There I stood amidst the storm, gasping for air. Curled into a ball on the living room floor, I wept, wondering what it would feel like to be whole again, to smile sincerely again, and to find joy in my life again. Depression. An unceasing battle I had watched impact so many of those around me, but never expected to face myself.
Most would say I am quite the character – a witty goofball, life of the party, social butterfly, positive, spirited, kind-hearted, empath; a friend to all, lover of animals, babies, Jesus, and LIFE. The girl who has endless blessings to be thankful for: a nursing career, a supportive circle, a furry best friend, the luxury to travel, and the list goes on. Yet, none of those things could prevent depression from cozying up and settling in.
As an enneagram two, the helper/giver personality type, my soul purpose is to help and give to others. It isn’t just giving up your umbrella on a rainy day or being a shoulder to cry on; for an enneagram two, helping and giving to others is a way of life, so much that it can leave their cup completely empty. One of the biggest challenges for an enneagram two is letting go of their pride and asking for help. The day I finally pushed aside my pride and sought help was the day that changed my life forever.
When It Rains, It Pours
The years 2020 and 2021 brought hardships for many. For me, they were some of the hardest years of my life. We all know the saying, “when it rains it pours,” and let me tell you, life REALLY can pour when it wants to.
When 2020 rolled around, the new year had me beaming with excitement to dive into a new year’s resolution – insert hashtag #NewYearNewMe. I was ready for 2020 to be my best year yet. I signed up for Burn Bootcamp and was anxious to focus on my physical health again. Three weeks into 2020, my clumsy self and a dumbbell put an abrupt halt to my resolution fun. It turns out crisscross jumping jacks and a dumbbell don’t pair well together because they sent me snap, crackle, popping backwards onto a pile of dumbbells, leaving me with a fresh new cankle to show off. Hardship number one, check.
Next came February, the month of all the mushy gushy stuff that took off with a roaring start – ending my three-and-a-half-year relationship. Hardship number two, check and check.
Then came March. Would everybody please join me in welcoming our newest holiday, known as COVID-19. The “holiday” that involves mask mandates, isolation, limited social gatherings, maximum capacity intensive care units, medical superheroes, and new vaccines. Hardship number three: check, check, check. I’m sure by now you get the gist.
As the year went on, I tried to live my normal life, but what was considered “normal” anymore amongst a worldwide pandemic? Then, in November, illness followed me right through my townhome doors. The Coronavirus entered not only my body but now my home and didn’t even ask my permission. How rude! This is when everything hit and the walls began to close in on me.
Suffering can be identified as a plethora of different things and is defined by the struggles and hardships that an individual faces. The suffering I experienced was all very unknown and new to me, and it brought on a fear that I never had to face on my own before. Every aspect of my life seemed to be falling apart. After being sick for weeks, I continued with post-COVID syndrome (brain fog, fatigue, migraines, cough, insomnia, vertigo, etc.). My family and I lost my aunt. The job I prayed and dreamed about my entire life no longer brought me happiness. I dreaded the place I called home because of the relationship with my roommate. Financially, I was struggling because I wasn’t working full-time and ran out of short-term disability and paid time off. My physical health was completely neglected because I couldn’t find the energy to love myself with everything else going on. Emotionally and mentally, I was drained as I worked through self-discovery and recently came out as part of the LGBTQ+ community. I felt as if I was sitting stagnant in a room as the walls around me lit up in flames. I was drowning in hardships; I was drowning in life.
It was at that point that I no longer felt life was worth it. I no longer felt like fighting to wake up and get out of bed every day. I felt the only way to take my pain, hurt, and sadness away was if I no longer was here. I later learned that in that moment of fear and defeat, I was very wrong, and there was a whole lifetime ahead waiting for me if I could just hold on and fight a bit longer.
Finding Hope and Help
On February 2, 2021, I spoke with a woman who probably didn’t realize the impact she made on my life. She saw beauty in my struggle, she gave me hope and faith in my future, and didn’t give false promise that the road would be easy, but that it would be worth it. For far too long, I let the stigmatism of mental health run my life. I didn’t hold the reins over my life, society did, and that alone was crippling. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder and was prescribed an antidepressant. A year ago, I chose to seek out help and in doing so I saved my life. Today, I hold the power for my own life. I will continue to stand tall and be a voice for the future. I will keep sharing my story of self-discovery, growth, and my continual fight to overcome mental illness in hopes it inspires someone else to take the reins and find hope.
This blog article was contributed by Taryn Metz, Nursing Supervisor for the Southeast Regional Crisis Center
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 45 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.