Time for me to be honest with myself and with the world. I feel like I’m drowning, and I need to stop pretending that I can do this on my own.
I’m depressed. That’s not really news, it’s happened many times before. This thick fog hanging around me that dulls everything in my life. This time is different; this time, the happy me is being buried. Before, I would be depressed and that would just be me. Now, I have so much to live for, my life truly is wonderful, but I can’t see it through the fog.
There is something about depression that makes it so hard to describe to someone that has never experienced it. I could describe every detail, but if you’ve never been there, it’s hard to grasp why depression is so hard. So I will start at the beginning. Find the roots of why I’m depressed, relate it to why I’m depressed now, and, hopefully, it will make getting over this easier.
I never felt appreciated as a child. I know, I know, everyone says this, especially when you’re a middle child, but it’s true. My straight A’s never seemed good enough. My brother, who barely squeaked by, was praised for getting a C+ on a test. I, on the other hand, barely got recognition for getting on the all-A honor roll. He was in football, I was in cheerleading. If our games contradicted each other, my game would be sacrificed. My 18th birthday was spend in a rehab facility, because I “had” to be there for my brother. It wasn’t just at home, I didn’t have friends growing up. I was made fun of a lot. Always picked last, that sort of thing. It didn’t get better as I got older. A lot of the “friends” I thought I had took everything they could from me, but offered no help in return. It all changed when I turned 16. I met a boy. He made me feel like no one else was ahead of me. He made me feel like I was the most important thing in the world. And since he was so nice to me, he made me feel like I owed him something. A back-rub here, his homework there. When he tried to make me do something explicit for him, I refused. He got angry, really angry. More than I have ever seen anyone get. He pushed me to the ground and kicked me in the stomach, I don’t know how many times. In the middle of it, he looked like he “snapped out of it,” like he just realized what he was doing. He cried and held me and apologized and said he loved me and he’d never do it again. Isn’t that what they always say? As the relationship grew, so did the violence. Pulling me around by my hair, pushing me down the stairs, always being mindful of my face. He said he didn’t need my dad going after him, he said my dad wouldn’t understand that I needed the beatings. One day, I went over to his house after a fight with my parents, over something stupid I’m sure. He sat me down on his bed, and poured me some Mt. Dew and vodka, to “calm me down.” I took it and drank it so fast I didn’t realize it tasted funny. The next thing I know, I couldn’t move my arms. Then my legs, then my face. I couldn’t move anything. All I could do was lay there and cry. He leaned in close and whispered, “Now aren’t you relaxed?” He brutally raped me for the next hour, then walked away. When it was over I couldn’t cry. My throat hurt from trying to scream. When I finally got control of my limbs, I walked downstairs to find him watching TV like nothing had happened. He apparently told his mom, who thought I was bad news, that I was just taking a nap. She took me home and I didn’t say anything to anyone. Not for years. We broke up a week later.
I would love to say that’s the only horrible experience, but it wasn’t. The next couple of boyfriends were just the same. I love you, I love you, you deserve to be beaten. Boyfriend number 3 was the worst. He held a loaded gun in my mouth, with his finger on the trigger. He slammed my head against the curb. When I was with him, I constantly thought I was going to die.
Then we get to my husband. I was literally about to walk away from my life, and start anew in a horrible place, when I reached out to the last person I thought would answer. I was stranded at one college campus and walked for almost a day to get back to mine. I went straight to a computer lab, wrote emails to my parents and siblings with a 6 hr delay, saying goodbye. As I was walking out, I saw a phone just outside the lab doors. I don’t know what caused me to do it, but I dialed the phone number of a guy I had just met a couple of weeks before. He answered and invited me over for ice cream and Xbox. I married him a year and a half later.
I’m not recounting all of this for pity or retaliation. More than anything it’s to get it off of my chest. I found recently, that if I openly talk about my issues, it really helps the healing. I’m terrified at the thought of sharing this with the world, which only solidifies to me that this needs to happen.
I’m not saying that my childhood was horrible, because it wasn’t. I’m not saying that every friend I had took advantage of me, because they didn’t. I’m not sharing my horrible past with guys to mess up anyone’s lives, because that’s not what I want.
What I do want is a feeling of worth. I want to turn off the doubting voices in my head that tell me everything that I do is wrong. I want to explain that I know what I need to do to get past this, but I need to say how hard it is and why.
It’s hard to feel like you can be worth anything when you were told you were insignificant by a bad person. It’s even harder when good people tell you that. It’s hard to feel worthy when you feel totally alone. It’s hard to see the amazing things you have, when all you knew about before was loss.
I am not depressed right now because of what happened to me in the past. I’m depressed because the feeling of worthlessness I gained from my past is dragging me down with my newest issues. I’m dealing with infertility now due to PCOS. It’s a chronic, genetic disorder that has nothing to do with anything I have or haven’t done, but that doesn’t stop me from screaming, why me? What did I do to deserve this? Why am I not good enough to have another child? Have I really screwed up that badly with the one that I have? Why doesn’t God want the only dream I ever believed in to come true? Is this what I get for feeling positive and confident? Is this the world’s way of telling me I shouldn’t try to be happy, because I never will be?
And then comes the guilt: Why am I not more appreciative of what I have? Why am I doubting God and his plan for me? Why am I so shallow that I just “have to have” a little girl? Why don’t you see what your selfish pain is doing to your family? Do you really want your little boy to see you cry? Why are you screwing up his life, too?
This causes desperation. This causes loneliness because I don’t ever want to talk. This causes problems in my home, because I’m not there for my family. This starts the chain of thinking of running away or ending it all. The lives of the people I love would be better without me there, screwing everything up.
I want to be better. I’m trying to be better. I’m trying to feel better. It’s the doubts that are keeping me down. The questions of worth, the noticing of every flaw. Nothing I do is ever good enough for me. Other people see my worth, but I don’t . But I’m trying. A while ago I was working through a “victims of domestic violence” workbook, and one of the suggestions they had was write down something positive about yourself every day, and put it where you will see it often. After a couple of weeks, write down 5 things, then a few weeks later, write 10. When you can readily write down 20 positives about yourself, you will notice your worth. Maybe I’ll try that, can’t hurt right? But I think this first step, of being honest and out there about myself and my thoughts and experiences, this is definitely the first step.