While depression is common in RA and other autoimmune diseases, my battle with severe depression came long before my diagnosis.
This post is probably the hardest one I've ever written. While I love to write, my writing usually revolves around facts or fiction. Rarely do I write anything as deeply personal as this but I felt compelled to share my story.
My battle with depression began when I was in junior high. It had nothing to do with life circumstances or having had a bad childhood. Just the opposite. I had loving parents who were always there for me. My family was a good, decent family.
So often, when someone is depressed and commits suicide, we hear people wondering if they have been abused or unloved. In my situation, that was not the case. I was not abused and I was very loved.
People also say, "If only the kids could see this problem is temporary." For me, there were no problems that caused me to be depressed. It had nothing to do with a boy or with other kids picking on me.
I just felt inconsequential. No purpose. Useless. I felt that every breath I took was a waste of oxygen. While I had friends I ran around with and I enjoyed life in many ways, in the back of my mind there was always that thought that my life held no meaning.
In high school, the depression continued and I became suicidal. I thought about ways to kill myself but I didn't want to hurt my parents so I never followed through on any of those thoughts.
After high school, I got married. Marriage is difficult under the best circumstances but when two immature kids get married, it's impossible. As my marriage fell apart, my feelings of uselessness increased.
I was in nursing school and working full-time trying to make a life for myself but I still felt that I was a waste of breath. During this time is when I really began to think about suicide. In my mind, I thought if I could make my death look like an accident, my parents wouldn't be as hurt.
Late one night I drove down the interstate and decided I couldn't take my life anymore. I was going to drive straight into the pylons holding up the overpass. My parents knew I drove too fast and they would think it was just an accident. Right? They would be okay.
As I drove towards the overpass, gaining speed, A voice spoke to my heart. I knew the voice was God's. The voice told me that I wouldn't die but I would be a vegetable that my parents had to care for. For the rest of my life.
I pulled over on the shoulder and sat and cried. After all, if I was a waste of breath and a burden when I could take care of myself, how much more of a waste would I be with my parents having to tend to my every need?
During this time, I began to see that suicide would hurt those I loved the most and I began to understand that if God made me, formed me in the womb with His own hands, I could not be a waste of breath.
I recovered from my depression with God's help and the help of a wonderful, Christian counselor. He helped me see that my life did have meaning and purpose.
If you are struggling with depression, please seek help. Reach out. There are people who care about you and would be devastated if you disappeared from their lives.