Every day is a new day, a new chance, a new start. A gift if you will. It seems to me there are three types of days. Some days are mediocre, with not much happening in them. They are the types of days that blend together and don’t really stand out. Then there are the really fun, happy, exciting days. Those are the types of days that you freeze time with pictures and look back on and smile about all the memories you created. The last type of days are the horrible, scary days that nobody would ever take pictures of, but they still stay with you. Their memory forever etched in your brain. March 11, 2011 is one of those days for me.
That is the day that changed everything; my life, my relationships, my story.
It’s a story that I have just begun to tell people. Right after it first happened I was scared that people might look at me differently or judge me based on what happened that day. I was also very fragile and didn’t know how much more I could handle. I had to go through a healing process before I could talk to people about what happened that day. I’m still working on how to tell people about it, but I’m going to try to do my best for you guys because I think it is a story that needs to be told.
The morning of March 11, 2011 started out like any other day. I stopped for coffee on the way to work and I seemed normal to anybody that was around me. Little did they know, I was shutting down on the inside. I was really good at making things seem peachy fine when they really weren’t. My morning at work went by like a breeze, and then I got a phone call from my mom that crumbled the small pillar of bullshit that I was teetering on. I’m not ready to tell what that phone call was about, but just know that most people would have shrugged it off and moved on. Not me though, I went numb.
I went into my director’s office and told her I had an emergency come up and had to leave right away. I practically ran out of the building when she said a hesitant okay. I climbed in my car and drove to a bridge with every intent of ending my life. After parking, I sat in my car for a while with my phone in my hand. I couldn’t just leave without telling them goodbye. So out went a few text messages, saying I love you or thanks for being such an awesome friend or you are going to make an amazing mom. I then placed my phone upside down on the seat and climbed out.
I was going to jump, but decided there were too many people and somebody was sure to stop me. So I climbed back into my car and drove down into the canyon trying to come up with a plan B. Unbeknownst to me, my big sister figured there was something not right about my message and sent out the masses to find me. There were cops all over the town trying to track me down. My best friends and roommates were also driving everywhere on the lookout. I vaguely remember hearing my phone buzzing and ringing every other minute, but at that point I wasn’t thinking. I had one goal and I didn’t care about anything else.
I’m going to skip a bit, because I have only ever told the doctors and therapist what my plan B consisted of. That plan wasn’t working fast enough, so at that point I didn’t care what happened I was going to just jump. I got in the car and started to drive back up the canyon. Half way up, my best friend passed me in her car. It sunk in that I was going to do this I needed to hurry. I made it to the top of the canyon and had parked when a friend got the passenger side door open and that’s when I snapped. I couldn’t look anywhere except the steering wheel and I started shaking. My door was opened by a police officer and she helped me out. My friends were all there, surrounded by police. I couldn’t bring myself to look at any of them. Their faces were so sad and broken.
I was placed in a police car and taken to the emergency room. It was mass chaos for the next 3 hours. I willingly admitted myself to a behavioral health clinic, which was probably the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but if I wasn’t going to do it they were going to do it for me. I was more worried about my family and friends at that point though. They were trying to hold back the tears but it didn’t work, I could still see the pain I had caused them all. I had to say goodbye at the hospital, because I was transferred from there to the behavioral center down the road.
My stay at the center lasted 5 days. Those 5 days were the scariest, loneliest, but best days of my life. I was placed in a room with security cameras my first 3 days, because I had come in as a suicide attempt. The nurses checked on us every 15 minutes. My first night there I lost it. I cried until I ran out of tears. All my possessions had been taken when I first got there, and I had to change into blue hospital clothes. We weren’t allowed to wear shoes, only socks. It was my own personal hell.
So if it was my own personal hell, you may ask why I classify them as my best days. Well because in those five days, I had to come clean. I had to open up and let a lifetime of secrets out into the open. You see, I had been hiding the fact from everybody that I suffer from depression. It started when I was a kid, right after my parents’ divorce. It slowly got worse as I got older. The counselors told me that I was a ticking time bomb; it was just a matter of time until I attempted something like what I did.
It came as a shock to my family and friends. They were used to seeing the Katee that put up an amazing facade that tricked them into thinking I was happy and content with life. I was a master at faking smiles and laughs and pretending everything was as it should be. I guess it was just easier that way. Then I wouldn’t have to share my emotions and get all sappy with people. My father raised me to be tough. If I was ever hurt or cried, he would tell me that I was tough and essentially to get over it. So why would I want to tell people that even though I seemed carefree and happy, that behind all that crap I was a lost, sad, miserable young girl.
Being in the behavioral health center was like taking a freezing cold shower; it woke me up to my life. I was ready to admit that maybe I wasn’t as tough as I thought. The therapist diagnosed me with major, long term depression with a side of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). My depression is the type that will come and go for long periods of time that will last my whole life. Sometimes there are triggers that will bring it on, other times it just hits me. I was placed on an anti-depressant my second day there. They monitored the side effects and me to see if it was making a difference.
On day five I was released back into the world to see if I would sink or swim. My mom and sister came and picked me up. They were different, we all were. My roommates/best friends were scared of what to say around me. They all treated me as though I was going to break at any second. They were afraid to leave me alone. It was almost like I had never left the center, always being checked on and monitored. I know that they did it because they loved me and didn’t want me to go anywhere, but it was hard to see that as a good thing.
Over the months that followed, I had friends abandon me and people snicker behind my back. At that point though, I knew that if I could survive everything else, I could survive that. Things slowly went back to the way they had been, minus the fact that I couldn’t hide anymore. People wouldn’t let me. I saw a counselor every week. I was diligently taking my anti-depressant. I felt like things were better, which they slowly were.
Now days I wake up and thank God that I am still here. That day could have ended completely different and the people I love would have been telling a completely different story. My guilt for what I did to them will never fade, never go away. I hurt them, and thinking about that tears me apart inside. I’ve slowly heard all of their stories from that day. They aren’t fun to hear, but I have to hear them. I have to know what I did.
I tell you this story, not to get sympathy or attention but instead to tell you all that it’s okay to let people in. If you suffer from something don’t let it be like me… all alone. Being alone in it all is a scary place to be. In my case letting people in, although it wasn’t willingly, was the best thing that could happen to me. I know some people say depression isn’t a real thing that people are just trying to get attention. Or that what I’m feeling will just go away, but I can tell you it doesn’t It’s an everyday battle to just get through. Yes, the medication will ease some of the depression, but you still have to choose to fight. You have to fight for what matters, and although it gets dim at times, you can’t stop fighting.