So many people don’t know that those with epilepsy often suffer from depression and suicidal thoughts often come with depression. As an epileptic, I cannot deny this connection as I too have struggled with depression most of my life and my epilepsy played a roll in that struggle. Epilepsy and Depression are like two big bad monsters that team up on you and drag you down with everything they have. Sometimes it feels like you are drowning. I will never forget the day these two big bad monsters almost won.
That day is still crystal clear in mind. I can remember as if it happened just yesterday. It was in high school. At this point my epilepsy was uncontrolled and I felt like this huge burden on other people. I believed I was nothing but a burden to the people in my life and I believed that everyone would be so much happier if I just died. I pictured smiling faces at my funeral.
My parents had no idea how I really felt. I did a really good job of painting that phony smile on my face and pretending I was okay. The truth was I was anything but okay. I was stuck in the dark and felt worthless, hopeless, and like a problem. I thought I was a problem that needed to be taken care of. So I had been thinking of taking my own life…a lot. I had it all planned.
So one day after school the pieces came together and I decided it was time. I walked into the kitchen with its floral wallpaper, harvest yellow countertops, and white laminate flooring. I walked over to the drawer by the sink next to the window. The drawer was old and had been broken because forks tended to get stuck and prevent the drawer from opening. This time however the drawer opened with ease. I grabbed a paring knife and looked it over.
I then took a deep breath and prepared myself for what I was about to do. I told myself this was a good thing. Everyone would be so much happier. I then put the blade against my wrist and looked up. That’s when I saw my father pull up in the driveway through the kitchen window. He was home a little early. Clearly, today was not the right day. So I put the knife away, grabbed a snack, and ran into the family room to watch TV. I pretended as if nothing just happened. My parents never knew.
I decided it could wait a few days and I continued on like I was okay. I was going to patiently wait for a good time to present itself. A time I wouldn’t be interrupted and I could solve everyone’s problem. At this point, it’s quite clear my view of the world and the people in my life was warped. I just wasn’t capable of feeling or seeing how much they cared for me. It’s like when you look at your image in a funhouse mirror. It’s warped and funny looking and if you didn’t know better you might think that’s how you really look. My mind made me see the relationships in my life through the lens of a funhouse mirror and I didn’t realize that’s what was going on.
Any good mental health professional could tell you the above mental state I shared with you put me in a very high-risk category. If I had been open about my feelings and thoughts it is very likely mental health professionals would have pushed to have me hospitalized and put on suicide watch. I had thought about suicide, I planned it out, and most important of all I had access and means to carry it out. That is about as high risk as you can get, but God used those few days he had to reach me.
God knew I was hiding these feelings well. He also knew I wasn’t going to open up about it and so using another person wasn’t possible. I never would have been open to another person. My ability to trust people was nearly gone because of bullying in the seventh grade.
So it was one day on a walk home from school that a thought I was not capable of popped into my head. A line of thought that I just wasn’t mentally healthy enough to have myself. I like to think it was God whispering in my ear. The thought was:
“What about your parents? They love you. Wouldn’t your death devastate them? Do you really think your parents would be happy to bury their own child?”
At that moment it was like a light suddenly shine down into that darkness I had been stuck in for so long. I realized I couldn’t do that to my parents. Killing myself was fine when I thought I was doing them a favor, but to realize this might hurt them…well it changed things. I was going to do it under the misguided notion that the world would be better without me. On that day I made a promise. I promised to just focus on breathing and living one moment at a time.
The depression was still soul-crushing but I had that thought of the pain my parents would endure if I was gone that kept me going. It was hard and unfair, but to my surprise eventually, God lifted me up out of that darkness. It didn’t happen overnight. It wasn’t easy. It was hard and I confess I have drifted there a few times since then, but never to the point of suicide like I was then. God never lets me stay there long.
So if you are someone with epilepsy thinking they just want to end it all and make everyone’s life easier. Hear me when I say don’t.
- You will be missed by someone. You just can’t see it right now.
- The darkness can’t last forever. The sun has to come up sometime.
- Don’t make my mistake. Ask for help. I see a therapist now and it is by far one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. There is no shame in finding someone to help you through it.
If you are the loved one of someone with epilepsy. Don’t ever assume they know how much you care. Make sure you tell them, show them, and even pray for them. They could just be really good at hiding that sadness like I was. Not everyone who feels that is able to hear God whispering in their ear. Even if they do, not everyone is willing to listen or believe him.
Whichever end you are on just know I care. I care about your suffering through uncontrolled seizures. I care that you may be trapped drowning in the dark like I once was. I care that you love that person with epilepsy. I care that showing your support can be like climbing a mountain with no end in sight. I care and you all are in my prayers. You are not alone.
If you have epilepsy and would like to share your story here on this blog please feel free to message me on Facebook! If you care for someone with epilepsy and wish to share your story message me on Facebook. I would love to work something out with you! If you wish to help spread awareness to this issue please share this post and check out the epilepsy awareness swag shop under the home drop down menu up top! Have a blessed day!