My feelings of sadness became so overwhelming that near the end of the school year, late one spring night, I sat alone in the floor of my darkened bedroom, sobbing without cause. I was exhausted and overpowered by my intense emotions and the thought of death as an end to my suffering slowly swept into my pubescent thoughts. Without hesitation I went into the bathroom medicine cabinet and searched for a bottle of pills potent enough to end my life. Alas, the only bottle I found contained Tylenol but that did not end my suicidal ideations. Without even a drink of water, I began choking down handfuls of the small, oblong pills, hoping that if I ingested enough I would not have to face the light of another day. However, the sun rose upon me with an aching head and upset stomach. I was angry that I was alive, but more so I dreaded the state of constant depression in which I existed.
Over the next 22 years, I suffered from depression that became so dark that it suffocated my spirit and overshadowed my accomplishments. I was treated by multiple psychiatrists, who prescribed countless combinations of prescription drugs which only provided minimal, temporary relief of my symptoms. The side-effects of these psychiatric medications included everything from constant fatigue and drastic weight gain to sexual dysfunction and various neurological symptoms.
At one point, when I was 24 years old, my body became resistant to pharmaceutical treatment. This left me with no other option than to have Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT), more commonly known as shock therapy. The hope of this treatment was to reset my ailing brain much like you would reboot a malfunctioning computer. The procedure was vulgar, requiring a electric shock administered to the brain to induce seizure. I had to be placed under heavy sedation during each treatment which left me disoriented and groggy for the rest of the day. It also caused some lasting memory loss, not to mention the stigma attached to such a treatment due to it's depiction in horror movies containing scenes of insane asylums.
It was during this time frame that I was declared totally and permanently disabled and started receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) from the government because I was unable to hold a job. I spent the next twelve years feeling lost and without purpose, having no career with which to occupy my time or provide me with a sense of self-worth. I had no friends and my family was my only support system. I spent my days alone, wasting time with unproductive activities that only served to worsen my feelings of depression. I was hospitalized in psychiatric facilities more times than I could keep track, mostly because of failed suicide attempts by overdose.