple nurses walk in, help me deliver baby. I was so stressed out I was not listening to nurses and instead of helping to deliver baby, I was closing my legs. My daughter was born meconium, and she was blue coming out. They immediately checked her, and they were able to stabilize her. But the moment of stress was not over yet. Nurses are telling me I won’t stop bleeding and they say it’s starting to become a lot. I had never seen my husband more worried than that day. I will never forget the look on his face.
Finally, nurse walks in room and tells me, we are going to give you a shot to stop your hemorrhage. Nurse advised me, if this doesn’t stop the bleeding, we will have to do emergency surgery. I had never prayed so hard for the shot to stop the bleeding. Shot worked. I could finally relax a bit.
I was supposed to be over the moon feeling with the birth of my second daughter. I wasn’t. I felt miserable. Second day in the hospital, I felt an immense amount of sadness and despair that I just couldn’t shake away. At home, I was feeling very emotional, I felt so sensitive. Anything and everything would make me cry. I felt like my baby deserved a better mother, one that didn’t feel broken and unhappy.
I moved on the next couple months, struggling with both depression and anxiety. Still not doing anything about it, and just pushing it away by staying busy with my kids.
Finally, the week of September 2017 came along. I started to become very anxious again. Getting mad at everything and crying over anything. I laugh at myself now, because even commercials had the potential of making me cry.
I started to experience paranoia. I felt like I was being watched and followed by people that wanted to hurt me and my kids. At the store, I had to constantly be turning around, making sure no one was following us. I hated that debilitating feeling that I couldn’t go out without feeling like I was being followed and someone was out to hurt me.
At home, I was very irritable. Getting mad very quick. I had no patience for anything. Then came the worst, yet. I started getting images in my head of how I could hang myself. I started to research how I could overdose. This awful thought came at night mostly.
Then one day, September 17, to be exact, I was so determined to kill myself. I thought I can easily get a kitchen knife and stab myself. I can call 911 and lie that I have a gun to get them here, and have them just kill me.
While I had all these racing thoughts in my head, telling me to hurt myself, I was attending to the needs of my young children. I thought, ‘I need to take my kids somewhere safe, away from me.’ I couldn’t bring myself to leave my kids, while I was fighting for my life. Instead, I used them to help me fight.
I kept focusing on my kids, on my husband, my mom, all my loved ones. I kept thinking of the pain I would cause them. I just couldn’t do that. My brain was telling me to end it all, while my heart and soul fought the hardest to win over.
I won. I didn’t listen to the lies my mind was feeding me. I was needed, I am needed here. It is not my time to go, yet. I want to see my kids grow up. I want to grow old with my husband. I will not have my mother bury her only daughter.
One year later and I can finally say I overcame one of the hardest battles of my life. I sought professional help. I am taking medication for my depression and anxiety. I like to say, ‘My kids saved my life. They are the angels in disguise that were present to witness me fighting to stay alive.’
It is uncertain if I will ever be okay without medication, and even though I know I could be presented with suicidal thoughts again, and unexpectedly, I can say I will continue to fight it, anything to stay alive.
I will not quit my life, no matter how much my mind tries to convince me I am better off dead, I will not give up that easily.
To everyone affected by any mental disorder, please stay hopeful. Suicide is preventable. Suicide can NOT win, unless you give it the power. You are bigger and so much more than what your mind makes you believe.”
[If you’re thinking about hurting yourself, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help is out there and you are not alone.]
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