Worth Living Ambassador Jessie Fawcett
Hello, my name is Jessie and I’m a student attending Ryerson University to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. I am dedicated to being able to work in a juvenile detention centre in order to help aid youths who are struggling with their own lives. Mental health has always had a huge impact on my life and I’m finally starting to be able to share my story in hopes to help others who are also struggling with the same issues as well as shedding some light onto mental health.
Falling Back into the Darkness
I sit here reminiscing about not that long ago. I’m lying on my bed with my headphones on and the music blaring. What am I hoping to accomplish by doing this? Having it so loud that I go deaf and make my ears bleed or am I doing this to block out the rest of the world once again? I think that the second option is the proper answer. But why am I resorting to doing this again? Why am I falling down the same hole that I fought so vigorously to get myself out of? The simple answer I guess is that life isn’t just one simple road to recovery.
The road isn’t straight and narrow; it has pot holes, curves, and dead-ends which make it necessary to find different paths to reach your destination. To further explain, lying in my bed and listening to music seems innocent, does it not? For most people, it is completely normal to do so. However, for me, it can be dangerous. You see, when I was deep in the midst of my depression, I would resort to my room to hide from the world. My room was my safe haven. Unfortunately, it was also the place where most of my misery occurred. In being in my room (which is located in the basement as the only bedroom) , I felt utterly alone. So much so, that loneliness was usually the only thing that I could feel when I was in my bedroom.
How did I get out of this rut before? I had help of course but I found things to do. Usually physical activity, as in walking, curling, and volleyball. I put a lot of effort into not being in my room as often as well as not being alone. Sadly, my experience after returning home for the summer has not been helpful towards my mental health recovery. At the end of the last term, I remember being so excited and highly anticipated going home for the summer. I thought it would be great to be home and being with my people once again. I was mistaken because I made a small miscalculation; the majority of my friends have gone down different paths now and no longer live close-by. Therefore, I find myself in solitude once again. I’m not saying that I was fully recovered but I have definitely taken many steps back in my recovery since returning home a month ago. It’s truly discouraging, frustrating, and mentally painful to feel yourself going back into the place you tried so hard to escape. I can feel the darkness creeping back towards me and unless I do something about it, I am going to be right back where I started.
You see, it’s quite difficult to find the motivation to go out and do things when you’re always alone, your friends are gone, or your friends are too busy for you. ‘Why can’t you do things by yourself?’ is what I am often asked. If you’re going to the movies, would you prefer going alone or with a friend or a group of friends? Most people would prefer going with their friend(s). Even things as remotely small as going for walks is something I feel that I need to do with someone else. I’m alone all of the time now. I went from being surrounded by thousands of people every day for eight months when I was in Toronto to basically nobody. It’s a shock to the system when you keep going back and forth from nobody to everybody to nobody again.
I remember feeling empty most of the time. I remember crying myself to sleep and just allowing my demons to consume me. I had absolutely no energy left in me to fight the demons off. Those feelings are the exact ones that I can sense returning. I honestly believe that what hurt me the most out of all of the aspects of my depression was the loneliness. We are social beings, we require having people interact with us in order to survive. When you don’t have it, it can bring you to extremely dark places.
I can physically feel it. I can feel it in my chest; my heart aches for attention and affection. It’s either aching or breaking. Perhaps it is already broken? If anything, it’s broken because it had found peace for a little while whilst I was in school and now I don’t have that support system anymore. I can feel it through exhaustion. I am sleeping much longer once again except I never feel rested. All I want to do is sleep my life away which is exactly what I wanted to do when I was at my lowest. I can feel it in my stomach as I am no longer as hungry as I was before. I rarely am. I can feel it in my eyes. They’re swollen from the tears that were shed the night before. The bags beneath my eyes are apparent from the exhaustion of crying during the late hours of the night. I can feel my old thoughts coming back as well which is the scariest part of it all.
What is the point of all this rambling? Specifically relapses for depression, in my opinion, are almost worse than the first occurrence. Particularly for myself, I was beginning to feel happy for the first time in years. I felt healthier, I felt pride for myself towards what I have accomplished in the past year but now I can feel it slipping away through my fingers. I’m losing myself again, putting the mask on that I wore every day in high school and ignoring what should never be ignored. It’s devastating to relapse. I’m angry and I’m disappointed especially with myself. Thoughts that keep presenting themselves into my mind are “What’s the point of fighting when I can’t see what’s worth fighting for anymore? Why should I continue if I’m just going to find myself back where I was? I survived but what if I’m tired of surviving? Why should I risk putting myself through this again?” I suppose there’s an answer for everything.
I’m sure you want the happy positive side of things and to hear that there are always more reasons why not than there are reasons why (yes that was a 13 Reasons Why reference). Well here they are: I may have ended up at a dead-end road, but I can always turn around and find a different path; so can you. Relapses are part of recovery. There are always reasons to keep on fighting. Fight for your friends, fight for your family, fight for your pet. Fight for your life because you have one. You have people who care and people that want you around. You are loved and you are cherished. You are wanted and, most importantly, you are not alone no matter how much you feel as though you are. What once made you smile has the power to do so again. Don’t let the darkness completely kick you down once again. After all, you fought it once before, so you know very well that you can fight it once again.
I have a friend that told me it’s okay to be sad sometimes and that it’s okay to let yourself feel that pain. But only feel it for a little while. Especially on the really bad days, it’s important to remember your goals in life whatever they might be. She reminded me that I will be returning to school in a few months, I’ll be living in a home with her and our other friends. She told me to think of graduation. She told me to think of my dream job. She told me that there is so much to fight for. She told me to fight for myself. But what stuck with me the most was that she told me to fight for my future self. And I will.
I’m not going to sugar-coat it for you, it won’t be easy but it will be worth it. Make it worth it.