Who You’d Be Today (Or Who’d You Be Tomorrow)

I woke up with a very heavy heart today, missing Kaitlyn more than ever. When I feel like this, which is 99.9 percent of the time, I sometimes do something in her honor. So I made another video slide of her. It only lasts 4 minutes. I hope you watch.


About gatito2

My name is Rhonda. I'm a registered nurse, for the last 20 years, that has not been able to work since the day I learned of my daughter's death by suicide 4-12-13. (She actually died 4-11-13 and her body was not found until the 12th) Me and my husband have been married for 32 years and he's a wonderful man. We grieve in different ways. He works, I write. This is my journey through this horrible land of losing a child..
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7 Responses to Who You’d Be Today (Or Who’d You Be Tomorrow)

  1. Rhonda, as I read through your blog, it occurs to me that Kaitlyn had undiagnosed bipolar disorder. In bipolar disorder, the depression can come on suddenly and intensely, out of the blue, my patients tell me. It’s a very challenging disorder. I know this is not a comfort, but since you are doing research I thought you might want to read about bipolar disorder.
    I find your blog very helpful and comforting. A teenager whom I knew for years through my daughter committed suicide June 23, and I find myself very sad about it. It isn’t nearly the pain you feel. I comfort myself by going through his twitter and vine postings. He was very funny, clever. Like your daughter, he showed no sign at all, and his suicide was a shock. He left a letter and some posthumous twitter posts. In the posthumous twitter posts (posted by his older brother) he said he had been thinking of this a long time. He also said, to his friends, “nothing you could have done I promise you were all amazing to me” (twitter has 140 character limit)
    I see so many parallels between him and Kaitlyn. I haven’t read his suicide letter, and have not spoken to his mother, who has been out of contact since the funeral.
    I’m sure there are parents like me, who knew your daughter, and who, therefore take great comfort in your blog.
    You write very well, Rhonda.


  2. gatito2 says:

    Micaela, you have put to words something I have spent a good bit of time wondering about. She said in her letter she had been depressed all her life, but I have since wondered if she was bi-polar. The last 5 years of her life, she has been away to undergrad and med school and we only got to see her once a month so any manic episodes I would have never seen. Though there is bi–polar type I and then there is the bi-polar type II where the manic episodes are not as severe but the depressive episodes are very severe and come in cycles. What you suggested does not hurt me at all and even if I had not thought about it, It would not have because I want as many answers I can find though I know I will not find them all. I just wish so very much that she could have shared her illness with me or someone and have gotten help. You do have to work at trying to get better with meds and counseling, but it’s like any illness. With hypertension you have to take meds, watch your weight and what you eat. With diabetes you may have to take meds, not eat certain foods and perhaps take classes to learn how to manage it. The same work goes towards trying to help youself with depression, but its worth it and no one should be made to feel ashamed of it. Isn’t it terrible that this society is like that? I’m a registered nurse though I’ve not worked a day since my daughter died. I also suffer from depression myself but I sought help for it unlike my daughter. Thank you so much for your comments and the thought you have put into reading my post. It means a great deal to me and I would like to keep in touch with you here. Thank you again. Rhonda


  3. gatito2 says:

    Oh, and thank you for the compliment on my writing. I just have so many thoughts that need to come out about this.


  4. Ted says:

    I stumbled upon your blog from your thread on studentdoctor and I had been meaning to comment on it but never knowing quite what to say. I was going to post about the possibility of Kaitlyn suffering from bipolar disorder when I saw that the previous commenter had already mentioned it. Here is a good article detailing the reality that bipolar II can often be mistaken for major depressive disorder (MDD) with no co-occurring disorders.

    I’ll be applying to med school this year and I have suffered from bipolar type II for almost ten years. The manic episodes are infrequent, but when they happen the feeling is probably similar to someone who was high on cocaine for a few days. Then the crash happens, and the low is even lower than the previous record low. I also suffer from major depressive disorder which co-occurs with the bipolar II, so no days are that great for me.

    The only thing, literally the only thing, that stops me from killing myself is the thought of what it would do to my mother. She is in her late 50s, in great health, and will hopefully live into her 80s. Whenever it happens, however, I’m pretty sure that I will follow her soon afterward. We have a very close relationship, similar to the one that you have (not had) with Kaitlyn.

    My life is a miserable existence and one that very few people can relate to because very few people have felt as low as I have for the better part of a decade. Most of them will have found a combination of psychotropic drugs that work for them or they will have given in to their urges. None of the drugs that I have tried (and I’ve tried them all) have worked on me. It is difficult to describe with precision what having this condition feels like, but most days I have a voice in my head that is basically telling me to do it. It is in my head when I am lying awake at night and not otherwise occupied. When I am busy with a task or engaged in an activity, it isn’t there. If I have free time and am at my computer, I am usually googling information about suicide methods (usually involving a jump from a high height).

