• Wednesday Wellness | The day I decided to slit my wrists

    fall duster

    I’ve thought/prayed/reflected for a very long time about how to write or if I even should write this post. Today (Nov 7th) is the one year anniversary of my cousin’s death by suicide and it’s been a day of mixed emotions. How do you even begin to describe loss of such unbelievable proportion? Well.. you start by describing how you’ve been in that very same mindset.

    I am no stranger to mental illness – I have one. Before I was old enough to even realize it, I’ve been host to the most unwelcome of visitors: major depression and generalized anxiety. These two things probably masked themselves with devastating eating disorders that began in my early teens. I was a devout ballerina, believing in my heart of hearts I would be dancing professionally in New York City. Have you seen Center Stage? If not.. you should watch it. Despite it being somewhat sappy, it’s a shockingly accurate portrayal of life up there as a young dancer and all the various pressures that come with it. I desperately wanted to be the best – which also meant being the smallest and thinnest. I can still hear my teacher’s voice degrading me as a young teen developing into a young woman and telling me I looked “fluffy” that day. I weighed no more than 100 lbs y’all. And I wasn’t the only one. We all wanted her approval. Being ignored was worse than being verbally shamed. It was such a sick cycle. So as you can imagine, I first was a ferocious bulimic – hiding it from everyone. Once I began to fear my purging was being noticed, I shifted into outright anorexia.

    Through the years I’ve grown past the eating disorders (mostly) but still hear those mean little voices telling me I’m a monster for eating cheesecake. Severe stress always exacerbates my anxiety, funneling into depression or self destructive mind games. When people say you are your own worst critic, it’s insanely true. The past year has been unbelievably difficult for a variety of reasons. Once I left my transplant profession and started my doctorate, I had a huge and unexpected loss of self. I didn’t know who I was without my job or what my purpose was any longer which told me I was living for my job and not working to live.. not okay. I was attempting to repair a marriage that had spent years apart, grieving the loss of my cousin, fearful for my professional future, starting a doctorate with a jerk of a professor who hated my work, and trying to build my blogging/social media platforms while comparing myself to others. I had grown apart from certain friends and afraid my chronically ill father was going to suddenly kick the bucket at any point in time. All the pressure looming over me eventually fractured my composure and I had a complete and total melt down.

    My best friend and I officially broke off our relationship in the summer – which was the final straw in my little remnants of strength. The self destructive voices in my head only grew more constant, negative, and suffocating. You reach a point in that lowest of lows where you can’t see past the darkness. My heart was broken and I felt alone in a way I never had before. I knew I had people in my life who loved me and would be devastated but yet I couldn’t stop myself. I was already susceptible to fits of crying that would last for incredible lengths of time and had been in one of those fits. I literally couldn’t stop crying. All the pain, all my demons, and a complete sense of hopelessness of my future drove my hand to find the emergency medical kit I keep around (in case of some disastrous emergency) and take a scalpel to my wrist.

    My cousin had taken a gun to the roof of his mouth and pulled the trigger – and he’s all I could think about as I cut through the layers of my skin. I didn’t even feel the pain, like my mind was numb. I wondered if he instantly relieved of his pain and if he was watching over me as I wanted to leave my own. I’ve always been a person that has felt emotions to my very core. I cry when I hit a squirrel on the road, when I lose a patient, when the world is tearing itself apart, and when I’m incredibly angry or disappointed with someone. I thought of my best friend as the blade of the scalpel sliced through vessels – devastated at the loss of such an intense relationship and angry that I felt so abandoned.

    In the moments I watched my blood leave my body, my mind raced. I wondered what it was like to die. The scariest thing about all of this is that I never ever thought I was capable of such a thing. I mean I have fought to keep hundreds of patients alive for Christ sake. But in such a rapid spiral of sadness and overwhelming depression, I was capable of taking my own life. It was then that I realized I was a humongous hypocrite. How on earth could I preach transplant and the gift of life but let myself die and waste life?

    I got help, a lot of help – help I should’ve sought years before. Therapy really can be a lifesaving thing – the thing that makes the biggest difference when you find yourself in your lowest moments and reaching for coping mechanisms instead of a blade. The scary thing is most people don’t talk themselves down and take the full plunge into the deep. Most people don’t come back from the brink. My cousin won’t come back from the grave.

