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The brutal truth of me, without all the sugary coating.
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I talk about my family, my divorce, and a lot about MAKEUP.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

How Joshua Saved My Life... the First Time

I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't depressed. Depression hit me early, and it hit me hard. I don't think I have ever felt especially happy. This isn't to sound "poor me," it's simply to show you where I come from. My state of mind has always been on the darker end of things, and I have made peace with the fact that it will never be anything but. (I will keep trying, but I won't feel wronged if I fail. It's just who I am.)

There have been days when I felt excited about things, of course. Many times I have felt like life was looking up, and I've had my share of good days. Overall, though, depression has been sort of a theme I can't escape. It always comes back to hopelessness when the dust settles.

The darkest times in my life have been as follows:
  • 17 years old, a junior in high school - failing classes, dropping out of my regular high school, dating a guy who brought me down, conflicts with parents, disconnected from siblings, feeling out of place with friends, etc.
  • Postpartum depression - for the two years after Asher was born (Sept 2005-2007), living in Abilene, Kansas, no sleep, unmedicated, 1,000 miles away from family and friends.
  • Postpartum depression/divorce - Sept 2009-May 2010
The first time Joshua saved my life was during the 2001-2002 depression. I was seventeen years old, and quickly giving up on life. One night I was feeling especially alone, desperate for some hope for the future, when I got in a fight with my parents. I have absolutely no idea at this point what the fight was about, or even if it was something that mattered. I went upstairs, where I contemplated my life for a couple of hours, feeling like my world was spinning out of control.

At some point I made the decision to take my own life. I went downstairs and took as many Tylenol and Zoloft I could find/handle swallowing, until I felt sick. I have no idea how many I took (15-18?) and I went back upstairs to lie down. As I lay staring at the ceiling, it started to spin. I felt my heart race and my stomach turn, every vein in my arms and legs pulse with blood. So this was dying.

Suddenly, panic set in. I didn't want to feel this anymore, I didn't want to disappear forever. What was I thinking? I didn't say goodbye to anyone, I hadn't done anything with my life... I picked up the phone and called 911. I don't remember speaking, but I remember them saying they would send someone out. I stumbled down the stairs and knocked on my parents' door. I mumbled something about taking too many pills and the ambulance coming. I remember the look on my mother's face. I remember the spinning. I remember the confusion. Suddenly I couldn't remember how it had happened. I couldn't remember what I was doing there or why I had wanted to die. The police came, questioned me, checked me out, and loaded me on a stretcher. It's not that serious, I thought. The room is just spinning. Make the room stop spinning and I'll be fine.

I don't remember anything else until they handed me a cup of the most disgusting black stuff I have ever seen or smelled. It looked like liquid lead, and it smelled horrendous. They told me to drink it, and I said no. They told me if I didn't drink it, they would have to pump my stomach, because the Tylenol I had taken was destroying my liver. I said no. They told me I had no choice and threatened with a tube (they planned on sticking that thing down my throat)! I conceded, tried to drink the charcoal, and my stomach threatened to dispose of its contents itself. I was too sick to drink the charcoal, so they pumped my stomach.

I don't remember anything until I woke up with an unbearable pain in my throat. My mom informed me the pain was from the tube they had put through my nose, down my throat and into my stomach to extract the fatal amount of medication I'd consumed. I will never, until the day I die, forget that pain. Every swallow burned, every breath tortured my throat for a full two weeks afterward.

Eventually I went back to school. I don't remember how much time I took off school to recover. I remember realizing that no one had noticed, except a few close friends, that I was gone at all. I remember realizing that I would never be able to fit in at school, and it was time to stop attending my regular high school. I only made it through two months of junior year before I dropped out. (I later attended an alternative school, where I finished high school and received an adult diploma June 2004.)

Just a few short months later, I was ready to give up again. I wasn't going to make any mistakes this time - I wouldn't allow them to pump my stomach - I would make sure I was gone for good. My life was going no where, and my therapy hadn't helped a bit. I felt like I would never be anything but a complete failure, and everyone would be happier without me.

That's the day I found out I was pregnant. I was seventeen years old, terrified and sobbing, but knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt - I finally had a purpose. I didn't know what was to come, or how I would survive this next challenge, but I knew my child had saved my life.

He has been worth living for ever since, and I will forever be grateful to him for showing up exactly when I needed him and giving me a reason to live.

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