Depression: My Silent Self

I’ve sat for months at the keyboard tapping away only to delete the sympotic words in fear of what others would think. For one to open up and share such a personal truth quite honestly can be paralyzing. Today was different, I had decided last night I wanted to get out of the house today but when I woke the unaltered, unwelcome pain was back. This type of pain is different, I can’t take Tylenol and make it go away and the pain isn’t specific to an exact location because the soul is ever moving in one’s body. I just laid there with my back to the big picture window pulled the covers up to my chin where my knees were and took a deep breath out.. It’s back. Was this ever gone? Have I possibly worked myself up so much thinking about the past year that I am slowly falling into a tailspin of the ache from before.. Honestly as I write this I do not know; what I do know is, I gathered myself up, took a shower and got “it” together what ever “it” is.
I wanted to share my story so others knew they were not alone. Society has put shame on so many things that deserve the word survivor. I decided I’m taking this back because many out there felt so lost with no hope that they are not here to share their stories. I am a survivor of many things but the story I want to share with you today is of severe depression, self harm and attempted suicide.
I have lived with depression on and off most of my life but I hid it well in my already quite demeanor there was no sudden self seclusion and I have always kept my friends circle small. My path to self harm I honestly stumbled upon one day when I was doing my hair. I stood in the mirror getting ready for school curling my hair under when it happened; I burned myself and in that moment all the pain was gone I was more focused on this new mark then all the ache I was repeatedly replaying in my mind. For a good period of time I didn’t burn myself on purpose I simply choose to be not so careful in my hair process… Hhmmm do you see what I did there? A few years passed and I stared taking my hot curling iron and burning the inner part of my thigh because there no one would ever see and I didn’t have to answer the annoying questions of the kids at school asking what a mark was… And I can only have an “accident” while curling my hair so many times. My mom would comment about how accident prone I was and I hated keeping things from her but there was so much shame and inability to rationalize it, the burning location had to change or else my secret would no longer be a secret.
When High school started things took a dramatic turn. I can’t say it was the “sudden” hit of not being one of the popular because I have never been popular I was just the quiet sometimes funny always chubby kid. I simply wanted to be liked or just wanted to be seen as someone special to someone but that never happened.. in high school anyway. I remember it was close to thanksgiving holiday there was a cross country runner in my school that while out practicing on a trail something horrible happened, the ground gave out and he fell to his death. I didn’t know him but I was so sad. I thought to myself his parents must be completely distraught over his death; only to then think about my own parents, well my mom. My mom would be sad but what about my father? I had talked to him one year before and he asked me “what I wanted?”. I asked for a letter! I had hoped to learn more about him since I hadn’t seen or talked to him since my parents divorce which was about 10 years prior at the time. A year had passed and nothing; no letter no call nothing. This is when I decided if my own father didn’t want anything to do with me and clearly didn’t love me which of course meant he wouldn’t miss me then it was time to simply end everything. See in my mind if my father couldn’t love me then certainly no guy would and no man would ever marry me so life simply was too much. Remember! Now this was when I was only 14 years old. Looking back I had much better things to concerns myself with but when we are that age we truly don’t see the simplicity to life as we can often see looking back.
I was consumed with this overwhelming ache of being disowned. The rejection of my father hit me to the core so I decided I couldn’t handle it and didn’t want to endure the pain one more moment. I remember sitting on the edge of my beautiful white and brass daybed staring at my bookcase reaching up to the Tylenol bottle and counting out twenty one pills and I broke it down to a few small groups and swallowed them all with a bit of water as the slight taste of salt dripped into my mouth because I began to cry. This is it, I remember pulling my feet up to the bed seeing the hallway light peak from under the door and closing my eyes. Done. I woke up the next day revealed not so much to be alive but happy to know my mother wasn’t faced with finding me the next day. I told my mom years later about the specifics but at the time confided. I was in a bad place and things began to get better.
Years passed and I started to become very depressed again; I managed to heed off the want to self harm and the thoughts to end my life although I fell into deep debt. The bills came and I had the money to pay the bills but I choose to buy other random things in hope to make myself feel better. Retail therapy in all its glory but there was no amount of clothes, accessories or even a Big new F150 could fix. I tried endlessly to numb the pain with things although the pain continued and the downward spiral ensued. I began to experiment with hijab and it brought a great deal of comfort, hope and purpose allowing me to push past the ache and live again.
This brings me to this past year I was on bed rest for nine months due to issues with my back. My back began to become better but after spending such an extensive amount of time in bed I became increasingly more anxious with anything involving leaving my home. My BIG events for months were the achievement of walking to the mailroom and while that may seem pathetic, I assure you these trips downstairs to the mailroom wiped me out emotionally.
As I stood at my door looking down the hallway to the elevator my eyesight tightened focusing on the first destination. The low hum of the lights bellowed as each step I took felt like a mile with the stuttered looking over my shoulder for what may occur out of my eyesight. I always made it to the elevator but was surprised and revealed every time. I would push the circular elevator button with the tip of my house key and wait while continually watching the security cameras and the hallway just in case… In case I was to be attacked again by the unknown. Ding. The elevator would arrive I would peer inside to check for anyone take one step inside and twirl around to make eye contact with the security camera one last time.. I was afraid something would happen while in the elevator; to this day I can’t tell you what but I know there was a real fear just sitting in my gut. I would push the button for the first floor and the elevator would descend. The door would open and the deafening hum of lights began again as I took on the hallway of what felt like an altered reality yet again as the journey to the mail-room was just half over. My depression grew deeper and deeper during this time so my husband and I decided it was time to get help. I started with one psychologist and she was amazing although things began to get worse before they got better. The thing about sitting in a room with someone who knows how to ask all the right questions is, it begins to stir the ache that was settled at the pit of your being and when you leave their office, you’re just there alone with all those thoughts… Dealing or so I thought. I was ironing my husbands work shirts and decided taking the iron to my arm was the best way to ease this rumble of emotions that had been awaken. I told my husband when he returned home from work and reached out to my doctor. I burned myself 5 times to varying degrees to stop the thoughts, I was having thoughts of ending my life again. For me things were different this time while I was having thoughts of ending it all I logically knew I wouldn’t do anything to end my life but having the thoughts were still unhealthy and disconcerting at the same time. I began to see a second psychologist seeing him every week and the lady every other week but my thoughts were still unhealthy and my depression wasn’t letting up so I decided to take my doctors advice and check into the hospital. Those were some of the most difficult two and half days of my life but once I was released I did feel more at ease and less tense and my thoughts of hurting myself were less and I no longer felt the want or need to end my life.
My journey is ongoing and mine alone; no two are alike but all should be taken serious. Someone who has considered suicide once is far more likely to consider it again and try. There are endless reasons one may feel suicide is their only option and those reasons are personal and real to them not to be made light of. I still try to rationalize many of my actions and I still deal with depression but I choose to deal with It one day at a time and view myself as a survivor and champion of my own journey. I have an amazing husband that stood by me every step of the way and the few family members and friends I did confide in after the fact. I thank you for hearing me and not making my journey feel shameful in anyway but lifting me up when I needed that extra cheerleader.
If you are having thoughts of suicide, are depressed, or taking part in self harm I want you to know you are not alone. This is not a shameful journey, but a journey that while being tough can be fought and won with you alive and enjoying life.

