** Warning: Graphic. This may be a trigger for those whom suffer from
depression and have encountered sucidal thoughts.**
"She laid there
Stiff as a board
Her eyes glazed over with tears
Water beating down on her legs
The longer she laid there
The more crimson the water became
Blood dripping from her wrist
Slowly making its way down the drain
Each drop that fell released a little bit more pain
As the water cleansed the blood from her wrist
It washed away the aching she felt inside "
-From a journal of mine in 2004
Depression has haunted me for decades.
It comes and goes in waves, and lingers once its grabbed a hold of me.
From a very young age I always knew when it was coming.
I could feel its dark clouds seep into my walls as if it were a demon trying to process me.
The reasons for it's visits always varied. It could have been from my parents divorce, my alcoholic father, mean girls who bullied me, boys who mistreated me, but usually it was because of my alcoholic father. I didn't know that then. I know it now.
Majority of the time I could fight it off like some demon hunter with holy water
and positive thinking. Other times, it consumed me.
There weren't many moments in life when I contemplated life.
But when I did it was terrifying. In those moments it seemed like the answer.
Especially when dealing with depression at such a young age, you know when everything
seems like the end of the world and you can't see past the boy that broke your heart and the jealous girls calling you a whore.
I began cutting myself when I was a freshman.
It started out as punishment. To make myself pay for the things people were saying about me. Because in high school, rumors must be true. It then became a cry for help. Hoping someone would notice them, and just ask if I was okay?!
Once people started noticing, I felt so ashamed. So I went back to punishing myself.
I stoped cutting my wrists and starting cutting my thighs, so no one would see them.
This went on all through high school. My senior year being the worst in 2007.
I can recall one night where I was in my bedroom staring at a bottle of pills and my ex boyfriend could tell something was seriously wrong. He called my mom in the living room to tell her she should check on me... She came in, just in time.
It didn't get easier, it got harder, but I got stronger. I kept reminding myself, I am only 18.
I have a whole life I have yet to live. High school was but the 1st chapter. I clung to positive people, and tried my best to weed out the demons. It took about 3 years before I saw the light.
Almost 10 years went by without a single visit from my darkness.
Until last year...
I felt it seeping back in the year prior if I am being honest.
When I found out my husband had an affair the summer after our daughter was born I immediately flashed back to that little girl laying on the shower floor covered in her own blood. I felt the heaviness of my chest come back, and this time it wasn't lifting.
I used the same positive thinking and mindset shifting techniques I did as a teen.
I dove deeper into work and business, and submerged myself in church.
Another year passed, and I discovered my husband had cheated again.
This was the beginning of the end for me.
I was on the verge of opening my first brick & mortar salon.
I was coaching cheerleading for a local school district.
I had an almost 2 year old daughter.
I was making new friendships.
I was doing everything but anything I could to focus on myself.
If you have been around for some time, then you know how the story goes.
Girl opens salon.
Girl leaves husband.
Girl drinks tequila.
Girl looses a best friend.
Girl resigns from her own fucking salon.
But what you don't know about that story is how dark the darkness got.
This time last year, almost exactly.
My best friend and I at the time had a falling out.
My ex and I were officially dating and meeting new people.
My life as I knew it was being rocked, deep down I knew my salon wasn't meant for me anymore. I could feel everything I had worked for, everyone I had loved being taken from me.
I was dark.
I was alone.
I was lost.
It was the weekend after my 29th birthday.
My daughter was with my old in laws while my ex was on a date.
I was having one of those moments where my chest was so heavy,
and my heart was so broke, that all I wanted to do was talk to my daughter.
To hear her sweet voice. And I couldn't. I couldn't get ahold of her.
I tried calling my best friend, hoping that we could drop the drama for
a brief moment and that she could be there for me, that she could save me.
She ignored every call, every text, and wanted nothing to do with me.
Looking back I can see why, she wasn't ever strong enough to save me.
She could barely save herself. But in the moment I felt so betrayed.
I'm shaking and crying all at once as I write this.
As I sat there that day, in my old apartment.
I wondered, who would miss me?
I wondered, who would even notice if I was gone?
I wondered if death was the answer..
I wondered if this was the end for me.
I pulled out a bottle of pills.
I got a bottle of water.
I sat at my kitchen table and stared at them both.
I had a massive migraine, so I took 3 pills.
I chugged half of the bottle, and I went to reach for 3 more pills...
When my phone rang.
It was my ex, finally.
He could hear the emptiness in my voice.
He knew something was wrong.
He said he was getting ready to go get our daughter, but that he was
coming to check on me first.
I hurried and put the pills away.
Ashamed of what he might say.
And I sat on the couch and sobbed until I saw him in the doorway.
I didn't have to say it.
But I did. I told him.
I told him everything.
He sat there holding me, shaking himself.
We both decided it was best I stay at my moms that night
instead of alone, alone in that cold apartment.
He followed me to her place, calling her on the way.
He told her what was going on and that I was in a bad place.
When I got to my parents, they didn't say a word.
They let me tell them on my own time, which only took 24 hours.
The next day, I spent most of it talking things through with my mom,
Crying a million tears and counting down the minutes until I could hold my daughter near.
It was in that moment, when I saw her again that I realized I was no longer living this life for me, but for her, for us. I needed to show her how to beat her demons before they even come knocking. If I had taken my life, if I had left her here without me, that would have been the most selfish thing I could have ever done. It was in that moment that my life changed forever.
I'm not saying it was easy.
It actually got so much harder.
However, I moved out of that empty apartment, into a house full of life with my parents and my daughter. I surrounded myself with people that mattered, and people who truly supported me. I started to face my fears head on instead of running from them or drowning them in tequila. I began on a path of awakening and spiritual discovery. I have learned so much about me over this last year, but even more about how to fight my darkness. It's different for everyone, but for me I helps me most when I spread my light by sharing my story.
I have tried writing this blog for months now, and I just kept saving it
as a draft. Scared of completing it. But this past week a local girl who cheered when I coached took her own life. It was such a reminder for me. This is what my brand Her Mind Matters was made for. Mental health awareness. Sure hair & makeup matter, but HER mind matters more. Our minds are powerful tools and when use correctly we can overcome any obstacle possible.
I have lost multiple people in my life to suicide.
They are the ones I can't save.
But they are the ones that make me feel brave, that give me courage to keep pushing on &
to be the light in someones darkness. So I am doing something I don't usually do, though it is always welcomed. If you can relate, if you can understand, and fuck even if you can't but know someone who can please share this blog post. Please put it in front of someone who needs to read it. And I encourage us all to be more open minded and willing to talk about mental health, depression, suicide.
The things we don't talk about, are the things that end up killing us.
All photos by Marcy Harris Ortiz