    I actually have two cousins who have killed themselves. The other threw himself off of a bridge in an attempt to escape a drug addiction. Mental illnesses surround me. It frightens me beyond measure, which is the other reason why I finally sought help. So I beg of you all, to be vigilant in telling your loved ones how much you love them. Be vigilant in your awareness of someone’s life and emotions. Most people will show you clues. Pay attention to the clues, to their pain. Your attention may be what makes them feel less alone in their sea of solitude.

    For those that may be reading this who have been in that hellacious darkness, I am with you. For those who need someone to talk to – please share your pain with someone, anyone. You can call 1-800-273-8255 or 1-800-273-TALK. Please remember there is life beyond that suffocating blanket of depression. There is the Suicide Prevention Lifeline that is available 24/7 by phone or chat and in Spanish! If you find you’re incapable of talking to someone please then call 911 or go to your nearest ER. Getting help is NOT shameful! No one will look down on you.

    Today I am missing my cousin, who died one year ago to the day. I remember where I was and exactly what I was doing the moment I received the call. Today I grieve for him, our family, and this year of turmoil. I am missing the moments he and my brother chased me and his sisters around the neighborhood. I am desperately ready to greet a new year and embrace the promise of a new future.

    I share all of this incredibly personal information (as I did a little before here) with you all because more than anything, I hope you all know the real problems of people, even when their social media life looks pristine and perfect. So many people want to be like someone else, live their life, covet their things yet they don’t know the entire picture. I share this with you so you can find the joy in your own lives and the moments to be grateful for, even if it’s a mere cup of coffee the next waking day.

     

    fall duster

    Photography by Megan Weaver

    tara

    72 Comments

    1. November 8, 2017 / 1:00 pm

      Thank you for being open and vulnerable to share your story. You are a stunning lady who is an inspiration to everyone and especially those that can relate to your story. Keep up the healthy lifestyle, you deserve to be happy and healthy!!!

    2. November 8, 2017 / 1:08 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story. Mental illness is so cruel, especially when it involves your family. I’m so sorry for the loss of your cousins, but I’m so glad you made the decision to stay with us, we need more advocates like you who tell it like it is, and help others in these dark situations. Much love!

    3. November 8, 2017 / 1:27 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story. You were honest and vulnerable. That takes a lot of courage. I love that jacket you are wearing

    4. November 8, 2017 / 2:17 pm

      Mental health is such a taboo topic and it shouldn’t be! I, too, have battled this issue in my past and got through it. Thanks for sharing your story!

    5. November 8, 2017 / 2:37 pm

      You’re so brave for being so open and raw with your emotions and struggles. You’re an incredible person just by being able to speak of this darkness in your life. I know you’ll make a difference just by sharing. Sending happiness and love your way!

    6. November 8, 2017 / 3:29 pm

      Oh my goodness, thank you for sharing your story. Praying for you!

    7. November 8, 2017 / 3:46 pm

      It’s kind of weird — the juxtaposition of an outfit post and this very, very serious and personal topic. But one, thanks so very much for sharing your story. It takes a lot of courage to do so, and I’m happy to hear that you got the help you needed. And two, I really love your jeans!

    8. November 8, 2017 / 3:55 pm

      Looking good! I like your style!

    9. November 8, 2017 / 6:27 pm

      I’m so thankful you pulled yourself up before it was too late. My sister-in-law suffered from anorexia/bulimia and she ultimately lost the fight. I know how hard it can be, and am thankful that you have preserved and have won the fight. Keep on being strong and keep on fighting. You are beautiful inside and it shows outside. You have the power to save many others. Keep it up!

      XOXO
      Cathy

    10. November 8, 2017 / 7:10 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story. You are so strong and brave!

    11. Southern & Style
      November 8, 2017 / 7:12 pm

      First of all, I am so thankful that you were able to get the help that you needed-it’s so good to see someone in a stage of recovery. Secondly, I’m also thankful that you’re so open to sharing your story, so many people need to see this. One of my very good friends lost her brother to suicide last year and it shook my world because he seemed like such a happy person, but was fighting those dark demons inside. I wish everyone was able to reach out and get the help that they need.

      xoxo, SS

      Southern and Style

    12. November 8, 2017 / 7:43 pm

      You are so brave to share your story! Hopefully hearing your story will help someone else!

    13. November 8, 2017 / 9:58 pm

      I’m in awe of your courage. What terrible struggles you’ve had to endure, I’m so sorry. I know your openness will be so helpful to those experiencing loss and other very trying times. You are a warrior lady – beautiful inside and out!

