photo by Samantha McGranahan @

I had a full on emotional breakdown this past week. I can count on one hand the number of times in my life I have fallen completely apart like that. I actually didn’t think the depression I’ve been dealing with for so long now could get worse. How wrong I was. It’s been coming for a while. I hit this wall of depression, grief, anxiety, and the endless looping of my inside voice. Coming to terms as I try to create a new life living with a brain injury is a lonely damn journey.

I am not alone. I have a wonderful husband and incredible people in my life. I don’t feel unloved, abandoned, or like folks don’t care. I know how supported and loved I am. But the grief, oh the GRIEF! I had been walking around the house for days weeping. It all seemed too painful, so hard I couldn’t breathe anymore. I had no organized plan to harm myself, but for a while there, I felt myself very much on the edge. I was beginning to think John’s life might be better without me dragging him down. I knew I had to say it out loud right then. I felt myself on the brink of crossing over into a dangerous place where professional intervention would be immediately needed. The emotional and physical pain of admitting all the ways I was hurting was no longer bearable. Finally it just eroded every last defense and like rotting timbers holding up an old bridge, I was leveled; washed out by the rushing flood waters of pain. Ugly, ugly sobbing ensued. I didn’t even attempt to rein it in. I couldn’t. Countless tissues and way more snot than the human body ought to be able to produce, I finally cried myself out. My dear husband stayed by my side, listened to it all and didn’t try to fix any of it. Bless him.

Plenty of folks cope every single day with unbearably hard, soul crushing things. I don’t write this to seek sympathy. I am sharing my own truth. I have gratitude for so much. But right now, at this juncture of making huge decisions that will impact the rest of my life, in coping with the anxiety and stress of a legal case, making decisions about my career, our future and all the while trying every single day to wade through what feels like hip deep molasses to do basic things and having only a couple of truly productive hours on a good day while life piles up around me, well, that’s where I am: the quagmire. Somewhere, deep down where I can’t see it, I know I can find it. At least I hope I can. But I can’t find it without being here right now. And here, is ugly cry hard.

There was something essential in letting it all go. I wasn’t trying to overcome my feelings with my brain, I just felt. Letting all that pain out was like releasing a flood of toxic waste. Over the next 24 hours I was in a haze, my body ached, my joints grew stiff with inflammation, and my stomach ached. It has taken a few days, but from the other side I feel better. That breakdown was necessary. The sobbing helped release (what I hope) are some of the last vestiges of the wrestling match I’ve been having with myself. I feel like I finally hit rock bottom and maybe, just maybe, I’m on my way back. Grief is a circle with so many on ramps, not that linear checklist (one I can control). I’m sure it will cycle back, but right now, for the first time in a long time, I feel more capable to make decisions, can stop second guessing myself, trust my gut, my instincts and continue to be honest with myself. I feel like I have crawled out of the quicksand and back onto solid ground.

I’ll continue to move through this depression, to use all the tools in my box and be grateful for all the support and love in my life. Grief and pain have their own paths through our hearts and bodies and they must run their course. In those hardest moments, I did what I needed to do: I reached out for help and love and I let myself be in it. I’m glad that I did. We are putting some additional supports in place to help (and I thankfully have a great professional support too). I feel I’m on solid ground now and will continue to write about my experiences. If you feel alone and having are mental health issues, please reach out. I am not alone, you are not alone.

Resources: National Suicide Prevention Hotline (24/7) 1-800-273-8255

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Helpline 800-950-6264 M-F 10a-8p or in a crisis, text “NAMI” to 741741 for 24/7 support


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