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Stories under the dust

If we remove the exotic covers with thread dripping silk and slight sheen that glistens from the smallest facets of light… The pages within the novel truly hold all the beauty as their story unfolds. The dull commonly over looked…hard bound.. slightly bruised.. brown cover holds the same title as the one that initially caught your eye… but are you as intrigued.. sadly most will not have the same pondering thoughts to begin unfolding the many stories within… the one who sits with patience.. will truly become rewarded. The true beauty of anything and anyone lays within after you wipe the cover of the situation or person.. Are you the one who’s going to stick around after the initial introduction.. through rough times to truly enjoy and see the sweetness of all of life’s blessed moments. We shield ourselves in this disguise to either keep people from getting to know our many stories some of which are uncomfortable or unpleasant in societal norms… and because we are afraid what if once others learn more they will leave.. either because their own fear shadows your existence as a human or even in today’s world culture we blind ourselves to only hearing that which makes US feel comfortable and good.. The world is in a state of distress because so are the souls within it. Every person.. every situation has an underlying story that may not be as you initially thought …it’s still important to delve within the wrinkled pages… ripped corners.. faded print… we are all special editions created by dust.. covered in dust.. waiting for someone to listen to the untold stories..

I am free in my Hijab

Several years ago a dear friend told me during Ramadan that many people have too much faith and hope in humans and not enough in God. Is it possibly those characteristics are only meant for God and we should never seek those things in people around us? I have wondered the strength in that statement more and more over the last few years. Sometimes… most of the time; it seems people take my progress of becoming stronger in my faith as a hindrance to them and I’m not sure why this is? Friends wanting to go do things and I turn down the invitation simply because the activities do not support the teachings of Islam. I don’t “preach” to anyone about what they are doing is wrong, yet I still get these looks of “seriously”… people telling me I need to “live” and “have fun.” Do people ever consider the idea that the actions of “living” and “fun” are different for everyone, no matter what faith someone is or where they are from, or is the fact that my faith is draped across my body so I must not “live” or “have fun” ? The words accompanied by the tone and facial expressions form questions and comments as bashes against me or really more so against my faith and I dont understand why people feel it is needed. I am not oppressed in any way and I choose to do and or not do certain things; I choose to dress the way I do with no one telling me I have to. I will let you in on a secret; I’m free… free just like you.

Finding Peace Within oneself

“A mountain keeps an echo deep inside. That’s how I hold your voice.”
― Rumi

The passing moments of silence hold the embodiment of possibility. .
The inflection of tone as time passes embrace the wondering thoughts of..
“what if”
The tempo of the heart rate steadily inclines fully in-flight…

Steadily the past has become a blur of what was…
While today is only seen as a blessing
Unearthing the frayed layers of oneself…
Softening the edges of bitterness…
Through one..
The one encompassing pure perfection. .
Through his grace of sincerity..
Forgiveness. . .
I find peace..