INTO ME YOU SEE

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In the act of trying to die, I died to myself.-me
I’ve  been trying to come up with how I was going to share what’s been going on with me. I really don’t know how to eloquently. This might not be my most beautiful writing; but the story will go on. Have you heard of Project Semicolon? (http://www.projectsemicolon.org)
I have been intentionally putting semi colons in a lot of my social media posts. This sums it:
SEMICOLON PROJECT 416: The semicolon is used when a sentence could have ended, but didn’t. And The Semicolon Movement is for anyone who has ever self-harmed, has a personality disorder, or has tried to commit suicide. The goal of the movement is to help people remember that “your sentence is not over yet.”
I’m considering getting the tattoo.
Ok, so where to begin?
It’s hard to tell you about the events on September 3rd 2015 without sharing a million milestones, triumphs and tragedies that have occurred years and years before.
trag·e·dy
ˈtrajədē/
noun
  1. 1.
    an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress, such as a serious accident, crime, or natural catastrophe.

But I can’t write a book on a post. So I’ll do my best to condense.

Ok, so here I go.

Last year I found myself drunk and shrouded by depression and wrapped up in bipolar. I guess in this sentence I am coming out publicly as having bipolar. I feel like there should be some sort of celebratory cheer–or maybe could have announced it differently, but for my stories sake it is what it is.

I also found myself at the end of my rope. I was overworked, overwhelmed and sinking. Living on my own almost two hours away from family and disconnected from community, I found solace in alcohol. Basically, I was self medicating with alcohol. I had semi-recently ended a dry lonely season in DeKalb and entered into a challenging, fast-paced role in a new company in Oak Brook; I had moved yet again, further from my family.

On that particular evening, I picked up the largest knife I had in my house and drew it to my wrist.

Something pulled it away from me.

I never told anyone–but those closest to me and not even immediately, but a while if not long after the incident had occurred.

I didn’t seek help. I didn’t go to the hospital. I had a job to do, high rent to pay, and life wasn’t going to stop moving because I had a suicidal moment in my drunken stupor.

That was my first attempt in 30 years to end my life. Now I’ve thought about it for many years. I can remember when I was in junior high–vividly–asking to speak to my Mom and telling her how sad I was, as tears streamed down my cheeks. I remember very little of junior high–except being spit on by everyone on the bus when I got off, being made fun of, trying to fit in with the popular girls by buying purses like them, the fun times of dance team and the few unfortunate events that I will not describe here.

I must tell you that I was a problem child from second grade on. I was on ritalin for ADD by second grade and had several behavioral issues as an adolescent. It wasn’t until seventh grade that I was diagnosed with Bipolar. I don’t remember much of that season– I think I’ve blocked it out honestly. But I remember sitting in front of my parents car to prevent them from taking my sister to a skating party instead of mine. That was the day that my Mom admitted me. They determined I’d be in an intensive outpatient program. I don’t remember much except watching a stupid video, having art time and being able to eat cheese burgers for lunch every day.

Summing up here, I spent the next approximately fifteen years in denial. I wasn’t bipolar. I was NOT a crazy person.

Well, without spilling my entire memoir, I suffered tremendously during those years because of my refusal to be honest with myself.

One day, in DeKalb, during my second medical leave I had a break through moment. In the office of my Manager sitting with my Regional, I broke down in tears realizing I had a problem and needed help. I can’t express to you the weight that was broken off of me and force of it I felt when I accepted my mental illness.

From 2010-present I have had 4 medical leaves. The first one was from severe anxiety and the rest are from either mania or depression from bipolar.

I know you probably have questions about what is this bipolar she is talking about. For sake of this post, I will reserve it for another post.

Fast forward to January of this year. I had moved home with family for my health. It was the most intense transition I’ve ever made in life I feel. I went from living alone in the suburbs of Chicago, working a high profile role within the bank to living back in Rockford with my parents working in a retail position within the bank.

In April, after a whirlwind romance and terrible falling out, I found myself overwhelmed in a job I hated where I was working my life away–again. I would come home from work and drink a six pack to numb the pain and lay in my bed. I stopped doing everything. I entered my fourth medical leave and went into the deepest depression. I wouldn’t leave my bed or the house for days at a time. At my worse, I hadn’t showered or brushed my teeth in four days. I drove an hour and a half to my Doctor in Aurora who tried desperately to manage my medications. It got to the point where my meds were just numbing to me. I was overly medicated and had memory issues.