    14. November 8, 2017 / 10:26 pm

      Wow. This shook me to my core. Thank you for being so open, so honest, and so vulnerable. I’m so sorry you’re going through what you’re going through, but I’m happy to hear that you’re receiving help. It’s beyond lonely being in a sea of people and feeling like you can’t connect with anyone. Thanksgiving is a tough month for my family. While everyone is celebrating Thanksgiving and getting ready for the holidays, it’s a reminder to us that we have two family members who will no longer be joining us at the table. And I’m also going through a break up with my best friend – and as much as I’m trying to come to terms with it, it’s painful. Thank you again, for sharing your story – for showing others it’s okay to need help – and for allowing others to connect with you!

    15. November 8, 2017 / 11:50 pm

      Beautifully written, I’m so happy that you are here today to share your story and the story your cousins can’t share. I know it isn’t easy, but you never know who you may reach in the moment they need it the most.

    16. November 9, 2017 / 1:54 pm

      Wow. What an amazing post – you are so brave for writing this and you look gorgeous in your pictures! This needs to be shared!

    17. Jennifer
      November 9, 2017 / 6:37 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing this with us. My cousin attempted suicide when she was just 13. Luckily they got her to the hospitial on time. I’ve also ended a friendship too and it’s hard!

      Jennifer

    18. November 9, 2017 / 9:06 pm

      I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your cousins. Thank you for being so open and vulnerable and sharing your story with the world. You are so strong and I am so glad you were able to make it out of that difficult time.

      xo, Taylor (thesprinkle.tayloramead.com)

    19. November 10, 2017 / 12:23 am

      Girl, I am so sorry to hear about your loss. You are so brave for opening up about your personal struggles and life. I commend your honestly and authenticity to share your story with us. I am so glad that you were able to build your strength and become the person you are today.

      -xo, Azanique | https://www.lotsofsass.com

    20. November 10, 2017 / 10:07 am

      You are so brave to share your story. I also have a cousin that I lost at a young age and it really shook my whole family. I’m happy you are on the road to wellness. Wishing you the best on your journey forward <3
      http://stopdropandvogue.com/

    21. November 10, 2017 / 10:41 am

      Such a strong a powerful message. Thank you for sharing this story with us.

    22. Anna English
      November 10, 2017 / 10:43 am

      Such a great way to use your voice and audience for good. You’re strong and courageous!

    23. Annaliese
      November 10, 2017 / 2:22 pm

      So, so brave of your to share your story and encourage others to get help! Know how loved you are! I will be praying for you, beautiful!

      xoxo A
      http://www.southernbelleintraining.com

    24. Rachel
      November 10, 2017 / 6:04 pm

      Wow this is such an incredible story. The fact that you made it though such a difficult time, and have come out on the other side of it, able to tell share your journey to encourage others is beautiful.

    25. November 10, 2017 / 6:08 pm

      So glad you are here with us today. You are strong and brilliant and sharing your story shows us all that.

    26. November 10, 2017 / 11:32 pm

      You are so strong to share your story!!!! I loved this post and I’m so proud of you for sharing!

    27. November 11, 2017 / 7:52 am

      Thank you for your honesty & bravery. My family also has a history of mental illness and I’ve lost 6 loved ones to suicide. The more we talk about it, the more those who are struggling with depression will feel less alone.

    28. November 11, 2017 / 1:46 pm

      thank you for sharing your story <3

    29. November 11, 2017 / 2:15 pm

      Thank you for sharing this! You’re very inspiring! Lots of love

    30. November 11, 2017 / 2:34 pm

      Such an important story to share. You are so strong and brave.

    31. Ashley DTKAustin
      November 11, 2017 / 2:57 pm

      You are such a beautiful and strong person to share your story with everyone and hopefully save a life in the process. You are an inspiration to all of us. Stay brave, my friend.

    32. November 11, 2017 / 4:51 pm

      Thanks for your bravery. I am sure that this post helped someone who has really been struggling. A lot of people don’t want to talk about mental health but we all deal with it. Its important that we change how we see therapy so that people will not feel self-conscious about getting help.