    I go to great lengths to hide my condition from people, as do many others with bipolar disorders. I have even managed to have girlfriends during this time, with one relationship lasting almost a year and a half, but none of them knew about my condition. People with depression sometimes hide their condition from others, but it seems that people with bipolar disorders are far more likely to do so, because we know that the chances of it being treated successfully are substantially less than with MDD. 15% of those with a bipolar disorder commit suicide, with roughly half of sufferers attempting it at least once and almost 90% seriously contemplating it. Bipolar II is more closely correlated with suicide than bipolar I because bipolar II sufferers do not experience the same degree of highs as those with bipolar I. We also have a greater number of depressive episodes and are just less well overall.

    My post has gone on too long already but I just wanted to lend some insight into something that you have probably already heard from others: your little girl was suffering. Perhaps she had a voice in her head like I have in mine, one telling her not to burden other people with her problems. I know from reading your other posts that you wish you could have known so you could have prevented it, but if she did have bipolar disorder, then her sense of reality could have been as distorted as mine. During low times, we often see ourselves as unworthy of the attention or respect of others, and because of our distorted perceptions, we often have a warped view of other people’s lives and can see their lives as comparatively perfect. I look into the faces of other people in supermarkets and shopping malls, I often wonder what it must be like to wake up with a genuine feeling of happiness or excitement. Nine days out of ten, I’m wearing a fake veneer of contentedness simply to avoid having friends or random strangers ask me why I have a vacant facial expression.

    I know that bipolar disorder, along with similar depressive disorders, is biological in nature. These feelings manifest inside me because my brain is screwy, and no drug concoction has been able to treat it. It isn’t treatable with therapy, because the depression isn’t based on current events in my life. I could win a 300 million dollar lottery tomorrow and it wouldn’t change anything, because I would still feel the same way when I am alone with my thoughts. If there is a god, I find it hard not to be angry at him for making me so emotionally fragile.

    I am so incredibly sorry for the loss of your daughter. She seemed like an amazing human being, beautiful on the inside and out. The recent post about her chess skills was very intriguing to me because I played for about ten years of my childhood and also found some success with it. I said it earlier but I’ll say it again: you couldn’t have done anything to prevent it. She hid her suffering and the mental demons she was fighting eventually overcame her strong desire to avoid hurting you. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children. It’s hard enough when a child dies from a protracted physical illness, but when the death is due to accident or suicide, there’s no warning or chance to prepare.

    All I can say is that the pain and anguish she was suffering must have become too unbearable for her. I mentioned earlier that thoughts of what it would do to my mother are what keep me from committing suicide. Sometimes people just can’t bear the pain any longer, however. There are no perfect analogies but one I often think of is a person on life support, in intense pain that no drug can mask. They hold on for their family’s sake but eventually they pull the cord out from the wall because the pain has become too much. The analogy isn’t great because the family of the patient knows about the suffering that he is enduring, and you didn’t know about the deep pain that Kaitlyn felt. The only comforting words I can offer you is that she feels she is in a better place because she is no longer in pain. We have euthanasia in some states for patients who are terminally ill, but on most days my emotional agony is probably equal in its severity. I suspect the same was true for Kaitlyn.


  5. gatito2 says:

    Hello Ted, I waited to reply to you when I was alone, had no distractions and could really take the time to give you the reply your comment deserves. First of all, let me thank you for the very deeply moving and informative comments. I feel as though Kaitlyn experienced every single feeling that you go through. I did not know this before she died because I thought she was the happiest person on Earth, but since she has died and she told me in her note that she had been sad all her life, only then did I realize she suffered at all, much less enough to take her life.

    I am so very sorry that you suffer the way you do. I see that you have put much effort into researching your diagnosis as well, which is what many people do when they suffer. They try to find out as much as possible. I don’t say this much, (and a little later I will tell you why), I was diagnosed with bi-polar type II a few years ago, when they had been thinking I suffered from depression. They tried so many drugs on me and either they didn’t work, quit working, or made my condition so much worse, or caused me to have symptoms I never had before. I went through a few different psychiatrists because I was not satisfied with their treatment; I went through many counselors because most of them helped me very little. However, in time, I have been taken off all the medication that I was on to treat bi-polar because I really do not have bipolar type II symptoms. When I’m depressed I get way down there and I have no times when I feel overly hyper or my mood inflates unusually. So now I’m on one antidepressant and one anti-anxiety med. The reason I said I don’t mention this much in public is because I don’t want people so see what I’ve been through and therefore choose not to seek treatment at all because sometimes you have to work so hard to get the right kinds of medicines that work for your condition. I don’t want to disillusion anyone, but they must know the truth as well. There’s rarely an easy fix for depression or bi-polar disorder. You are so right in all you said. I had been managed very well for the last year and no longer needed counseling. Then Kaitlyn took her life so I don’t know how to feel except in agony.

