Guest post by Annalise Sinclair
Editor and blog post designer: Christy Zigweid
Photo made using @WordSwagApp
The semester of college right after I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder was the worst of my life. I was in a terrible relationship with a real loser. I was on a highly competitive, world-ranked winter guard team, which I never, ever felt good enough for. I stupidly decided to take on way too many credits in school. I had just joined my sorority and wasn’t prepared for the time, energy, or self-commitment. I was struggling to figure out my identity as someone saddled with a mental illness. Essentially, I ran myself into the ground and then decided to dig a little bit deeper, just for good measure.
Somehow in the middle of all this, I found some time to adopt a kitten. I grew up around animals and had convinced myself that if I got a kitten, everything would magically get better. My aunt (another crazy cat lady) took me to the local Humane Society to “look around,” knowing fully that I couldn’t leave without my own ball of fur. So insert Addy, the cutest, spunkiest kitten you’ll ever meet.
Photo courtesy of Annalise Sinclair
Unfortunately, getting a kitten didn’t solve all of my problems; shocker, I know. I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into depression, which felt impossible to overcome. I felt like my only out would be taking my own life. Living each day was so hard and all I wanted was some peace. Suicide seemed so serene, like I could finally get some rest.
I planned everything out: I cleaned my apartment so no one would have to bother, figured out my method (something simple and painless), and wrote a goodbye to everyone that I loved. However, there was one problem. I had no idea how long it would take for someone to realize that I wasn’t answering my phone or showing up to things. I was worried that Addy would have to go too long without someone giving her food or water. I couldn’t be responsible for both of our deaths. So I drove the 45 minutes home to drop Addy off at my parent’s house. That is when everything changed.
My mom had come home early from work that day and had already started dinner. My plan to drop off Addy and run was no longer feasible; I had to stay and pretend to be the happy, wonderful daughter and sister my family knew. It was all too much and for the first time in my life, I finally broke down and talked to my mom about what I was feeling. I told her I was so unhappy that I considered suicide. The pain in her eyes was more than I ever wanted to see. I knew I had to find my courage and do whatever it took to get better. I couldn’t hurt my family by taking my life; my personal pain would never amount to the pain my death would have caused them.
I started seeing a new therapist the next week.
I often think back to that day, my decision day where I chose life over death, and think about what would have happened if I had never gotten Addy or didn’t care about her well-being. Suicide isn’t rational and I’m thankful that it isn’t. My concern for a kitten saved my life.
So when people reproach me for being a crazy cat lady, I couldn’t be more proud. For if it wasn’t for a sassy cat and an irrational love, I wouldn’t be here today.
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