Hi Zach! First, incredible essay. We so often hear the stories of the survivors but hardly ever about the place it manifests from. Next, I am so far removed from my emotions that I rarely, if ever, connect with someone else’s story. I don’t feel alone today because I connected with yours. I am grateful.

On the subject of choice, in my own experience there is no choice in the matter because I’m not given a choice. It’s not a yes or no question. I had to look back, it was in August that I wrote the story of my last suicidal ideation episode.

I was literally in the process of exercising, my best defense against depression, when the voice in my head told me to kill myself. Intrusive thoughts are very real but I don’t think people who don’t experience them can even begin to understand what it’s like. The pain is already fucking unbearable when the voice speaks to me. There have been times I’ve scared myself.

Since then, the right combination of Lamictal and Klonopin have help in the sense that the experience of the intrusive thoughts are far less intense. Maybe it’s because the medication has given me the room to breathe that I needed in order to handle it better, or maybe it’s because it’s caused by a chemical imbalance in my brain and not by choice.

I’m fortunate that I become two people. In the moment the me who is not being controlled by intrusive thoughts has enough rationale to seek immediate help, but never do I have a choice. If I did I would chose not to experience these episodes.

You know, you should really submit this to Medium to be featured. It’s most certainly worthy.

We need to keep speaking up and people need to hear us.

Newspaper reporter in Eastern Iowa. The views expressed are mine alone.

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