Recovery from depression: Five years after my suicide attempt

Today is an anniversary of sorts. Five years ago on January 17, 2010, I tried to end my life. Depression had erased the person I use to be and I had lost the ability to feel happiness, joy and hope.

Surviving suicide was a turning point in my recovery. In the week I spent recovering from my injuries in hospital I got a glimpse of the happiness, joy and hope that had been so utterly absent a week before.

Though I haven’t reached that low point again, I would be lying today to say I was symptom free.

Instead of glimpses of happiness, I still am plagued by glimpses of depression. Sometimes they last for a couple hours, sometime they last for a few days or weeks. I am still prone to getting more stressed than usual or having big sways in my mood. The back injuries I sustained during my suicide attempt are still an issue and at 27 I fear having chronic pain. It’s as if my back and my mind have pathways leading towards pain and depression that have been so well trodden that they can’t help but be used.

These days I feel like I go back and forth feeling anywhere between 60-80% of my former self with glimpses downward and above.

Besides the moments when depression reminds me it’s still there, I  have hours, days and weeks where I truly feel like myself. I am able to think clearly, my actions aren’t burdened by an invisible weight, my mind is at rest and I simply feel good.

This year has been difficult for me as I feel like I am starting to plateau in a recovery I haven’t fully reached. Between 2010 and today it’s hard to remember a six month stretch where I felt like myself. The stretches of feeling okay have gotten longer, the periods of depression shorter and more far removed but not absent.

I don’t want a recovery that stops three quarters of the way. Yet the moments and days I wake up feeling the unwelcome burden of depression are not without some virtue as they remind me how far I have really come. Looking back where I was five years ago to where I am today is truly amazing.

Though I know it will continue to be a challenge, I hope 2015 brings me closer to a fuller and more consistent recovery.