These thoughts I have are irrational and uncontrollable. They're more than overthinking, and they're more than overanalyzing. Most people will tell me to "stop overthinking" or "if you're trying so hard, you shouldn't have this anxiety." Believe me, if I could stop them willingly, I would. But for now, trying is all I can do.
Investing in friendships is part of a finding a healthy balance in life. We care for and enjoy our friends, but sometimes we might forget to think about how we can secure and grow our friendships. Any sort of investment requires some time and thought. Maintaining friendships requires effort, but when we look at the health benefits of friendships, this effort is worth it.
The diagnosis of PTSD requires that a person has "...experienced, witnessed or been confronted with an event or events that involve actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others." The traumatic event must provoke intense fear, helplessness, or horror.
My alarm rings, I try to wake up and go out of bed but... I can't: my body feels like a heavy sandbag forced down to the mattress, my mind races, and my eyes traitorously well up with tears. The first emotion is fear. Not that I can't get up but that I could be late for work. I try to leave my bed again. No luck. And yet, my mental block doesn't prevent me from calling to a boss and asking for one day off for health reasons. Depression. It's real.
On the night of Tuesday April 28, 2009 our son died by suicide. As the shock lifted we began the agonizing process of trying to comprehend our new reality. Our 23-year old son had lived with a robust disease that had been brewing for years. He was a strong, intelligent young man; however, even he could not see where his path was headed. Mental illness is a formidable foe. Our tragedy is his absence from our ordinary lives. We are now referred to as survivors. What exactly we are surviving is unclear. We are broken in so many places; trying to put the puzzle that was our life back together. Only now, the pieces do not match.
Our daughter Maddie tragically took her own life at the tender age of fourteen and forever changed the lives of our family and friends.... Maddie's Mom, our boys and friends have made it a personal mission to tell our story, bring greater awareness to youth mental illness and help create better access for those families currently affected by this troubling disease. With all this attention being paid to this illness, largely promoted through the likes of social media, are we fuelling the fire and putting the idea of suicide in our youths' heads?
Panic disorder is associated with anxiety that continues after the panic attack has resolved. Patients with panic disorder worry about having another attack or that they might lose control. Sometimes they fear they're suffering from a serious medical condition that hasn't been diagnosed. As a result, they change their behavior to avoid situations that might provoke another attack.
When living with a mental illness, you feel scared and alone. You might have the best support system around you but you still feel like there is no one. It feels like nobody understands what is going through your mind and you are living in this dark scary world. You end up pushing away your family and friends. You become selfish and you don't care how you treat other people and how your actions affect them.
I thought I could just "think positive" myself out of it, and when that didn't work I tried to make myself as perfect as I could. I was fooling myself. Publicly I wore a mask of the cheery girl I used to be, privately I was barely keeping my head above water. That's when suicide entered my mind. It was like my new obsession.
Why didn't you answer our calls that night? We couldn't figure out why you hadn't come home for dinner. When did you last think about your family that terrible night? Did you consider, even for a moment, that our lives would be a living hell after you were gone? Why didn't you tell us that you hated who you had become? You had lost hope. Despite all of the good in your life, I think there was a layer of fear and uncertainty that left you adrift.
When I was going through it, and if I'm being honest, I still am, I felt utterly alone. The symptoms of depression sometimes present themselves as flaws. I kept thinking if I adjusted my attitude or if I weren't such a bad person then I would feel better. Because we think it's something we've done or that it's our fault, we don't seek treatment. Too many of us aren't reaching out for help when we're experiencing these things.
The winter semester has just ended, and instead of feeling relaxed and elated, I feel tense, exhausted and utterly tortured. The last few months of university had proven to be extremely challenging for me. I could barely manage to stay afloat. The pressure felt overwhelming, and the cracks in my life were becoming fissures.
It wasn't until I attended college that I realized depression wasn't just being sad all the time. As I began to realize and track my symptoms, I learned that my most intense symptom is lack of motivation. When my depression hits, there's no such thing as motivation anymore. It's instant, and I do not get a say. My class attendance drops, homework will sit undone for days, and deadlines will be missed.
I was verbally bullied about my weight throughout school. The weight started increasing exponentially while I was in high school. That is when it started impacting my moods and the way I looked at life... I did not want to be around my friends and I started isolating myself. I became physically sick with stomach problems, mentally sick and looked down upon myself. I hit rock bottom.
Our lives have been irrevocably impacted by the loss of our son; a grief that is almost impossible to put into words. Stigma in part prevented our son from seeking support which would have perhaps led him to understand that his depression was the result of many factors. We cannot change our history but as survivors of suicide loss we can channel our grief into changing lives. We can be part of ending stigma forever and be a force in the evolving suicide prevention conversation. As a country we can move from awareness to action and saving lives. In my son's honour I will continue to advocate for youth suicide prevention so other families' understand what our family could not.