One day I remember taking my medication every few hours just so I could sleep the day away. I remember shortly after that I was sitting outside thinking of ways I could die. I remember one night I sat out in the three season room, drunk and high off my medication and I realized I needed to do something about my health.

In July I entered Rosecrance for crisis and unfortunately was pulled out after five days because of insurance issues. In August, I felt suicidal again and went to Swedish American and they referred me to Rosecrance again. It was almost 24 hours of being awake before getting a crisis bed, so I was exhausted. I couldn’t catch up on sleep or focus on any of the groups and to be honest, I went to Swedes to get admitted into their outpatient so being thrown into impatient again threw me off guard. Needless to say, I left the next day AMA (Against Medical Advice).

Fast forward to September 3rd. Nothing out of the ordinary. I was over at my Sisters and my guy friend was over as well helping her fix her mower. I don’t want to go into the details of what triggered the incident, but again I found myself with a blade open and wanting to self harm.

This was my second attempt at suicide.

I honestly remember very little of the incident but it was traumatic for all involved. Soon my Mother was over at my Sisters and they told me that I have to go to the hospital and that there wasn’t any way they would not let me not go.

The next thing I know, I’m being transported on a gurney to a psych ward in Chicago, and my third hospitalization in three months. The first ward transferred me to the second one–again due to insurance issues. Thank GOD because the first one looked like a preschool. Next thing I know, I’m again on a gurney being transferred to another psych ward.

I enter on the gurney and a handsome, stout older black gentleman assures me calling the third floor “up to the Penthouse!” It really was a beautiful facility. I spent about seven days there.

Most of the time I was high on Ativan shots or sleeping. It was pretty low key so I was able to really deal with myself in the way that I needed to in regards to sleeping and taking it easy.

I actually enjoyed my room, it was kind of like a penthouse room too.

I don’t remember much of my stay there because all I did was wake up, sleep, eat, bathroom, occasional groups. I had phone conversations and visits I remember vaguely.

BUT FINALLY, I switched some things up meds wise, and I started to feel HAPPY again for the first time in the longest time.

Needless to say, I am home and continuing treatment and in the process of brainstorming for a book.

I’m writing this to tell you that I tried to end my life on September 3rd and the things I have learned since then are more than I can fit in this post. It’s overwhelming to even know where to begin at how to describe or explain.

But this is only my second day out the ward, so I have to take it easy. I take each day at a time. I can only do a few things each day. I need to take rests and sometimes even naps. I can’t talk for too long or listen for too long without being overwhelmed. In fact the first night I was back I had one of the worst panic attacks I’ve had in a really long time. I was just flooded with family wanting to see me and going again from being so restricted to being so free. You really do need to transition from something like that–and I’m still transitioning. I feel like this post isn’t how I wanted it to go, but it’s what I’ve got for now.

Through out this process I realized I want to help people with substance abuse and mental illness. I want to be an educator and someone who empowers others. So many people suffer in silence. It’s OKAY. You’re not alone in your struggle and people deal with things privately behind closed doors–and we pass each other by and have no idea. Mental illness is a silent disease that is much like the wind, not easily seen outwardly but visible through behavior.

I don’t know what the future holds, but I want to start sharing more of my story with you in each and every post. I think hearing the truth and telling the truth is what sets you free.

I hope this has helped somebody.

And lastly, I realized that my life is so much bigger than my own through this entire experience. Some people mock suicide but I truly believe it’s because of their ignorance of mental illness and how the mind of someone suffering thinks.

Suicide is selfish, but it’s a very real issue that isn’t talked about OPENLY. We need to break the silence and change our perspectives on mental health in America. I hope to contribute in a major way, Lord Willing.

Hope this helps.

You are LOVED.

You are truly ADORED ABOVE.

Love, Alli

1 (800) 273-8255

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

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Stand Still

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I’m having a Carrie Bradshaw moment, and not in that Rated R kind of way. As I sat doing my daily pre-bedtime rituals, I sat there thinking a million thoughts in my head. I had this kind of agitation that only comes at certain times. You know, the kind where you know when you rest your head on your pillow at night, you know that you won’t be able to fall asleep. Immediately I knew I was supposed to write. It’s been so long that I fear my fingers have been collecting dust. My hands have been used for carrying heavy things, running from one place to the next with my role and many thoughts have come and gone without a single click to the keyboard. So much has happened since I’ve last written. You wouldn’t believe it, even if I told you.

