A little late, but it’s time to do the ever so wonderful link-up, Ketchup With Us, hosted by Mel of According to Mags and Michele of ODNT. There’s only a few link-ups left before Ketchup seals up their bottle, at least for a little while. Hopefully these ladies won’t be on hiatus for too long. This link-up is ALWAYS fun AND it gets me to remember to write. That’s always important, right?

This time around, we were asked to either link-up an old post or write about a “First”. There are many firsts I could easily write about. The first time I learned I was pregnant, the first moment I held my now 4 year old (almost 5) in my arms, even the first time I wrote and directed a screenplay. Instead, I decided to write about a difficult time in my life. A time where I witnessed a family member lose control. The reason I chose to write about this is because, as you all know, recently we lost an incredible man whom I greatly admired. He made me laugh until I was in tears every single time I saw him. Robin Williams was generous and brilliant, but also so terribly tortured inside that he made the decision to take his own life. Depression is a wicked disease and I have seen it take hold of a family member, who attempted to take her own life.

I was about 23 years old, my aunt had been in an out of psych wards dealing with major anxiety and depression. She was recovering from open heart surgery and a mass of other health problems, which I’m sure didn’t help her mental state much. I remember before the horrific event happened, my mom and I had taken her to a doctor in Fremont to try and figure out why she was having debilitating stomach pains. I remember sitting in that cold office chair. My mom at the far end, my aunt in the middle and me next to her. The doctor, who was harsh and rude, said “there is nothing wrong with her”, talking as if my aunt wasn’t even in the room. Fed up with doctor after doctor unable to find anything physically wrong with my aunt, I spoke up and said “if there is nothing wrong with her, then why is she in so much pain?” He pulled his glasses off his face, stared directly at me, and in a cold voice said, “because she is faking it all.” Right then I could feel my whole entire body tense up. How dare he! I’m a pretty calm person and it takes a lot for me to get completely angry to the point where I will speak up and say something and within a matter of five minutes this dude seemed to accomplish that. My voice got loud and my hands tightly clenched around the arms of the chair, “how can you say she is faking this whole thing?!?” To which he replied, “Easy. Attention.” I can’t remember what was said after that, I probably mentally blocked it out because I was so angry. With no emotion, my aunt walked back to the car.

Early morning, close to 3am, my mom gets a phone call from my Nanie. She runs out of the house, gets in her car and leaves. I find out a little later that my aunt had attempted to take her own life. She had taken a pair of dull scissors and slit both of her wrists during the night. Thankfully, she didn’t go deep enough. This was the first time I had ever known anyone to be so sad and broken down inside that they just no longer wanted to be here. I remember seeing her at the psych ward later that day, both wrists bandaged up, soul broken. What do you say to someone in that situation? I had to be sensitive, but at the same time I had so many questions. This was the first time I had sat directly in front of my aunt feeling as if I had let her down. I had spent years taking her in and out of hospitals trying to diagnose her pain (physical mind you), not once did I think about the pain she felt inside. It was the first time I had felt completely defeated. I couldn’t help her. No one could. She never really overcame her depression and subsequently passed away in 2008, in her early 50’s. They say she passed due to mass amounts of health problems, but honestly I’m not sure if that is entirely true. After her passing, my mom and I had gathered her things at the home she was living in. Going through small trinket boxes I discovered lots of her medications hidden. How long was she not taking her heart or diabetic medication? Could this have had a hand in her untimely death? Did she know that this could possibly happen?

We will never really know. I know that she was sad. I know she felt as if she was abandoned. I know that she wanted to be with her dad again. I just hope that now she is at peace with everything. I still feel guilty about what transpired between the two of us and how I wish there was more I could have done for her. In a way, that’s why I wanted to share this story. If this story can help anyone with coming to terms with depression or how to handle someone that you fear may be dealing with depression, then I’m glad I wrote this post. We never really know what is going on on the inside. 

judy

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