    I feel so much that perhaps Kaitlyn saw all I went through, and did not want this for herself ever. According to things some of her friends said, sometimes she would seem a little low, but nothing serious, but the worst times for her they said was when she was not busy and had time alone. Those times were when she was depressed. (I find this all out after the fact). Also, Kaitlyn was a perfectionist and I don’t think she could have lived with someone knowing that she had any kind of problem like this. Also, she did not want to burden anyone with her problems. Also, I feel like she thought she could manage it herself by keeping herself busy and trying so many new things. I feel like she just could not manage it anymore and could not go on.

    She said in her suicide note to us that she had been sad all her life and was exhausted by the weight of her sadness. She said she would have died years ago, but she could not bear the idea of the pain she would cause us. But now she said she could not bear it anymore. She said she was going to wait until we died our own natural deaths, many years in the future, but to forgive her that she could not do that. She said it was unfair to have to continue the life she has had to live any longer.

    I was so surprised by what she did because we saw no signs at all. She continued to accomplish, to achieve, to try new things, to run, to live life to the fullest. My idea has always been that if someone is depressed, you can always see the signs. This is the way it was with me, I would be obviously very low and I would tell someone and get help. I had no idea that someone who suffered so greatly could do so in silence. It just floored me. Since then, I have learned so much by people who have experienced the same thing Kaitlyn did, but have lived to tell the tale.

    I don’t know if she got worse when she started medical school or not (because, of course, I knew nothing of it anyway), but I do know from students that have contacted me that medical school can be a very lonely and isolating place for some people. But I do know she always seemed to thrive on hard work and she always praised her school and her experiences there.

    I hope so very much that you can find the proper treatment so you can feel good again. I know what it’s like to feel so miserable and feel so undeserving of anything. I wish more than anything that my daughter had not had to live her life as you described and how she described in her note to me. What a horrible thing to happen to intelligent, creative, gifted people that have so much to give the world and deserve so much better than to feel like they only want to die to relieve their mental pain.

    I want to say again that you have truly hit home with the feelings you describe because it sounds as though Kaitlyn may have written what you wrote, if only she would have done it, and lived to do it. But she chose instead of going not through it anymore, she just had to leave. I know now that she was in horrible mental pain. No one understands how severe it is unless they go through it. And they also don’t understand that you can seemingly have it all, and still suffer. They don’t understand that it is chemical. (Though some depression can be situational).

    I wish you well in med school. Have you been accepted yet? Please continue to try to find what works for you and please never, ever give up. I can tell you are a wonderful person like my daughter was and you deserve happiness. You also deserve to see what a wonderful person you are. Please always fight the depression that tries to tell you otherwise. It is a liar. Thank you for thinking of your mother. She would be destroyed like I am if you were to take your life. My daughter knew this I know, because she knew I adored her and the sun rose and set in her to me. But I also know that she tried for as long as she could to hang on and not to hurt us. But she could hold on no longer. The pain was too great and the world lost a wonderful, caring, gifted, intelligent person on that day. A great loss. Just as it’s a great loss to lose anyone to suicide. Your loss would be terrible as well. In your lowest times, please continue to think of your mother, but please continue to get help because sometimes that vision of seeing your loved ones hurt, no longer works anymore.

    I hope you will keep in touch with me. If you ever need to talk my personal email is: welding81@intrstar.net if you want to tell me anything more private or just want to keep in touch that way, or you can always comment like you’ve done.

    I sincerely wish you well. Again, I cannot tell you what your comments mean to me and I thank you so much for taking the time for me.


  6. Kaitlyn and I share a birthday. To the very year.
    I’m sorry, you probably either don’t want to hear that or it doesn’t mean much to you, but I’ve been following your story and it struck me to notice that.
    A lot of students on our medical campus have committed suicide in my five years here. I wish I can do something to prevent this. I’ve seen what it does to the families. And I’ve seen what depression does to many of the students when they don’t find help.
    I don’t really have anything to say that will help, I think, but your Kaitlyn is beautiful, and I’m thinking of you.


  7. gatito2 says:

    I think it’s so very nice for you to have told me about her birthday being the same as yours. What a coincidence. What it means to me is that you care enough about someone suffering and are willing to say a kind word to them and I appreciate it so much. Thank you for all the nice things you said. Depression is terrible especially if no one tells anyone about it and does not get treatment. I don’t know if med school made her condition worse or not because I didn’t ever know when her depression started. I wish you luck in your career and please take care of yourself. Thank you so much for your comments and for following my blog. It means a lot to me. Rhonda


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