I wasn’t planning to delve into the topic of mental illness again so quickly after sharing my story of being diagnosed with anxiety, but sometimes things happen in life that change our mind.
Sharing my diagnosis of anxiety wasn’t nearly as scary as other things I wrote in that same post. The scariest is perhaps something some of you failed to even notice. It was that little line that mentioned me having been suicidal in the past.
Suicidal. Wanting to die. Feeling like no one would even notice if I were gone.
I’ve been suicidal three times in my life, and I’ve come awfully close one other time.
The first time I wanted to die, I was a senior in high school. My best friend at the time had graduated high school early to go to boot camp for the Marine’s. He is why I didn’t actually try to kill myself. If I died, I wanted him to be able to be at my funeral, and that wouldn’t happen if he were still at boot camp.
The second time, I was a junior in college. Junior. Well, I was in my third year. But I had changed majors and added a second major and I saw no foreseeable end to classes. In a school of brilliant people, I felt like a failure that had accomplished nothing, and I didn’t know how I would ever get out of the hole I was in. For anyone who’s wondering, let me tell you this — when a person wants to commit suicide, their brains are not thinking in logical, rational ways. I was in a dorm room, and I attempted to cut my wrist with a pair of scissors (that thankfully wouldn’t even break my skin). Had I been able to think clearly, I would have realized that there were sharp knives in the kitchen less than 10 feet away, and they WOULD have cut my skin.
The last time — I wasn’t suicidal, but I felt myself heading back in that direction way to fast for me to be comfortable with myself or my life. And in an attempt to save myself, I made drastic changes. Despite being back in college in my last semester of finishing a second Bachelor’s degree, I made the decision to leave. In less than a week, I had made that decision, let my parents know, packed my things, and moved back home. That was the only way to make me feel safe around myself.
I’ve always enjoyed writing. It’s always been very cathartic for me. It was a release where I could let go of my feelings.
I would go through spells where I would write a lot of poetry, and most of it was very dark. And most of it, I don’t even know where is anymore and I haven’t thought of it in quite some time.
Then, earlier this week, I saw a tweet that caught my attention. It likened depression to drowning. And I knew that was true, not only because I’d felt that way before, but because I’d written a poem on that very topic before.
This was the tweet I saw:
— ☀ » Laura Morris « ☀ (@limitlesslaura) July 6, 2015
I don’t love this poem. I actually hate the opening lines of it. There is so much that I would change about it now. But for the sake of sharing exactly what it is I wrote all those years ago, I’ve left it the same.
And as sad and depression and dark as this poem is, it breaks my heart to admit that I did not write this in one of my darkest times.
But, without further ado, I would like to share with you my poem….
I’m just a distant thought
that rarely crosses their minds
of a girl left lying on the bottom of a lake.
It was like drowning:
gasping for breath.
I was so deep under it all;
the weight forcing me farther down.
Everything closed in around me.
There was no light,
It felt like being trapped
on the bottom of a lake.
Standing on the splintered dock,
I saw only one choice.
So, I dove in.
The murky water surrounded me.
I could see nothing, no one,
and no one could see me.
At last, freedom sank in,
and I floated away.
Like I said. If this were something I was writing today, there are a lot of changes I would make to this poem. But for fear of losing the essence of what I’d written, I couldn’t risk changing it.
If you have ever felt suicidal, please, don’t try to manage your feelings alone. There are counselors and friends and family and national hotlines. There is always SOMEONE that will talk to you. And sometimes, that’s all you need.