I talk about a lot of different aspects of mental illness and recovery on this site. Some are based on personal experience, some are based on clinical research, some are based on the experiences of others, and some are a combination of sources. Yet sometimes, even when it isn’t my story, the post can hit closer to home than I expect.
This sometimes happens for me in my recovery. Some innocent, unexpected thing will trigger me, creating a foothold for my demons to gain traction. And while I can’t speak for all those living with mental illness, I know from conversations with others that I am not the only one.
This month I have been posting a lot about suicide because September is Suicide Prevention Month. Some of these posts have hit close to home as I reflect on the fact that at my lowest moments I was passively suicidal and as I recognize how easily I could have slipped even further. Because during that time I isolated from others instead of talking about the darkness that was threatening to consume me. It is terrifying to think of what could have happened. Even now, with the medication and therapy and support systems I have in place, it scares me to think just how dark the darkness can get.
Being honest about that is important for me. It lets others know what I have been through. And hopefully, it lets others who might be on their own dark ledge know that they aren’t alone.
Having things hit close to home, having things trigger me, that is part of living with my demons, the demons of depression and anxiety. Knowing about it makes it easier to recognized how to manage it when the darkness creeps out and threatens to pull me down. Writing about it makes me accountable to the fact that this is something I am dealing with. It reminds me that those feelings will pass, but that maybe it is a sign I should be reaching out for support. Because living with demons, having life hit close to home, these things are nothing to be ashamed of. Yet knowing that there is a way I can fight back is important, and if it is something that you need to hear too then let me repeat it. There is no shame in having something hit close to home. There is no shame in having something affect you. But there is a light in the darkness, resources out there that can help.
Because when the demons hit close to home, there is always the possibility for you to hit back and those that will help you do so.