Saving Myself to Save My Family
by Skyler Nelson
I planned a three-day Disneyland trip to make great memories for Kenny, my two-year-old, and Jared, my husband. The entire week, I posted our fun and happy pictures online, using hashtags like “living my best life,” “family vacation” and “blessed mama.” But these photos and captions did not reflect my true thoughts or feelings. I was seven months pregnant with my youngest son, Conner, and battling severe depression. I planned to take my own life after we returned from the trip.
After losing my mother-in-law in January of 2017, I completely lost hope. I was overwhelmed by both mental and physical pain — and struggling to heal old wounds. As I progressed in my pregnancy, I convinced myself that Conner would be stillborn, and I would be forced to bury another child. I convinced myself that my husband and child were better off without me. I convinced myself that I was a burden to my entire family.
So I decided I was going to finally end my pain and let Jared move on. I thought he deserved a wife who was healthy, and Kenny deserved a mother who wasn't “crazy.”
During the trip, I thought constantly about my plan for when we returned home. I didn't want my family to know it was a suicide, so I planned to make it look like a tragic accident.
On the morning of our return, I woke up and told myself, “Today is the day.” But I looked at my unborn child’s healthy heart rate on an ultrasound device and knew I had to keep him safe. I couldn't hurt myself and my son. Conner ended up saving my life, and I'm so glad he did. From then on, I used my pain as motivation — I educated myself on mental illness and began to advocate for myself and my treatment.
I still battle my depression, but I am in recovery and on top of my mental health. I go to therapy once a week, I take medication for panic attacks and I've learned healthy ways of coping. I even enrolled in grad school, and I am studying to become a clinical psychologist.
I don’t want anyone to feel the way that I did. I hope that sharing my story can help someone else take the necessary first steps to recovery.