I saw the above post on the gram and I’m not going to lie. I chuckled. Hard.
I laughed because jokes are the funniest when they are true and this was very true for me.
I had survived suicidal depression to be present for this pandemic.
Only I was glad to be here.
From that suicidal depression my life had changed in so many positive ways.
People kept making let’s go back to 2019 jokes and I knew I wanted to stay right here.
Before I begin, if you are depressed or suicidal please ask and seek help. Call a hotline, learn mindfulness practices, see a licensed therapist, seek spiritual guidance.
Let me tell you about how I sought out all these.
Working Through Depression
I was depressed in the Fall of 2019. Functionally depressed, but depressed still. I went to work. I showered. At my lowest point I was in therapy, going to the gym regularly, but I was a little absent in my spiritual life because I wasn’t attending my church (another story for another time).
A moment happened that made me realize I was in trouble. I knew I had to take action. I had been talking in a way that was concerning to friends. My friend told me to schedule an emergency session with my therapist who I had just seen a few days ago. Honestly, I didn’t even know I could do that. I called and she had a spot open for the next day.
I arrived at my therapist’s office that morning and she said “what’s up?” I told her I was thinking of killing myself. I told her that I didn’t have a plan. Due to my time as a residence director and suicide awareness trainings, I knew the real trouble is when you have a plan. The idea of suicide lingered longer than it ever had before, and I was starting to think I needed a plan, hence why I knew it was bad.
I determined my job had to go and I had to leave the place I was currently residing with my parents.
We had our session and afterwards my therapist asked me how I felt now. I said the same. Suicidal.
She replied, “well now I can’t let you leave.” I panicked. For the first time in a long time I had plans in the evening that I was excited about, to attend a live basketball game, to hang with friends. I hadn’t been to a live sporting event in a while and I was genuinely excited to go. My mind raced and I thought how am I going to get out of this?
My therapist called a mobile crisis unit. They asked my age, 31 at the time. They said they couldn’t come. I can’t recall their excuse but it was a poor one. Something told me it was my age, but again from another training I attended I know this is the sweet spot, early 30s when someone is likely to kill themselves. So why wasn’t the mobile crisis unit coming? My therapist told me I had to take an ambulance. I told her that’s not happening as I was ever conscious of ambulance costs, really health care costs in general. So she asked me, what are we going to do…
I thought about it and came up with a brilliant solution. I told her I was going to call my friend who is in law enforcement and he will come get me. My plan was for him to get me but I figured he’d release me once we left her office.
Reaching a Breaking Point
He came to get me and didn’t let me slide as I thought. He heard what my therapist said and I was released into his custody. I was supposed to go to the hospital and call her.
We went to brunch. He had plans and didn’t intend to let me out of his sight until I was at the hospital.
(It wasn’t bottomless, I wasn’t coping with alcohol.)
My friend returned me back to my car and I convinced him to let me stay out tonight as I had plans and he could take me to the hospital the next day. He agreed. I was relieved. I wasn’t trying to be slick. I actually wanted to go out. I liked that I was excited to be going somewhere and attending an activity I’d enjoy. To feel happiness.
I never ended up at the game. The game was cancelled. My homegirl happened to call and said she’d treat me to a massage because she knew how I had been feeling. We linked. We got massages and then she pressed me about what I was going to do next. I said I was unsure I would probably go to my brother’s house. I was not sure if I was actually going to go but I was convincing enough.
My friend departed and said she’d check in. She texted me not even an hour later asking where I was and what was I doing. I explained I was eating nuggets in a fast food restaurant parking lot crying. At that point I realized how bad things were and I told her I was driving myself to the hospital right then and now.
She asked if I was sure, I said I was good and went. They took all my belongings and bagged them up. During intake I told the nurse how I was feeling. That I was suicidal. After listening to me she determined it would be a good idea for me to stay on a voluntary basis. She felt I needed a break from my life and would benefit from the services provided.
I made comments about insurance and work. Trivial things that I was weighing against my personal safety. Life and death. I was worried about work and the cost of the hospital stay. The doctor left to check if my insurance would cover. While she was gone I had determined I would stay regardless of what she said upon return. She said my stay would be covered as it is a preventative measure since it was voluntary. Hallelujah, but also does that mean people who are involuntary have to pay?
I obliged. She was black and I felt like she listened and cared and earnestly wanted to see me do better.
I was in the hospital for 5 days. Every night I prayed Psalm 23 to fall asleep.
I went to groups. I participated in activities. Especially when they played guy games with the Wii, that was my only form of exercise as I was missing the gym and my Fitbit bad. I made friends. A woman about 20 years older than me. We ate meals together. Went to some groups together. She constantly told me she liked my energy and I liked hers. My friends came to see me. They brought me food and clothes, thank you my loves.
She let him go not because I was triggered by his behavior. She did it for her. That’s dope.
