“The advice I’d give to somebody that’s silently struggling is, you don’t have to live that way. You don’t have to struggle in silence. You can be un-silent. You can live well with a mental health condition, as long as you open up to somebody about it, because it’s really important you share your experience with people so that you can get the help that you need.” — Demi Lovato
The other night I was talking with my daughter somewhere during the conversation it turned to mental health. She already knew I was bi-polar but what I was about to tell her was that I tried to commit suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills, Amitriptyline. I also told what led up to the mental health condition I was in.
I still know the city where I was living, Cambridge, Ontario, the street I lived on, Cedar Str. Down one block was a Tim Horton’s Donut store, going in the opposite direction was a Sobey’s Grocery Store.
I can remember vividly about my first night in the Mental Health Ward there. The reason being is that during a group session they had us watch the movie “Groundhog Day”. To me it made no sense of why we were watching. It was still back then that you could smoke in the hospital. They had a dedicated room for the smokers, it usually was filled with blue smoke, the smell of nicotine heavily filled the room.
After I was discharged I just couldn’t stay in Ontario for one simple reason I didn’t want my family to see me in the mental state I was in. It was probably more like I was ashamed of myself. Growing up going to church hearing all your life that suicide was sin.
Why did I wait so long to tell my daughter? Here is some reasons for that:
- I wasn’t sure how she would react, I just wouldn’t be able to handle that she may rejected me.
- I needed to create a safe place first. Through my best friend, then I started to tell my story here on WordPress.
Having those safe places allowed me to feel that I would not be shamed. What I found was support, people who understood exactly how I was feeling for they were there themselves.
The other safe place was on the Mental Health Ward in this city. There was no pressure to talk about your feelings, yet you could, that nobody would think less of you. Among that safe place was the nurses, the aids, and of course my psychiatrist. I also knew when I was discharged that if I hit a low spot I could return to that place.
I would hope that anyone who is struggling with mental health issues has a safe place. Someone they can talk with, a shoulder to cry on. Maybe a place they can go and feel safe to talk with others in a group setting.
So dear reader breaking the news the other night lifted the heavy weight off my shoulder. For the response that came back to me was, “do not beat yourself up for it”!