    33. Annette
      November 12, 2017 / 12:13 am

      You are such a strong and beautiful person. Thank you for sharing this story. I know it wasn’t easy but your story will help someone in need! <3

    34. November 12, 2017 / 8:41 am

      Wow. I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through all of this!! Thank you so much for being so brave and sharing your story. I’m so glad you’ve gotten help and I’m sure that by sharing this story you are also helping others. I wish you nothing but the very best!

    35. November 12, 2017 / 10:49 am

      Tara, you are a beautiful person inside and out. Sharing this piece of yourself with us took incredible courage, and thank you for doing so. Knowing that you’re not alone and there is light and the end of the tunnel is so important. Thank you, again, my friend. This was a very important story to share.

    36. November 12, 2017 / 5:36 pm

      Thanks for sharing your story! Takes a brave person to share this.

    37. November 12, 2017 / 6:53 pm

      Wow, first of all: I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a loved one, especially to an illness, feels so empty. And thank you for being open enough to share your story of struggle with depression, anxiety, and thoughts of suicide. You are loved, beautiful, and so worth it.
      Tori || Victori Media
      https://www.victorimedia.com

    38. Elena Michelle
      November 12, 2017 / 7:04 pm

      you are incredibly brave to share you story, thank you for doing so, because i think there are so many people out there silently suffering. i am glad that you were able to get the help you needed to get through this. you are not alone!

      xoxo,
      Elena Michelle
      http://www.anewyorkloveaffair.com

    39. Liz
      November 12, 2017 / 8:27 pm

      Thank you for sharing something so personal! Mental illness is very serious and I know yoir post is going to help so many people.

      Liz
      http://Www.lizzieinlace.com

    40. November 12, 2017 / 8:43 pm

      this is such an inspiring story. it’s incredible to see where you’re at now compared to what life was like for you in the past. it’s so great that you kept moving fwd, because look @ what you’ve accomplished! you’re a role model to all women, so keep sharing your love, style & stories gf. x, nicole // http://www.nicoleeigh.com

    41. November 12, 2017 / 8:57 pm

      Wow you are so strong to write this post! This outfit is stunning!

    42. November 12, 2017 / 9:06 pm

      Thank you for sharing something personal in your life. This will be so helpful for others! Keep it up.

    43. Maggie
      November 12, 2017 / 9:37 pm

      Wow, thank you so much for sharing this! I hope others struggling with mental illness get help, as well. It needs to be talked about more openly in our society to be properly treated!

    44. November 12, 2017 / 9:37 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story. Mental illness is so serious and sadly affects so many people. My mother struggles with this as well and has attempted suicide. It’s a struggle every day.

    45. Anna Baun
      November 12, 2017 / 9:50 pm

      This is an incredible story! Thank you so much for being open and willing to share. Sending you lots and lots of love! XO

      Anna || A Lily Love Affair

    46. November 12, 2017 / 10:24 pm

      Thank you for sharing your story!

    47. Adaleta
      November 13, 2017 / 12:27 am

      Oh my goodness, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story, It was so powerful to read and see how you came through,

    48. Molly
      November 16, 2017 / 12:20 am

      What a story you have, and it is so brave of you to share it. I have quite a few friends who struggle with depression, and it is not easy. Having lost a friend to suicide, I have to say that I am thankful for people who have found a way to come through it, and are brave enough to share their story and hope to help others find their way through depression and all that comes with it. You are amazing!

      Molly // Miss Molly Moon

    49. November 20, 2017 / 1:11 pm

      Wow. This made me so emotional. So many people contemplate their worth and at some point feel depressed and this will help so many people. Thanks for sharing your story. You look beautiful by the way!

      xo,
      Miki
      http://mikialamode.com

    50. Jessica
      August 9, 2018 / 9:44 pm

      Wow you are so brave for sharing your story, your life with us. Depression is one hell of a drug. We don’t realize how much people appreciate the smallest of jestures and how one little compliment/smile can save even one life. ????

      • August 10, 2018 / 6:14 pm

        YES! The smallest of gestures seriously mean more than we can ever imagine – and if it saves a life, it’s worth it!

    51. Mai Lyn
      August 9, 2018 / 9:46 pm

      Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing your story. You are one of my favorite people and I’m so glad you opened up. Mental illness and wellness needs to be talked about more and I’m right there with ya.

