Eyes Wide Open

Over the past few years, I have really struggled with myself. Accepting myself, being myself and most importantly, loving myself. Writing this has taken a quite a long time, ask Leona… She’s been waiting for me to write something for her for about a year. Mental health is a funny thing. A cruel thing, but funny at times. The past few years my brain has been playing tricks on me.

Rewind to about second year university, so about 4 years ago now. A LOT happened that year, some good and some bad. Mostly bad. In September of that year, my first boyfriend and I broke up, “for good this time” and we’ve all been there. We have to break up with our first love and the whole world comes down and I lost my fucking mind. But surprise, we got back together a month later and I found out he was on plenty of fish. He claimed he was just trying to make “friends”. This time the breakup was actually for good. I don’t remember much of what I said to break up, but there was a lot of me yelling at him and a lot of “fuck you” mixed in there between breathes.

Anyways, this is where things took a dramatic turn. For those who know/knew me, this turn was extremely unlike the girl everyone knew. I was always expected to be the sweet and innocent girl that couldn’t do any wrong. Boy was my family wrong. At this point in my life, single 19 year old Meagan found a new best friend, his name was Jose Cuervo.

I couldn’t tell you what happened or why, but my life revolved around alcohol. My priorities, like school and work did not matter, all I cared about was partying. I (barely) went to class and did my homework. It was either late or I was just passing. This was unusual for me because first year university I was the gold standard student who got A’s and handed everything in early.

Something changed in second year for me and I was not the same person I was…  All of this happened in a matter of months. It got to the point where I was drinking most of the time. Thursday through Sunday I was at the bar so drunk I couldn’t even speak. I’d wake up the next day, roll over until it was time to start drinking again.

This continued for about three solid months, I started failing exams and assignments. And then I stopped caring. School was nothing now. Friends were nothing. Drinking was everything. It was just a bonus that my two roommates were always down to drink with me.

Amongst all of my drinking I was also engaging in some pretty risky behaviours. Something no father likes to hear about their daughter (which mine NEVER will). I started sleeping with any guy that walked. My friends in university called me queen savage because of how many people I would bring home every weekend. I couldn’t even tell you if the guys wore condoms, and at that time I didn’t give a flying fuck because I did what I want and I didn’t give a shit about my well being.

All of this I remember. How could I not? I was skinny and having the “time of my life”. I was queen savage, who did whatever the fuck she wants. I had support from one of my good friends from high school, who went to university with me. He saw my progression of bad behaviours and he knew me before. He knew the old Meagan, the good girl who never left the library, got good grades and made her parents proud. This is all I had remembered until recently.

Going back, at this point in my second year experiences they were more than bad. They were becoming traumatic. Every night I went to bed I would pray to whatever was out there that I wouldn’t wake up in the morning. Each morning I did wake up I would be disappointed that no one was listening. So this happened for about a month mixed in with all of my drinking. I got tired of praying every night and wishing I wouldn’t wake up and then waking up the next morning.

I was frustrated I was doing this every night and not getting the results I wanted. I started thinking, maybe I need to consider actually growing a pair and making this happen if I wanted to essentially die. Each night going forward I felt guilty for asking to die, but it was something that I wanted at the time… I was just to scared to think about how I was going to do it. Until I realized I had what I needed all along.

I have a sleep disorder, called narcolepsy, and I take really strong amphetamines to keep me awake. So essentially it’s a legal version of cocaine. They are in the same class of drug. I was going through a tough time with my medication at this time, which didn’t help, but I had a whole full bottle of 200 pills on my dresser. I decided that I wasn’t going to take any of my meds for a while to keep them, together with a bottle of tequila and wine on my dresser. I was going to keep these there. Full and unopened, until the day I was ready.

Obviously that day never came, but when I started having suicidal thoughts, that was the time my brain decided I was better off not remembering these times.

Somewhere down the road of my recovery the next year when I realized I needed to get my shit together. My brain repressed like my life depended on it… and it literally did depend on it.

Fast forward through the next couple years, I was still drinking and going out with friends but I got my shit together and had my priorities in check. I rarely went out. Maybe once ever few weeks, but I still obviously went to the wine rack, (where they knew me and my friend) and bought our boxed wine and got drunk watching Gilmore girls a few times a week. I was happyish, but I was surviving and doing what I needed to do to get my ass through university.

I decided to apply for the Addictions and Mental Health program at Durham college, which I just completed this past month and will be graduating in October. During this time at Durham, we had a trauma class and being in a addiction and mental health program, we obviously talked about suicide. I remember sitting in my trauma class learning about suicide and everything just came flooding back into my brain like a damn had been broken. I am not even exaggerating, that whole year just flooded my brain and I was left paralyzed. Sitting in class, looking like I was just hit by a truck. And I wasn’t really sure what to do about this new information I had discovered about myself. I was extremely lucky that I had good friends to talk to, who had gone through the same thing I had. And to be honest, I have no fucking idea how I made it through this past year, rediscovering what I had worked so unconsciously hard to forget.

It was so hard to accept this about myself. I had to try very hard to be okay with not being okay. To this day, only 4 people know about my suicidal ideations and plan. I was just recently included on this list of people who know. I haven’t told any of my family members, especially not my mom or dad. I don’t know why I can’t bring myself to tell them. I have this feeling that they won’t take it seriously and maybe laugh. This isn’t really something I am willing to find out.

I still struggle with days where I am in denial of what happened, but then I will fall back into my old patterns of wishing I wouldn’t wake up… that’s how I know it was real. I had a hard time coming to terms with the fact that I was a shell of a human with no soul and not a care in the world.

It pains me to think back on how I used to treat people. I was a flat out shitty person. I did not give a fuck about anyone, mostly myself. I treated other people like garbage. My friends, especially those who I cared about the most. I wanted to push them away because I didn’t want them to know what I was going through and if I did die, I wanted to make it easier on them to get over it, because I was such a bitch to them in the end. Somehow they stuck by me and with their help and support (even though most of them still don’t know) I was able to pull my head out of my ass and get my shit together.

I am one of the lucky ones. A lot of people aren’t able to do what I did. It is not an easy thing. It took years of me working and fighting for my own happiness and eventually remembering and coming to terms with who I am. This is still a part of me. I still fall into those depression days where I am not okay and I don’t want to live, but the most important thing I have learned is how to get myself back. I have accepted and I choose to move on.

Mental health is a fucked up thing. People look at me in the mental health field and say “Well what do you even know about mental health… you will never know what it’s like”… but I do.

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