So... what's the deal with all the plants?
Trigger Warning: Suicide
Before I go any further, let me say, very clearly... that I am fine. I am fine. I promise. I'm doing so much better and I know what to do if things ever start going dark again. I'm never shy to ask for help. No one wants me alive and happy more than me.
It is never shameful to ask for help. You are a beautiful person who deserves to exist. I know that things can get hard. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 1-800-273-8255. It is free and confidential for anyone in crisis or distress. If you are reading this and know of any other resources, please free feel to comment below.
That being said, let's begin.
I was doing the opposite of minding my business - I was scrolling through Twitter when I stumbled on this tweet that took my breath away.
I've never heard someone else say this out loud.
I can honestly say I've never fought this hard to be alive in my 30 years of life. Given that I have had depression for the last 15 years, I thought I had seen the depths of dark before. Nope. I hadn't. Then I start to think about having depression for the rest of my life. It has taken me years to come to terms with having a lifelong illness, one that will change and adapt depending on my life while at the same time shaping my life. And I won't lie, it makes me a little nervous about the inevitable next time life goes the way of misery.
I have had a rough couple of years. Immediately after leaving my ex, my life centered on doing a good job at work to keep my job to keep my paycheck to keep the room I rented by the week. I was terrible with money, had little savings and was too ashamed to let anyone in my family know the extent of it all. I was only responsible for one thing: taking care of myself. And I felt like I was failing. I had gained so much weight, my eczema was terrible, my room was a mess. I was sad all of the time and felt unworthy of love. I was alone. Part of my need for disability was a need to stop pretending I was okay publicly. The stress of the performance was fracturing my mental health more rapidly. I needed all of the space available to me not to be anything for anyone. I went on disability in March, not knowing it would be the week before NYC shut down. For 8 weeks, I was a shell of a person. I atrophied slowly on my bed, I felt my spirit decay. I was the only person responsible for myself and I was failing. I didn't think anyone noticed.
But don't fear - when it comes to depression, I'm pretty much a professional at this point. When I had to start over in May 2018, I knew that at some point in the future, I would have to reckon with my trauma. Survival came first but I knew that the healing was going to kick my ass.
Things you should also know about me: I'm a Virgo. And if there's one thing I can do... is make a plan. I spent October 2018 until April 2019 looking for a therapist. I've gone to therapy once a week, sometimes twice ever since. I found a psychiatrist in January to start medication. I started medication in February. Like I said, when it comes to depression, I'm pretty much a professional at knowing my needs and anticipating.
I realized that my life had to drastically change in order for me to have a fighting chance at...living? Yeah, at living. The thought of falling into a deeper pit of depression was frightening. I couldn't do this again, not the way I've been "dealing" especially knowing how alone I was.
I could feel my world shift as I started building a life from scratch. It was more like an experiment. I'd never been that sad before. And I definitely have been saaaaaad before. So I opted to meet that moment with a level of empathy I'd never shown myself before. Unprecedented sadness awakened an unprecedented love inside me during the most unprecedented of times.
Now here I am, moved into my apartment with books, my mattress and the extra rolls of toilet paper I scored at the grocery store back in March. The following week I get a delivery - it's a plant. A friend of mine thought I could use the company. My first thought was "wtf? how is a plant company?" and also "he knows I kill plants so what's going on?" Still, I was gracious and said thank you. It was a beautiful plant, after all. But I am a known plant murderer. By accident. So plantslaughterer? Whatever.
And then another friend from a different walk of life gave me another plant. A different plant. A Philodendron Heartleaf. "To keep you company" she said.
Suddenly, I had two plants. Plants that I'm supposed to be friends with. Now I can't kill these two plants. That's bad form. One at a time, sure. So I looked up how to take care of them. I figured it would be like the hunger games for plants. Who would survive me taking care of them? I barely had. But still, I learned what it means when the leaves droop or how a plant will tell you it needs more sun. I started watering them well, misting the leaves, I worked to understand what bright indirect light meant in a one bedroom apartment. Just don't ask me if I have a south or east facing apartment - I don't own a compass.
Then something I'd never seen started to happen. The plants started changing a little bit. They were growing! They weren't dying at all. Slowly, I started to notice I was changing too. I wasn't dying after all either.
My friends sent me living things to take care of. They trusted this part of my journey so much that they entrusted me with living things. They both didn't know I could barely trust myself with myself for the last two years. Neither of them understood what they were really celebrating.
My plant family grew a lot. Some I've given to myself and others more friends have given me. Those might be my favorite.
You can feel the life in my house from all of my plants.
But honestly, you can feel the most life coming from me.
Depression is often times a fatal illness. I will carry it with my for the rest of my life. It is because of my depression that I can tell you exactly what I need to best thrive.
I know how to water myself. I know when to give myself light. Sometimes I'll go dormant. And sometimes, I'll even bloom.
So, that's the deal with all the plants. It's one of the many things that give me life. Oh, and they make my apartment look like an adult lives here.
Now how am I going to take care of us in the winter? Well, that's a different post for another day.
Drink some water. Wear a mask.
If you are feeling suicidal, thinking about hurting yourself, or are concerned that someone you know may be in danger of hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or the Suicide Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). You will find certified crisis response professionals at both numbers. You can also call 911.