That time gave me what quarantine is giving people now. Time to reflect. Time to be serious about what I thought was wrong in my life and how I was going to fix it. I determined my job had to go and I had to leave the place I was currently residing with my parents.
My work environment was toxic. In many ways. Upper management, above my direct supervisors, were practically slave drivers. I dreaded going to work. I didn’t feel supported or valued. Everyone complained about the work environment and when people tried to do things about it they were vilified. It was wildly toxic.
Changing my employment would take time. The most immediate change was my home. While I was in the hospital a bunch of my friends offered to let me stay with them. It was not a secret my home was not a good place for me.
Once out of the hospital, I had a talk with my brother (who lived outside the home and was there for support) and my mom who had been on vacation outside the country during my time in the hospital. I explained what happened, my hospital stay, what was the trigger that made me go, my dad. She stared at us blankly. I tried to tiptoe around and be polite about what I needed to say. My brother came with straight heat and ether. Two methods to deliver the same message and she just stared at us. Maybe she was processing, I thought? Either way we went back to eating dinner and I knew I could no longer live in her home and needed a plan asap to get out.
The next day, I went to work and went to my outpatient appointment with a nurse practitioner. After my appointment, I was headed to the gym. Regular stuff. My mom called and said I needed to get a copy of new keys to get home. I asked why and she said she changed the locks. Again, I asked why she said she kicked my dad out. She had finally seen the light. I felt so many emotions. Sad because I knew that must have been challenging for her in ways I’ll never know.
This is something I prayed about and cried over for years. I prayed so hard. I cried so hard. My pastors, ministers, and fellow church goers, begged me to release it and give it to God. I tried. I was hurt. In the hospital a doctor told me that it was their relationship. Why was I so impacted by it? That was my mom’s partner but he IS my father. He turned into someone else. He was supposed to be a role model to my siblings and I. An example of how a future mate would treat me. Of course I was mostly hurt because he was doing this to my mom but at the end of the day they do not have to have a relationship and he is always going to be my dad. She let him go not because I was triggered by his behavior. She did it for her. That’s dope.
We ended our phone call and I wanted to run to her. I pumped my brakes. Me first, I said, recalling that was another habit I needed to change. Putting myself on the back burner. I went to the gym.
Afterwards, I scooped my brother and we went to go comfort her. Okay, we sprayed her with money but that’s the same thing. (The money spray in my insta highlights https://www.instagram.com/s/aGlnaGxpZ2h0OjE3OTE2NDg2NjY3MTc5Njk5?igshid=1c393so183fkb&story_media_id=2180385115535193027 ) This was a new era for our family. One where the distance between toxic parties could allow for healing.
I no longer had to move. So I tackled the next thing. When I left the hospital I had already told myself I was not going back to the job I had at the time in January, after winter recess. I trusted and believed God for this.
I applied like crazy. By the end of the month I had met my goal of walking 12K steps for 20 days out of the month and applied to a job and had a phone interview for that position and scheduled the in person interview. In December, which I might as well start calling my miracle month, I had applied to more jobs and scheduled more interviews. Within a week I had completed 3 more interviews. Two were the in person interviews for a role I really wanted. The other was for a role within my company at the time and there were too many red flags including a low salary and I told God I really needed double for my trouble. After having the second interview with the role I was really interested in I was nervous that I was too comfortable and repetitive. I was being harsh with my critique. However, God’s grace is sufficient! I landed my dream role with a major financial increase. Although I did ask for more (I encourage everyone to negotiate for their salary requirements, as women we never do this).
An opportunity to work with students from the city I love, my hometown. Impacting graduation rates for students who attend high school in the same district I went to school. I was ecstatic. I muted my phone and dropped to my knees and praised God. I was getting a major financial increase and working with students directly to ensure they apply, enroll, and persist through college.
Besides, getting double for my trouble, the true lesson here is God does what he does for our good! Years ago a friend told me about the organization and his role and I was interested from then. He called me shortly after I left the hospital to let me know they were hiring. A few months prior to this, I was trying to do work similar for free! At the time I was desperate to get back to working with students in person and was willing to volunteer to satisfy this need. So see, 2019 was not something I wanted to go back to. God had delivered me. He rescued me from myself and from everything trying to take me out.
So, I say I have no fear because like Yvonne Orji always says on Jesus n Jollof “I had seen what God can do.” A pastor from my church had told me a while back that I would recover all and this was the fruit from that word. I was getting peace in my home. Something I prayed for for more than ten years. I was restored in a large way financially. && Today even the alopecia I was suffering from has hair sprouting from those dead areas.
I give God all the praise. God has kept and healed me.
Although 2020 had a rough start. My aunt passed on January 2, the same day I started my new gig. World War 3 almost happened. The Rona hit and has taken lives of people close to me and parents of my closest friends. Despite all of this I’m still staying in 2020. I’ve seen what God can do and I will never doubt that all things are working for my good (Romans 8:28) ever again.