I cannot run from myself anymore.

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Tuesday, December 29, 6:15AM: The grey winter’s dawn forces its way into the cracks of my sleep mask. I refuse to accept it’s daylight already. The night, its darkness obscuring the sharp edges of daytime, quells the cacophony in my mind. Morning‘s first light is an assault on the emotions I try to run from.

Running away is my superpower, I tell myself. Running from the well of emotions I’ve tried to squelch for years with psych meds. …


Antidepressants can save your life. But their black box warning needs to be taken seriously.

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Content Warning: This article contains detailed descriptions of suicidal ideation. More, the information here is does not oppose antidepressants. Antidepressants have helped many people, including myself. Also, I am not a doctor nor am I a mental health professional.

I’m in an overwater bungalow in Moorea, French Polynesia, clutching my heart, deliberating over ways to kill myself. I’ve been on a new anti-depressant — the fourth I’ve tried this year — for seven days. …


Our voices are stifled, but we still fight back.

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Dear Depression:

You are a force to be reckoned with. But you already know that. The way you overpower even the most strong-willed person is nothing short of astonishing.

You attach yourself to so many of us. And those who are lucky enough not to be afflicted often don’t understand your vehemence.

You’re sneaky and persistent. You kill too many. Too many depressives cannot work. Too many of our loved ones suffer along with us in our misery.

Here’s the thing: we who do have mental illness are too melancholy to raise awareness. …


In my bleakest moment, I invoked my loved ones.

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Prayer does not change the world for me, but it can change me for the world. So, instead of seeing prayer as an unfortunate relic from a religious past, atheists can practice it as a ritual in which one pauses to gain proper perspective, humility, and gratitude. Only good can result from that. -William Irwin, IAI News

I’m sitting in the Pacific Ocean, looking out at where the sea meets the sky. I’ve forced myself to get outside and exercise, even though despondency suffocates me. I inhale the therapeutic sea water as the sun warms me. But a lump sits in my throat like wet cement. …


This week, I’m still alive and things are better.

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Content warning: This piece delves deeply into suicidal ideation while I’m being treated at a ketamine clinic.

If you have suicidal depression, please believe that everything is transitory. I have gone from seriously considering suicide to wanting to live within a week’s time. I want you to understand that this is possible.

I’m writing about depression again. I often feel like I’d be more useful writing listicles about something useful for other people, like how to maximize your time or accomplish your goals. I often believe I am not useful to other people; maybe I could pretend to be by writing such content.

But one truth I am sure of: last week I was certain life was not worth living. And this week, I have surfaced from the bleakest depths of my depression. …


Wisdom from a bloodless woman

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Menstruation stigma is a form of misogyny. Negative taboos condition us to understand menstrual function as something to be hidden, something shameful. And by not naming a thing, we reinforce the idea that the thing should not be named. -Clue

For the entirety of my bleeding life, I viewed my period as a misfortune. I was horrified when I pulled down my pants in the 7th grade gymnasium bathroom and saw a reddish-brown stain on my panties. …


Encountering death made me want to live.

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Two Ketamine Trips Before Meeting Death:

My experiences on ketamine have uncorked my consciousness. Out of the bottle of my mind spills a crimson ambrosia. The drug brings me to a numinous dimension. Like other suicidal people, I’ve wanted to leave the dimension I’ve lived in. Ketamine injections for depression are my last-ditch effort to stay alive.

For the most part, the treatments have left me hopeful. The psychedelic experiences have opened my mind to believe in the beautiful sweetness that lies beneath everyday mundanity.

Patients at my clinic are given a Psychedelic Experience Survey after every treatment. …


How a novel form of depression treatment has transformed me.

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I’m in another dimension. I don’t know my name, where I am, what I am. I can’t move any of my body parts. I exist in an overcast plane that’s punctuated by violet and sapphire light. That’s the only thing I know about my reality. Millions of crickets chirp their chorus; my hearing is heightened. I may be dead, but I am okay with it. It doesn’t hurt, and I have no fear. Except for the fact that I feel like I don’t exist in the known world, I am at peace.

The crickets still trill as I feel like I’m being dropped from that alternate dimension. I’m buoyant — it’s a soft descent. I can see myself from a distance, as if my fuzzy mind is in a hot-air balloon and I’m looking down on my body. But more suddenly than I’d like, I’m me again; I’m reclined in a leather chair, staring down at my tan ankle booties and faded jeans. I’m disappointed because I know I’m not really dead or existing on another plane. …


Some suicidal people are experts at hiding their affliction.

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You can’t always spot a suicidal person — she’s walking on the California sand holding a surfboard, with wet hair and post-exercise endorphins. She still loves her husband and he adores her. She still smiles at acquaintances and texts her friends and makes plans to go on walks with them. She still volunteers at homeless shelters and wears mascara and attends behavioral therapy groups on Zoom, joking with the facilitators and offering the wisdom of her 51 years. She still consults regularly with her psychiatrist so she can adjust her medication and supplements. …


It’s not your fault you’re depressed. You have to give yourself a break.

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Friday evening: I’m writhing in my bed. I’ve just had my 3rd ketamine treatment at a new clinic. The past three days, I’d thought my depression was over; I found a clinic where the doctors were competent and caring. I started treatment Monday. For the first time in months, I started to feel hopeful. I stopped fantasizing about killing myself. I tackled projects I’d been putting off.

But my treatment Friday was not as I’d hoped. I’d gone in expecting a lot. My experience three days prior was positive. During my K-hole trip, I was laying in a cool, verdant meadow. …

About

Kelley Jhung

Writer. Advocate. Truth seeker. Perpetually curious over-analyzer.

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