Today I was driving from Fort Worth to Dallas, and passed by a sign that sunk my heart. This is the hard stuff to talk about, this isn’t going to be a funny post, but I want to share it. The sign was for the Euless, Texas exit. It doesn’t have much meaning to most people. It shouldn’t. It’s a little no where town some-odd miles outside of Dallas. It was also where I decided I was going to take my own life.
Four years ago around this time, I hit the height of my depression. It was bad. I had a job I hated so much, that beat me up daily emotionally with angry, upset people, that I’d go home and cry and eat and drink to make it through another day. The depression escalated.
I had a relationship I’ve spoken of before, what I’d now describe as painful at the best times, toxic at its worst. My friends wanted me to get out. My family wanted me to get out. But, I loved that boy too much. I loved him with every part of my heart. So I stayed. And I drank to deal with the hurt I carried. As things got worse, both in my job and relationship, in life, I couldn’t see my worth. I was on 5 high dose medications from my doctor just trying to help me stay alive. But I couldn’t see a reason to live. I’d talk it over in my head and it would be “if this is all there is to life, then I don’t want to be here.” And so, I tried to take my own life. Many times. I wear a scar on my left wrist, from one of the nights I was almost successful. I’ve now hidden it for years with my watch or Fitbit.
One night, after a particularly horrible fight, I lost all my will to live. I knew this world would be better without me. I was beaten down and broken. I had nothing else. My ex left the house saying he was no longer going to be there for me. I left my dogs at our house and got in my car to drive. I drove aimlessly for a couple hours until I found a shitty motel. I checked in and decided tonight was the night I’d successfully take my own life.
I wrote a note to leave at the foot of the entrance door. “Don’t come in. Call the police.” I didn’t want the poor cleaning lady to find my body. I wrote a goodbye note on my phone for my family to read hoping it’d give them peace. I apologized for any hurt, but said I would hurt them less if I left this world and that’s why I was doing it. And then I got in bed with a bottle of rum and my three bottles of downers I was going to take. This wasn’t the first time I’d take a massive dose. Once before, I did and gave myself a concussion falling in the bathroom as they hit, I guess? I didn’t remember. Another time, I’d lose my vision and walking capability for a few days. I didn’t care. I wanted to die.
And then my phone beeped. “Hi TadPole, I just wanted to say I was thinking about you. I love you so much.” It was my mom. She knew I had been struggling. She didn’t know that text would save my life. I sat in bed with the guilt. My mother has told me more times than I could count that she couldn’t live without me. I thought of the pain for her. I thought of her face at my burial. I thought of her hurt. I gave up on myself, but decided I’d try one more thing before I gave up on her. I put the bottles down and went to sleep. But I knew my obsession with wanting to die was too strong. I was too unhappy, too depressed to trust myself. Every fiber in my being said I didn’t deserve to be here. I hated myself so much.
The next day, I checked myself into a hospital. They kept me 8 days. During that time, I’d hear stories of others struggles, and sadness, and hurt, and I’d come to see I wasn’t all alone. And then I started to evaluate my life. In a slow, painful road that seemed it had a lot more downs than ups, I’d try to get better. I’d try to quit drinking, and last 59 days, then a couple weeks. But I was still struggling. I was still so sad. I kept trying to decide what to do. Can I just.. quit my job without another lined up? Can I leave my boyfriend and do long distance? Can I make it not knowing one single confirmed thing of what my future will hold?
I didn’t know at the time, but leaving Dallas then was the best thing I would do for myself. I’d have to answer the questions, “so you just quit your job? what about *insert x, y, z*”. Same questions, different people. They didn’t know in my head I was thinking “it was my job or my life.” And, that was the first time I chose me and my happiness over any other material or non material thing in my life.
Since then, life has gotten better, good, hard, heart-breaking, and then absolutely incredible. Last Friday, was my last day of work at my other job, so I can start this backpacking adventure. I am actually living my dream right at this moment.
If you had asked me four years ago, or three years ago, or even two, if I thought I’d be ever *really* doing this- you’d probably get a soft, discouraged “some day, I hope”. The happiness that I’ve woken up with the last week is something I only vaguely remembered from childhood. The moments you’re so happy you don’t even care that everyone is seeing you belting out Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway song at the light because life just feels THAT good.
And then I reflect on how far I’ve come. What would have happened with my family, friends, and my dogs, if I had been successful those times just a few short years ago? Because of them, I am here. I came home broken, broke, feeling unworthy of anything and messing up constantly, and was given nothing but open arms, and “I love you’s” and “just try again” and “you’re worth it’s” and “you can do better’s” and “we believe in you”. Because of those, I am here. So, my friends and family, when I say I love you, it’s because you saved my life more than you probably knew at the time.
Thank you for giving me the strength and courage when life was so gray, so I can be here now, enjoying and exploring the sunshine and life and wanderlust and laughter.
I love you.