Understanding A Depressed State of Mind (3 of 4): How Family Members May Be Able To Help

During my mental healing journey – from depression to happiness -, I have encountered many family members and friends of suicide victims who were in distraught, because they couldn’t understand  how their loved one could have become so depressed, and “why” they had decided to kill themselves.

On my last post, I went over how my state of mind was when I tried to commit suicide; how jaded I was about life and how much hatred I had towards myself, reaching bottom, because of who I had become. And you may ask me: didn’t the people closest to me know that I was in such a depressed state?

My family and close friends had no idea at all. 

Christmas picture with family during my most depressed year

Inside of a clinically depressed mind lies no emotion. We know – with our brains – how we should act (and it is a struggling act), when we should smile, when we should joke around. We know that we should say or that we should participate in birthday parties, for example.

What we really want to do, though, is nothing. We don’t care. We really, really don’t care. Not because we don’t like someone, but because we are exhausted of the internal fight going on inside our brains, that there’s no energy left for anything. We just want to sleep because we are constantly tired, and also because we feel unworthy of anything else, useless.

It took me to go back to Brazil by force, and to live with my parents for 5 months – with 100% supervision – for my family to really know the state of mind that I was in.

I remember how much I HATED them for having forced me to do anything (I explained in my previous post). I hated them for wanting to help me because, in my mind, I was already too far gone.

Here is something that I want all family and friends of suicide victims to hear and understand:

Even though my family was NOT to blame for their lack of understanding (because I, myself, hid my depression from them, how I was feeling and who I had become), I blamed them for not caring. Those voices in my head blamed them until I believed that “not even the closest people to me, cared about me”.  And when I was under their supervision, that belief turned into anger.

My mom even told me (after I got better) that she didn’t recognize me; she said that I looked and acted like an animal.  I know I did. I remember one time that I was desperately crying in my brother’s bedroom, in my parent’s house, and my mom was afraid to leave me by myself. She felt helpless even though she was doing everything that she could to help me! Still, I had no remorse: I literally kicked her out of that bedroom, calling her the most terrible names that I could think of, just because I wanted her to leave me alone.

My mom and I, before she knew anything about my depression

My mom and I, a couple of days after I got to Brazil, forcefully.

I remember thinking that she was so disrespectful! That I was already in that effing country, living under her effing roof, and she just couldn’t leave me the ef alone!!

But really, my mom was afraid for my life, because unlike me, she knew how depressed I was. She cried and cried, begging me to open the door, and I didn’t, because that person (who wasn’t me) hated her for trying to help me.

It’s like I was like an alcoholic hating the person who took away their booze but, in my case, I was addicted to hurting myself and feeling bad, and didn’t want anyone to help me get better.

MY FAMILY’S “DISRESPECTFUL LOVE” SAVED ME

When we love someone we will do anything and everything that we can to save that person. I know that for a fact because I was hurting my family SO MUCH with my hurtful words, making them doubt if they were doing the right thing for me.

The more my family did to help me, the more I hurt them with my actions and words and still, nothing that I said or did was enough for them to give up on me. It’s like they were putting their hands on fire for me, and I was the fire.

My family kept “disrespecting” my wishes and desires: first they dragged me back to their country, then forced me into their house, then they forced me to see therapists 3x/week for a couple of months, and then they put me through a 100% supervision self-understanding, 10-day program based on self-love and forgiveness (The Hoffman Process), for the second time.

 

WE CAN’T THINK FOR OURSELVES

If whoever is reading my blog post is clinically depressed, they probably disagree with me and think that I’m an idiot, just like I used to think.  But the truth is: we THINK that we are in control, but we are not! When we are clinically depressed, we can’t trust our instincts and we should never hear the voice inside our heads! It’s like we are mentally challenged and no one knows it.

When we have thoughts of suicide we HAVE to understand (even when we don’t agree with this) that having thoughts of killing ourselves is NOT NORMAL. That means that our brains are chemically unbalanced (I explained this in my previous post),  and we need to work on that, to break that pattern and become mentally healthy again.

That is why we NEED to rely on others to make our decisions. Who better than our families and dear friends to force us into doing what’s best for us?

My cousins, brothers, and I. They had no idea of my state of mind.

And the family members need to understand that none of it is their fault nor their responsibility. Help them as if they couldn’t think for themselves, even if they are adults, like I already was. It’s going to hurt you, but it may save them.

Also, understand that, when someone commits suicide they are experiencing NO feelings at all, except for the dillusional self-dispair caused by a chemically imbalanced brain. They don’t do it to get out of a situation, or to get back at someone, or because they are cowards for whatever reason. You  will never know that someone is clinically depressed, unless they ask for help or tell you that they hate themselves.

WHAT’S LEFT

Now that I live under a positive light again and can see things from a different perspective, all I have for my family is respect and gratitude. I am very humbled by their help and it hurts, deep inside my heart, having said and done the things that I did to them during some of my darkest months. But, when I think of that and look back, everything is a huge fog. I can’t even tell you the order of things that happened in my life from 2006-2008. I lost myself in the depression; that girl wasn’t me.

Today I choose not to live with regret for what I did to them, but with gratitude for them. We can’t change our past, but we can choose a better future by the actions we take today.

My aunt and I, hours before I went back to the U.S., after recovering from depression.

Our minds are an interesting thing. I know that I can put myself in that state of mind again. Some times when things are rough, I can see myself going back to that tunnel but I make the conscious choice to walk out again (I will talk more about this in my next blog post).

I guess that’s going to be a constant in my life that I know is worth fighting for; because today I know that my life is worth fighting for! If that means that I have to see a therapist every month and take antidepressants every day, I really don’t care because that’s nothing compared to what I have gone through already.

So, to all of you who have read this far, I really hope you have found peace in your hearts with my post. Please reach out to me if you have any questions. All I can do is answer based on my own experience, but if I can help someone in any way, I know it’s for a good cause.

I want to end this post by quoting something that my mom said to me when I was suicidal.  I have kept these words close to my heart all of these years:

“Gabi, if everything that I do to save your life will make you hate me for the rest of mine, so be it.”

The best woman I know (my mom) and I, two weeks ago, during my last visit to Brazil to see my family.

My mom is the most loving, selfless, and altruistic person that I have ever met. I have told her this once before, but I would like to write it on here again, for the world to see: I own my life to my mom 2 times, and I am the luckiest person in the world for having the special relationship that I have with her: we are best friends too. We have gone to hell and back together and our bond has only become stronger.

Mom, if you are reading this, please know that I would do the same for you. Thank you for loving me the way that only you know how. I love you much more than you know it. ♡

And to the rest of my family and friends, including my brothers who always do everything they can to see me happy, I love you! I couldn’t have had a better support system. Thank you for believing in me even when I couldn’t.

My parents and my brothers… the people who have helped me the most during my recovery.♡♡♡♡

3 thoughts on “Understanding A Depressed State of Mind (3 of 4): How Family Members May Be Able To Help

  1. Vicky says:

    Minha filha, minha vida! Se pudesse, eu trocaria de lugar com vc, mas eu fiz o que o amor incondicional de uma mãe pode fazer naquele momento: te amar de todos os seus jeitos e tentar de todas as maneiras fazer vc saber o quanto era amada e sua vida era importante e rica, mesmo que nem vc soubesse disso. Vc me enche de alegria e orgulho por ter conseguido sair desta escuridão, e ter consciência da luz que ilumina a sua vida e, por isso, a vida de todos nós que te amamos com todo o amor do mundo!💓

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