BeBrave Story #11 : Ida Vaisanen - When Depression Stricks
Happy August Everyone!
It is a new month which means a new #BeBrave story! Remeber, if you want to be brave and share YOUR story just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today the fighter Ida Vaisanen, is sharing her journey through Depression ( TW: Suicide Is Discussed). I admire this girl and her transparency not only when she wrote this story but on Twitter and on her blog.
Thank you so much Ida for saying yes to sharing your journey through your mental illness and allowing us to read about the reality of what you go through everyday. With that being said, here is Ida's story(:
My life has definitely been divided into two, the time before and after I became ill.
Like with any illness, it's difficult to pinpoint a time where it began. When do cells decide to attack one another, what causes your white cells to begin to attack your own body as an enemy? Like any physical illness, I'm sure my illness lurked as a premonition in my cells for far longer than my mind can currently stretch.
If I were to give you a ball park number, I had unknowingly suffered from depression for approximately four years before a series of events in my life contributed into what became a downward spiral. In hindsight things went quick: I became tired, then I grew more tired. Slowly but surely I began losing everything that at the end makes me who I am: my likes and dislikes, passions and dreams.
"Depression is like a flesh-eating bacteria: it eats you from the inside, until all that is left is a hollow core. A skeleton with only empty cavities to see the world with"
When you're in that position of withering from within, it's not much of a leap to kill yourself.
I had a suicide attempt and was hospitalised soon after that.
That was my crossroads. There were exactly two options left for me, either get better or die. There wasn't a third one. Still, the choice was harder than you'd think. At the time my every waking moment was unimaginable mental and physical suffering. I hadn't slept for more than 90 minutes at a time in months. Can you imagine what's it like to be that tired?
At the time I didn't know whether or not I could get better. Nurses and doctors would tell me that, so all I could do was to trust them. At the time that was all that I had. After all, their judgement wasn't clouded by illness. Still, when you're amidst darkness that is unimaginable to anyone who hasn't been there themselves, that is an extremely flimsy ground to place your faith in.
I wasn't scared to die. The only reason I didn't die the day I tried to was a practicality. I was way more terrified of living. For all I knew, the bottom of the pit would be where I'd stay and if you've been involved with treatment for mental illness, you know that everything happens extremely slowly.
Progress doesn't happen in days or even in weeks, we're talking about months.
That's why hospital was the right place for me. I was unable to keep myself safe, so the responsibility was moved from me to trained professionals. It was physically impossible to hurt myself. Without that option all that was left was to face the hell inside my head. I couldn't have done it alone.
I teetered on the edge for the longest time. There were steps forward. Finding a sleeping tablet that helped me was one of them. The first night I slept for five solid hours straight I was physically unable to get out of bed. I just cried out of relief.
That's one thing people with no personal or professional experience of mental illness have a hard time understanding. Sometimes it's incredibly hard to choose life.
I spoke about it often with one of my favourite nurses. How I had pushed the attempts to take my own life aside but wasn't ready to give up on them yet. Killing myself was almost comforting, a backup plan in case everything else fails. The problem with that option is that you will be unreachable to any other kind of help ever again. That's why it's your last one.
I went through two full sets of different antidepressants before finding ones that help me. Anyone who has been involved with antidepressants either personally or professionally will tell you that it can take as long as six to eight week after starting antidepressants to see have they held any effect.
From there antidepressants can be gradually increased, which leads to further waiting. You might even have to do what happened to me, which is call it a day and start the process all over again. Going through this twice meant months of consistently taking medication that wasn't helping. That's because it was the only way to establish was it just a matter of dosage or a case of wrong medication altogether.
Finally I'm at a place where I can say that I have a medication that helps me. All in all that process took nearly a year. That is a very long time to decide whether or not to decide to live.
Being here today doesn't make me brave. Had I succumbed to my illness along the way wouldn't had made me a coward. Just a victim, like with any physical illness.
I don't judge myself for attempting to end my life, but it would of been a shame had I died that day, unaware that there are medications that can help
Who is Ida?
Ida Väisänen is a 25-year-old journalist living in the UK. She blogs about life with depression and anxiety.
Follow Ida on:
Blog: Around The Ward In 80 Days