I realized the other day what a tremendous actor I am. I have spent years pretending to be fine, faking that I am fine and succeeding for most of my life. People around me have questioned when my struggle with depression began, wanting to help me by focusing the blame on incidents or situations rather then the chemical imbalance and my lack of ability to handle stress. It’s an understandable notion as I tried for a lot of years to be “okay”. In the last 3 years approximately I have been on my journey to peace and it has caused a lot of friction, conversations and fights within my family. So today’s post is dedicated to my history, not the minutia of my life, but the milestones of discovery that have lead me to therapy, medication and sometimes lead me deeper down the rabbit hole.
According to my Mom and Grandma I was always a sensitive child, easily hurt and super protective of my little sister. I have memories of that. I have memories of crying when I thought my stuffed animals feelings were hurt, or wishing I was stronger so I didn’t feel so scared. That was when I was very young. Don’t get me wrong, I had an awesome childhood and my memories of that time are filled with warmth, and fun and I was not aware then that there was anything off, I thought everyone apologized to objects, dolls and toys when they got left behind.
When I went to junior high I made my first “true” friends. These were the first bonds with people outside my family that I thought were deep and important. There were soaring highs and deep lows. I “fell in love” with a boy and he dumped me for my best friend, I didn’t react well. Within 3 months of that incident I had written a suicide letter and intended to end my life. I couldn’t understand what I had done wrong, I mean seriously, I “loved” him, but in reality he was a 14 year old boy and I was a 13 year old girl. But that desire to be loved by someone who didn’t “have too” love me was tremendous and very desirable.
I went to counseling for awhile and didn’t get much out of it, except that my parents loved me dearly and were scared for me. Over the next few years, as in throughout high school there were many moments that I contemplated taking my life, when I was floundering in school, or failing in relationships with people and I felt my worth was nothing. Usually my family saved me, they didn’t know it, because I didn’t say it out loud but somehow they always did something to register in my mind that I had value. After high school I let my relationships with my best friends slip away, it was easier then pretending to be fine anymore. I threw myself into work and college life taking jobs that allowed me to be anyone I wanted. I chose to shorten my name and I was fun, I was a party girl and people loved to be around me. I still cried at night, but I kept that to myself. It was a great few years of enjoying life, all the stress I had happen to me was gone when I stepped out the back door at work.
Eventually I grew ambitious, and took jobs with more responsibility but usually within about a year I had started to mishandle the job, and I would see it as failure. I would spiral after each self sabotage. Around this time I met my husband, and there were many nights I scared him half to death with my panic attacks and crying fits. But it took me sabotaging my friendships, pushing my husband to his breaking point and having my family comment on the changes they saw in me to seek help.
The moral of all of this I guess is that you never know. People who have known me for years still say they don’t get it. Believe me I don’t get it either. I look at my family and think why can’t I be more like them. Try to remember to be kind to others, and yourself. Try truth as well, because secrets don’t help, in fact they will hinder your recovery, I should know.
There you have it, my history in a nut shell, which serves no purpose other than to let you know that there is a past, I didn’t wake up one day and discover I was chemically imbalanced. Nor will I wake tomorrow and be just like everyone else. This is a long road I travel.