Those words in the title hit hard.
But I’m not going to hold back.
Depression is nothing to be ashamed of.
We’re surrounded by people who are suffering in silence from depression and don’t even know it.
I’ve been depressed for a long time now. Obviously, after the whole pregnant with cancer thing, naturally, I’d go through depression. But even before that, I suffered from it–particularly after Brody was born.
But 2016 awakened a much deeper, darker kind of depression inside of me.
It’s interesting because when I was diagnosed with leukemia, I found myself so angry reading news stories about people who killed themselves, committed suicide or faked having cancer for attention and money/donations.
Here I am fighting for my life and you want to give up your healthy life by killing yourself? I just couldn’t understand.
I never wanted to live more than I did when I was told I might die. Of course, I’d feel that way.
Reading those stories made my heart feel like it was wrapped in barbed wire, squeezing so tight I could hardly breathe.
“If you want to fake cancer for money and attention, here I’ll give it to you,” I thought. As if there was a way to do that…
I’m fighting for one more minute, a few hours, a couple more months, or–hopefully–years to be here, to be alive. I want to watch my kids grow up. I want to sit on the front porch old and wrinkled and look over at Klay sitting next to me with gray hair and old-man-like-bushy eyebrows. I wanted my life, a full life.
I prayed to God. “Please just give me a few more years,” I begged.
That was my state of mind. This disease was going to kill me. I knew that. I could accept that. But not then. I couldn’t go then. I needed more time.
Bex wasn’t even outside of my womb, and I’d been given the worst news–I had leukemia.
I may not be here in a few months.
I may not raise my baby.
I may never get out of the hospital and play with Brody again.
I was drowning in these thoughts every minute of every day.
Here’s the thing: I’m not exactly an optimist and I’ve never really been much of one.
So, I have cancer? Yeah, I’m not too positive about coming out on the other end of that tunnel.
I wanted more time and I was never going to take it for granted ever again. Ever. That was for sure. I was going to fight, but I still had that voice telling me, the worst thing was going to happen. The unknown frightened me.
Life the past two years were hard, difficult, busy and overwhelming. But in the moment, I just went through the motions of life–going to oncology appointments two to three times a week, doing treatments, getting infusions, playing with the kids, house work, random hospital stays–but I wasn’t emotionally there; I’d checked out.
I definitely had my heartbreaking, couldn’t-see-the-light-of-day moments and breakdowns.
When I was in the hospital for my stem cell transplant, the depression started to bury me. Every day I was there, often during the day alone (because everyone worked or was watching my kids or theirs), it felt like life continued to throw more pain (emotionally & physically) my way. Tossing more dirt–more emotional and physical pain and more health complications–on top of me that weighed me down. I didn’t know if I’d ever be able to come up for air.
That was hard. REALLY hard.
But the depression I’ve experienced this year is like the Olympic-level of depression. It was so strong and so powerful, it’d kick anyone’s ass. And mine was up on the chopping block.
I wanted to die.
I thought my family–my kids and Klay–would be better off without me.
It doesn’t help when your kid doesn’t want to go to his mama and wants his daddy all the time. I felt useless. I still do.
I don’t feel like I contribute anything to this family and that hurts.
I don’t have an income, my kids love my husband more than me (since I haven’t exactly been the active parent playing with them), I barely have enough energy to clean, do laundry, feed the kids and this weighs heavily on me.
I want Klay to come home from work to a clean house and a wife cooking dinner. He deserves that. I want to do that for him. And when I don’t, I feel guilty.
I feel like he thinks “what has she done all day?”
And sometimes I haven’t done anything at all. I’ve laid on the couch and watched movies with the kids or been on the computer.
And I don’t like that person. I don’t want to be that person. I don’t want my kids to remember or think of me being in bed all the time. I don’t want that.
But I feel guilt every single day.
Klay deserves more; he deserves to have a “normal” life with a wife who doesn’t get sick and have to go to the hospital all the time. He should have a wife that doesn’t have anxiety attacks and hide under the table at his parents’ house (yep, happened on Christmas Day, read more here).
He deserves so much more than what I can give him. He does. He’s the absolute best person I know. This man… he’s incredible.
I love him so much that I’ve tried to push him away. I’ve tried to tell him to leave me. I’ve tried to make him go. But he continues to stand by my side and to walk with me through the hard times, no matter how ugly they get. He has loved me fat, skinny, hair and no hair–and has seen me at my ugliest moments, the most difficult moments–and he’s still here.
Just because my cancer is gone doesn’t mean life goes back to usual. It may be gone, but the effect of it is still vigorously giving me hell.
I had my transplant in April 2015, and it takes about two years to fully recover from it. After year one, you’re supposed to start feeling more like yourself. But my post-transplant recovery has been nothing like the “textbook” recovery.
I feel guilty for my family. Every time I get a cold or a cough or pneumonia, their lives are turned upside down. My kids aren’t with their parents. My parents are taking care of my kids. And Klay is taking off work to be at the hospital with me.
It’s gut-wrenching watching the people you love having to take care of you all the time. It sucks to make them watch you get sick and uproot their life for the moment to care for you and yours. It’s not fair. None of this is. And that guilt weighs heavy on my heart.
I think that’s the worst part of all this–the guilt I feel. I’m a burden to those I love.
There were many times in 2016 I SERIOUSLY contemplated SUICIDE. I was tired of hurting those who love me by being weak and ill.
I thought about how to do it. I did.
Razors in the tub…
Overdose on pills…
Make a noose out of an extension cord…
Drive my car into a tree…
I thought about it for days; I couldn’t snap out of it.
One day, I stared and stared at the razor in the tub.
I thought “Ok, you need to do it. You need to go,” and just when I was reaching for the razor, the shower curtain started moving.
Beckham’s head poked around the curtain and said “Hiiiiii” with the biggest, sweetest grin that I’ve ever seen.
I lost it.
Tears streamed down my face and Bex, sweet Bex, put his tiny hand on my shoulder trying to console me.
How could I be so selfish?
My baby could have walked in on me in a tub full of blood.
He could have been without a mother.
Would he wonder if I didn’t love him enough to stay?
I couldn’t do it.
I couldn’t go through with it.
I couldn’t kill myself.
Life has been dark for me.
Surviving cancer is only the beginning of this journey.
This disease, it changes you forever. I will never have a clean bill of health. The chemo I received has already affected my health, my vision, my brain–my everything.
Although I’m in remission, my battle is not over. I continue to face hardships every day.
I know this is very serious. And I’ve sought out help. And, I’m not afraid to say that.
I’m not scared to share this with people I know, people I don’t talk to anymore, or people I’ve never met.
I hope this post sheds some light on this serious topic. There is a stigma that comes with depression. Many people are ashamed and some don’t understand that you can be happy in your life, happy with your family but the real battle is being happy with yourself.
Depression is scary and very real.
If you’re depressed, I hope you get some insight from this post.
Don’t be like me. Don’t do it. Don’t try to do it. Don’t think about doing it. Tell someone what you’re feeling.
Your life is precious. People love you. And if you don’t think so, contact me and we will go through this together.
Fighting the fight,