• Anna Maling

A Very Dark Hole

Updated: Feb 22

By Dr. Tiffany E Wicks, Ed.D, MS, NCC


Content Warning** Suicide/Depression #postpartumdepression #suicide

First the first time in four years, I wanted to die today. Seeing as it’s almost noon, you can imagine that I’m still fighting those thoughts, but I chose to write through them instead of let them linger. Depression a deep dark hole that some people fall in and regardless of the existence of a dim flashlight, it seems the hole is too deep. Wanting to die and making a plan to die are two different things, but for today, I just wanted to die.

Let me explain before you all start to worry. I’m a therapist. I know when it’s dangerous and when I should call for help. Even when I don’t want to do it, I do it anyway. Today was not the call for help day. It was just the hole. I woke up this morning not able to wake myself up enough to get out of bed. The only thing that really woke me was the fact that all I have done today is feed the baby and go back to sleep. So I got up and went downstairs to join the crew. The dogs came in from the rain and were smelly and my daughter kept trying to kick them off the couch. That annoyed me. My husband was holding my son, and I just wanted to go back to sleep. That’s usually my sign that things are very off, especially if I don’t even want to attempt to get coffee as a boost.

As usual, my loving husband starts to get up and get into “do stuff” mode as he calls it. However, he does it right after I sit down with the kids. I know for him it gives him a chance to have his arms free for a moment, but my brain says he’s getting up to avoid me. That’s the depression lie. You’re not wanted. You’re a nuisance. And for weeks now I feel like I am only useful as a food source for my son.

So he gets up and invites me to go to the store. This is his sweet attempt to get me out of the house and moving for the day. He knows. He sees me even when I am in deep denial that something is wrong. I say okay, but I knew I wasn’t going to the store. I want to go back to bed. So I head upstairs while he is getting dressed and he valiantly tries to get me talking and interacting while I’m holding Shai. Attempt three. I love him for it, but the hole is dark. He asks again if I want to go to the store. I say no this time. He says he would be more than happy to take the kids if I want to rest more. I tell him I’m keeping the boy. Somehow, in all of this, the baby brings me a peace that I crave. Husband doesn’t leave.

He’s worried. As much as I know my husband loves me, I often feed into the lie that I need to apologize for my mental health issues. I’m sorry I’m depressed. I’m sorry I had a panic attack. I’m sorry I cry so much. I’m sorry I retreat. And all those apologies just pile onto the wanting to die feeling. There’s a lie in there about no one wanting me and everything just putting up with me waiting for me to fix myself. I know in my head it’s not true, but in the hole it’s the only truth.

He leaves the room. I close the bedroom door. He comes back and asks if I could just tell him what’s going on. In my head I’m screaming, “I WANT TO DIE”. I fight it and nothing comes out. He leaves me be. I start sobbing. It’s uncontrollable at this point. I’m grieving the fact that after my suicide attempt in 2016 and my friend’s attempt the same year, I have not had any suicidal ideation. I have worked so so hard for my mental health and knowing how to cope even on the hardest of days. I’m so proud of that, but here I am, feeling like I am a big giant burden and that life sucks too much. I’m on the cusp of so many dreams being fulfilled…doctorate, breastfeeding success, expanding the company, trying to buy a house. But all that goes through my head is debt, not being able to be a good business owner, renting for the rest of my life, never graduating. Again, in my head I KNOW it’s a lie, but that hole just gets darker.

I look at my son and beg God for him to smile. Maybe if he smiles at me I can know for a moment I’m loved. Maybe I can fight the idea that my husband should find a wife that isn’t mentally ill and beats herself up about being mentally ill because she’s a therapist. Maybe I can find the strength to find and follow a dim light that leads me out of the dark hole. Maybe.

He smiles.

I’d like to finish this story and tell you I’m fine and everything is good now. I can’t do that. Do I want to die at this current moment while writing this? No. Did saying these things without shame help? Yes. But I’m not much better today and I might actually go back to napping once again. Right now, I’m holding my son tight and taking in all the oxytocin our bond brings. I’m planning to tell my husband I’m not okay, and I don’t know what I need. But I know that the hole doesn’t get less dark if we stay silent. I have to say something to someone otherwise the hole gets dark again. When I say something, someone is usually there with a flashlight or a ladder. When I say something, it takes the power out of the lie. And I remember they are just that…LIES. So that’s my plan because I never want to attempt suicide again and I worked too damn hard to lose me again. It’s not to say I won’t have days where I’m lost. But I want there to be more days where I’m found.

May you be found today.

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