One thing I can tell you for certain is that my work has consumed my life, and not the kind of work that I’m LIFE passionate about. What am I passionate about anymore? Sometimes it seems in life as soon as I think I’ve found direction, as I begin to see myself moving in one singular direction, something comes along and thwarts the plan and I’m left sitting in the dust trying to collect the particles that fly all around me. Does this even make sense? It’s like my life is in a perpetual standstill. Where am I going to go from here? Why am I here? Will I ever make it to where I know I am meant to go? So many people live their entire lives and never realize or act upon their calling. Here I am, a called writer, and I’ve been working to no end. Working and working and working, but not crafting my trade.

What do you do when you find yourself in that predicament?

What do you do when you don’t really know what to do? With yourself? With your life?

Honestly I have felt so lost. I am succeeding so well in my career. I was ranked #1 in my entire company for my role for the month of November, but I can tell you that on many, many occasions, I thought about ending it all. What do I have to live for? I’ve played the game of life for so long, and yes I have done many incredible things. When I look back over my life I can string a bunch of memories together that make for incredible stories. On the outside, it seems as if I have it all. I could tell story after story of miraculous moments and grandly favored experiences, where others would be in awe. I’m sure some people look at Adored Above and at my Facebook and think that life is just peachy for me. Can I let you in on a little secret? I’m one of the most talented and capable individuals I have ever met (although there are many more talented and many more capable) YET, I have no idea what to do next. And honestly, that makes my talent and abilities seem so much less than they are. How can I make a lasting impact on the World, when I can barely get through mine each day? It’s not as if I’m not able. I am. It’s just that my mind is waging a war, and the enemy is myself. One thing I can tell you, and it’s not that I have it figured out, is that your thoughts truly have a huge power over your destiny. On the day that I wanted to give up completely, I couldn’t think of anything to ease my pain and confusion. I couldn’t see my way out of the hopeless mental fog. Yet when I least expected it, I found out that I had achieved my goal without even realizing I had done it. In a moment, all of those long hours, sleepless nights, grueling shifts, miles and miles spent driving, and days I barely ate AMOUNTED to something, and something significant. Yet, even with all the success, there is something to be said about a quieted and content mind. A mind and soul at peace and at rest within oneself. I don’t claim to have all the answers. Honestly, if I had all the answers, I wouldn’t be writing out my frustrations for all to read. I would certainly be in a better position than I am today. But the fact of the matter is….

Regardless of how I feel, I have value. I may not feel valuable. Honestly, more times than not (and I am not proud to admit this) I have a hard time seeing my worth. Head knowledge is very different from heart knowledge. I can know the facts about my successes and my life, but if I don’t believe it in my heart it is just words on a page, a thought passing by like a shooting star fading out into the distance.

Every person reading this can relate to this feeling. If you can’t, I want your Wheaties for breakfast. Bottom line is that life is a crazy journey. Sometimes you can feel like you are on top of the world and the sun rises to greet you. Other days, you are as good as the gunk on the bottom of some random persons shoe. 

I feel like I’m posing a problem that I have a hard time finding a solution to. Maybe that’s part of the point? I know I’ve spent many years struggling with this, but it’s not something I want to struggle with forever. I don’t know how to get out of this rut I am in, but I know that it’s better to do something than nothing. So what do I do?

I honestly don’t know. I take life day by day at this point. Sometimes standing still is helpful and just right. Other times, standing still is just not the best route. I may not be able to climb the highest mountain in a day, but I can certainly take the first step.

I might not understand all the reasons for why things are the way they are in my life, but what I can do is take a small step to learning more, growing, and towards one of my dreams, goals or visions.

Hopefully this is helping someone, because I honestly feel like I’m rambling. Maybe today is that small step. It’s been a long time since I have written and I am rusty. But the fact that I am putting action to my future dream of writing in a tangible way today…. maybe that is the point. That small, but impactful step.

And on that note, I am going to bed.

See you soon, xo

~Alicia

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