    52. August 9, 2018 / 9:49 pm

      Crying as I read this… thank you for sharing your story. And thank you for using your influence to help others rise up- you are one of my favorites to follow because of that, and I always look forward to reading your blog posts. ❤

    53. August 9, 2018 / 10:34 pm

      Mental health and wellness is not something to be embarrassed about. While it’s personal – it’s something we all need to accept. We have been broken – somehow we got broken and seeking help to piece back together who you were is hard. But it’s not done alone. It’s done with professionals who understand your thought process when you want to jump down the rabbit hole. It’s hard to put on a smile knowing you feel worthless, lost and looking for anyone that will help ease the pain. I have generalized anxiety- on meds to stabilize my mood swings – meds to help me sleep so my brain will stop worrying about trying to fit into a box I wish I could fit into but I can’t – cause I’m 43- my chances past. Every day is a new day!

      • August 10, 2018 / 6:11 pm

        You’re so right! Every day is a new day and life doesn’t belong in a box, it’s bigger than we can hope to tackle without help! Thank you Nicole!

    54. Feda
      August 9, 2018 / 11:15 pm

      First I’m very sorry for your loss This is really sad that we feel this pain in our heads I say thank you to god every day that I would not feel this pain I pray for you and me and everyone who needs a pryer please life is messed up but it’s beautiful I think god always have a plan for each person im glad that you picked your self up ❤️???? your beautiful and smart never forget that

      • August 10, 2018 / 6:09 pm

        Feda – your prayers and constant support give me so much love! Thank you for always being so kind and supportive of me! God bless you!

    55. Carolina
      August 9, 2018 / 11:21 pm

      How I love you my friend.. never met you but I feel like I could trust you so much! You give me an open window to the lives of those that are near my heart that struggle with mental illness. I can understand more because of this! Thank you!

      • August 10, 2018 / 6:08 pm

        THAT is such an incredible thing – and I know it’s such an unwelcome guest in any home. Love YOU my dearest friend, and I agree- I feel like sisters!

    56. August 9, 2018 / 11:29 pm

      There’s something about reading someone else’s story that makes you realize you really aren’t alone. You hear people say it all the time but to have it backed up and proven true is somehow so much better. It is terrible that it happens to people at all but those stories of how help works to start putting pieces back together gives others the strength to seek it for themselves. I’ve struggled with anxiety and depression since I was in middle school and PTSD since high school and college from some terrible events. Add to that what I thought was baby blues and stress from January of this year to it becoming full blown post partum depression that I still am not recovered or healed from. Mental illness is not a stranger to most but no one wants to talk about it. It’s the elephant in the room you read about on the news when it takes a life but you don’t meet the person behind it. This post had me in tears because I’ve been there and it’s nice to know you can rise out of it and do amazing things without being perfect. Thank you Tara! You share more than most would dream of but it’s for such a good cause.

      • August 10, 2018 / 6:07 pm

        I met a wonderful woman in group therapy who shared her story of horrific post partum depression – it was so eye opening and again, makes you realize you’re not alone no matter your problems. Thank YOU for your support – and please know I am always here to support you!

    57. Ruei
      August 10, 2018 / 4:25 am

      What a wonderful read. Thanks for sharing. I suffer with depression & have since she 19 first year of college. Then it was MY 1 TRUE LOVE. Now, it’s my size & appearance. I was recently out on medication and am taking it regularly.

      Ruei

    58. Lisa Haar
      August 10, 2018 / 7:50 am

      Thank you for speaking your truth into our lives. Too often it’s a quiet topic. We talk about death from illness and disease but tiptoe around suicide. You opening up helps bring light to the darkness. Hopefully someone reading will realize they aren’t alone if they are contemplating taking their own life. And hopefully, others like me, will try to be more aware and help those who need it. (((hugs)))

    59. August 10, 2018 / 9:12 pm

      Tara,
      Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your authenticity and honesty. At one point or another I believe we all experience mental illness. For some of us it can be an every day struggle. It’s not discussed or talked about like it should be a lot of the time. We can very easily turn one addiction into another as we are human and live in an imperfect world. I was a fan of piercings as a way to deal.
      I very strongly relate to you on feeling deeply to your core. I used to get embarrassed when movies made me cry. I viewed it as a weakness when it’s actually a strength to be able to have compassion and empathy for others.
      There is light at the end of the tunnel.
      ❤️ Corey
      @iamcoreyanne

      • August 13, 2018 / 6:57 am

        Thank YOU Corey for your kind words! I agree – having compassion and empathy is healthy AND helpful! A good cry can be so healing!

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