October 2016 was 10 years since I had self harmed and had been hospitalized. I was very proud of my ability to fight my depression and anxiety. I was looking forward to being “on the other side” of this journey and thought this mental illness thing was going to be long behind me…
July 2016 my step-dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. We were never really 100% sure where it started but it was in his stomach and in his bones. We were told he we maybe had 4 months left with him. My mom has COPD and it was very hard for her to be at the hospital, then at the nursing home so I was the main person going back and forth. I was my step-dad’s main contact and supporter.
He went on Hospice on my birthday and then passed away in September.
The next month, October 2016, my mom went into the hospital with complications to her COPD. The day she went into the hospital she was on a breathing machine and I wasn’t sure if she was going to survive that day.
Talk about timing. I thought October was going to be the time to put it all behind me. October and the months leading up to it put my anxiety and depression into full alert. I will say I didn’t go back to self-harming and I was suicidal. But feeling dark, lonely, overwhelmed and unable to function – yep, all there.
So I don’t know if anyone ever really gets past their mental illness or not. Life likes to keep throwing lemons while we are already have one hand tied behind our back. I do think we can develop better skills for managing life and still being the warriors we were meant to be. I can now better identify my triggers and I’m better prepared for managing them – not that I always do a great job on that end. I still have days where I stay in my PJs all day … But accepting that I will always have this dark part – thorn in my flesh as I think of scripture – helps me to better face the days and lemons ahead.