"Pain changes people"...How true this is. This post is undoubtedly one of hardest things to write. It is a continuation and update in response to one of my first blog posts "Never have I dealt with anything more difficult than my own soul". This post starts off talking about depression and mental/psychological illnesses, a subject that is rarely addressed within our society and often overlooked. I have been living with this "Nightmare" called depression for 4 years now. Over the last 9 months, my life has been turned inside out and upside down from my condition worsening.
August 6th 2016 at 9:11 A.M, I received that phone call that no one ever wants to get. That fateful day, I received the news over a Facebook phone call that my oldest sister Amber had passed away unexpectedly. She had just turned 31 on July 25th, I didn't take the chance to wish her a happy birthday or to be present when she passed. I live with the guilt everyday as unnecessary as that sounds. That day is the day that I went over the edge and started my downward spiral into my psychological illness , I have not been able to recover since. Today on February 6th 2017 marks 7 months since I lost my oldest sister Amber. I think about her every single day and wish with the entirety of my being that I could see her, feel her, smell her perfume, hear her voice and talk to her once more. One day she was there, the next she was just gone, Even though my kookum and I did most of the funeral arrangements and said our final goodbyes, to me it feels like it has not fully hit me quite yet. Most days it feels like she's just away somewhere and will be back soon. I still expect her to send me messages, call me or to see her at my kookums whenever I walk into the door, I still wait for it to happen to ensure that this nightmare isn't real but it never does.
Since than, life has not been the same and undoubtedly never will be for me, it just ceased to exist. The trauma of losing my sister drove my depression to fully consume my mind, body and soul. What once was a struggle became a full blown battle to get through the days alive. Living with chronic depression is like bearing a great weight on your shoulders that is constantly dragging you under, you try your hardest to fight it and get back up and recover but in the end it always wins. Combined with the grief and pain of losing a loved one who was essentially an extension of yourself heightens it 1000 times more. When it comes to mental and psychological illnesses, there is a stigma due to not being aware of how serious and devastating it can be for the person living with mental conditions. Recently there has been more awareness on the subject using the term "Break the Stigma" The definition of stigma is essentially a sign of social unacceptability; the shame or disgrace attached to something regarded as socially unacceptable. I've managed to hide the fact that I've been living with this condition unnoticed for 4 years due to the fact. However after going through the loss of my sister, the shock waves of grief overcame me and I reached my breaking point in one thundering, chaotic crescendo. I would describe it as being in the middle of the ocean at night in the peak of a storm, you try to keep your head above water, struggling to stay afloat as the waves rock you to and fro and as you struggle to take a breath, the waves overpower you and pull you beneath the depths of the pitch black water.
I can still clearly remember the defining moment I went over the edge and let darkness consume me when I started contemplating and entertaining the thoughts of ending my life. At that point all I could think about was being with my sister and being unable to stand living with the ache, pain and saddness bearing down on me with it's great weight every single day. That was the defining moment that I realized that I needed to seek help for my condition. On November 22nd I checked into the hospital to get the help I so desperately needed. While I was there, I was diagnosed with a Major Depressive Disorder, which I already knew about, a Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder stemming from childhood experiences that I have never dealt with until recently and last but not least a Borderline Personality Disorder. After registering the shock from receiving this information, I began to understand myself more and the cause of my chaos. I was put on multiple medications to treat and manage my disorders however I still live with and struggle to learn how deal with the emotional chemical imbalance going on in my body. Being treated has helped a little bit but I am still not completely 100%, I know that the process of healing will take some time but I am taking it day by day. I began to use my work as a way to express myself creatively and the depth of raw emotion that I've been through over the last 9 months. The above gallery contains a few pieces that I've chosen to document my struggle dealing with mental illnesses. Until next time, XOXO