This morning I woke at 3:30 am and sent a text message to housemate A.

“I need a hug”

Then I tossed and turned and ended up getting out of bed at 6 am. The new med I’m on (Reboxetine) has been great so far, but the increased energy during the day is making my sleeplessness absolute hell. I have no idea how I have survived with this little sleep for so long.

When I exited my room housemate A’s door opened a tiny crack and then closed again. We must have woken up at exactly the same time. I went into the kitchen and pretended to look into the cupboard for breakfast, fairly certain that housemate A would come out and say hello. She never left her room. She very quietly closed the door and I left the kitchen empty handed and went back to bed. I hate being tiptoed around when all you want is somebody to hold you.

The previous day I had a pretty awful session with my psychologist. She basically told me that she didn’t know what to do. Not very helpful when you go to see these people for help. I had her stumped, though in some ways I’m glad she was able to be honest with me. That night I felt terrible and I just wanted to be left alone. Unfortunately I was still being held under suicide watch by Sister 2 and she was determined to try and make me feel better. All I wanted to do was to sit by myself in a park and think, but I knew if I tried to leave the house she would call the cops and have me thrown back into the psychiatric ward. I wasn’t suicidal. I just needed to process things.

Today I had a session with another psychologist and it didn’t go much better. I was hoping this guy would have a different plan of attack to my current psychologist but he informed me that they work in much the same way. I was still wounded from my last session and I didn’t really feel like talking to this new guy. Nothing much happened during our one hour discussion.

When I returned back to the car Sister 2 was waiting for me. She wanted to go out for lunch, but I drove her straight home. I didn’t want to be a part of it. As soon as I got home I went back to my bedroom and closed the door. She came into my room and grabbed my laptop. Housemate A was home, but I didn’t feel comfortable talking to her around Sister 2.

Eventually I couldn’t hang on anymore. My sister asked if I wanted to go for a walk, and I said, “Yes. But only if I go on my own”. She agreed, or so I thought.

As soon as I left the house I started smiling. It was refreshing to be doing something on my own. I was entering my third week on suicide watch and I was about ready to snap. As I crossed the road I heard footsteps running after me. I knew it was Sister 2 by her footfall.

When she finally caught up with me she pleaded with me to come back home. I yelled at her to leave me alone. I told her to go back to Scotland. She started crying and we caught the attention of the passing motorists. One car stopped to see if we were ok. I walked off.

My sister followed me, approximately one metre behind. She wanted me to come home so we could talk about it. She just wanted to help me. I told her I needed some time alone. I wasn’t going to kill myself, I just needed to get out and think under my new favourite tree.

Then she started walking alongside me. That drove me insane. I yelled at her to get behind me. I didn’t want to see her. I could still hear her footsteps very very close behind me. That was enough to set my teeth of edge. I kept my arms folded the entire time.

She kept trying to talk to me, and I felt like I was going to explode. If she so much as touched me, or stopped in front of me I was ready to hit her. As I walked I kept my head down. I fantasised about grabbing the nearest stick I could find and stabbing her with it. I’ve never been so close to hurting somebody in my life. I was physically shaking as I tried to control myself.

We walked that way for about 5 kilometres. After that my father came out of nowhere and started walking behind me as well. I don’t know how he got involved. I didn’t want to see him at all and I was amazed that he had the nerve to show up at a time like this. He wanted to have a chat. I yelled exactly the same thing I had yelled at Sister 2, though I spared him several of the expletives.

He had the common sense to realise that I was about to snap and backed off. He must have stopped my sister as well, but I didn’t bother turning back to check. I walked another 2 kilometres to a point where I knew I would be able to check if I was being followed. Once I was satisfied that I wasn’t being followed I was relieved, but I still had quite a way to walk until I found my tree. I had a 7 kilometre trek through bushland to find it.

At around the halfway point I got a call from Sister 1. She wanted to know what was going on and I explained the situation to her. She said they were still looking for me, but she would call them off and get them to leave me alone.

I finally reached my tree about two hours later than I had originally planned. I was very fatigued after walking through bushland to get there and all of a sudden I felt the need for a cold beer – it would have been perfect in the cool shade of that tree. I haven’t had a drink in two weeks.

Actually the last time I had a drink was under the exact same tree. This was the tree that I sat under while drinking scotch after my suicide attempt. As I sat in the same nook I had sat in two weeks ago I felt a huge burden lifted off my shoulders. I cried with joy as I sat by myself for the first time in two weeks. All the tension that had been building up over that time was gone and I could finally think.

My session with the psychologist wasn’t a complete waste of time. A week ago I found out that my mother had suffered an episode of depression about two years after I was born. Around about this time my father began working very long hours and my mother was left to fend for herself in a town she didn’t know with four children. During my session I realised that I hated my father for leaving my mother and my sister like that. I don’t hate him for doing it to me. I couldn’t care less. But seeing the way it affected my mother really screwed me up.

That’s not the ultimate cause of my depression, but it’s a start; and as I lay under that tree I felt for the first time that I had made progress.

Another thing revelation that occurred under that tree today was regarding strength. I’ve always considered myself a weak person but I could never pinpoint why. Today I found the meaning of strength. Strength isn’t about being able to struggle on regardless of circumstance. It’s not about becoming hardened to the point where you can survive anything life throws at you.

True strength lies in becoming vulnerable. That’s the reason that I’m a weak person. I’ve never allowed myself to become vulnerable. I can always diffuse a situation. I can always find a way through it. Even with depression I’ve always been confident that I can sort it out by myself somehow. But I’ve never allowed anybody inside. I don’t know how to teach myself to be vulnerable, and that is why I have remained so weak for so long.


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