Full Circle

Every so often, life makes you painfully aware of how far you have come. Life chose to do this as I drove up to a new location to meet my therapist during one of the lowest weeks I’ve had with depression to date. I thought everything looked too familiar…

I’m sitting with my therapist telling her about how I’m ready for all this suffering to be over when I remembered why it looked familiar. I could see the place through the tiny window in the room – the place I first went to therapy eight years earlier. I couldn’t help to think about how far I have come, rather how far I haven’t come. I still don’t have friends, I am still suffering with my weight and self-esteem, I am still going through crippling depression. Life had come full circle and I couldn’t help but cry.

Had I known I would be sitting across the street eight years later, balling my eyes out about suicide and self harm, about my weight and lack of friendships, I would have killed myself at 15. If only I could go back in time and tell 15 year old me that I was right, it isn’t worth it to live in this world. I couldn’t help but wonder if in eight years I’ll be having the same revelation.

At the same time, I was thinking about all the experiences I have had in the last eight years. Both the good AND the bad. Life isn’t about weighing the good and the bad; it’s about enjoying the good. It’s such a damn shame that depression makes this difficult. I’ve been so focused on my mental health that I’ve let life pass me by. Eight years has gone by and I haven’t let anything change. I’m in my own way, standing between myself and my happiness. In eight more years, after I’ve done everything in the world to change my reality, I can revisit whether or not life is worth it. But for now I need to keep on trucking along.

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Venting: “There is help out there, don’t worry.”

Disclaimer: Pardon the somewhat graphic nature of this post, also I am writing this stream of consciousness style (as I do with all my venting posts), so no judgement please. Trigger warning for sure.

***** IMPORTANT: If you are just now starting to look for help, I highly recommend that you read this carefully, if you do at all. I am a bitter old woman when it comes to the mental health field because of my experience with it. There IS help, you just have to look in the right places and be patient. For me, this makes me angry considering my current situation. It saved my life when I heard it first, eight years ago. So please, get help, just know that it takes incredible patience and hope. It will be ok; it just takes time. And they don’t always tell you that when they say “things will get better.”

 

Ok, now for the angry venting you have all been waiting for:

“There is help out there, don’t worry.” This is a statement that I have heard over and over again and it pisses me off to no end. As someone who has struggled so much for so long, I don’t believe this anymore. Sure, there is help for some, but there isn’t help for all. The mental health field in general does not take anyone seriously who does not have a gun to their head.

Psychiatry

Psychiatry drives me crazy, which is ironic. It takes months to get into a psychiatrist and then another month at least to see if the medication is going to work. If it doesn’t work, it takes another month to try the next one that likely won’t work either. Something like fifty-percent of people do not respond to antidepressants at all, so it’s trial and error and trial and error, over and over and over again, until a patient finally gives up. What pisses me off the most is that it takes so long to get into a psychiatrist. As someone who needs a high level of psychiatric care, being told I won’t be able to see a psychiatrist for three months is grounds to cause a freak out that lands me in the ED or inpatient – or worse.

Therapy

As far as therapy goes, yes, it is wonderful for some. Especially wonderful in conjunction with medication that works. Many people can get through a bout of depression with therapy alone. Whether it be DBT or CBT, it can change lives. However, paying for therapy is impossible for many struggling people. It is difficult to find a therapist in network and if they aren’t in network, that’s probably $100+ a week. Even if the therapist is in network, a $30 copay a week is not feasible for all. Especially for those who can’t work because of their mental illness or addiction. And that is only if you are going to therapy once a week. I am so blessed to have top tier insurance through my parents, without it I don’t think I would be here today. However, I am now looking at three therapy appointments a week and until I get to my out-of-pocket maximum, which thanks to inpatient I am getting very close, this is still a burden to pay for. It also takes time to find a therapist that works for you. It is a lot like trying to find a compatible loved one – it takes time and money. In conclusion, therapy does not help everyone.

ED

The emergency department probably angers me the most. So either you try to kill yourself, someone intervenes because it either didn’t work or they catch you in the act, or you voluntarily walk yourself in (as I have twice). Prior to the previous inpatient treatment, I was unaware that you could just check yourself in to inpatient programs directly. However, I can only imagine that you are much more likely to be accepted if you are admitted through the ER. That was the case with getting into IOP. Prior to going to the ED, I was told it would be three months before I could start IOP, but after going to the ED, I was in the next day.

Additionally, the ED is TERRIFYING. If you can avoid it, I highly recommend admitting yourself directly to an inpatient facility. The first time I went to the ER, I was traumatized by what I saw. They offered no help and they simply sent me home because they had no beds for me. The second time I went in, they were much more accommodating. This probably was because I was about to kill myself and I was committed involuntarily, so they actually took me seriously. I get so pissed off because I feel like you aren’t taken seriously if you haven’t attempted suicide.

 

In conclusion, I apologize for the post obviously being written from a place of deep anger. I am at a point where I feel like I have gotten all the help I can get and I still feel incredibly depressed. I have tried almost all the medication I can and I don’t know what other options there are for me, except for ECT. Also, this is clearly a chronic, genetic mental illness that will be recurrent throughout my lifetime. I was told by a psychiatrist (don’t get me started about how angry this makes me) that each subsequent episode gets worse and worse because the neural pathways are strengthened in your brain each time. As a neuroscience major, this makes perfect sense to me, but as a human being, why the hell would she tell me this?!? I have yet to confirm that statement, although I doubt its validity, but it still is burned into my brain as a possibility. I have exhausted my options and I don’t know what’s next. This is a lifelong battle that I know I can’t win, so what is the point of continuing to try?

Also, if you are one of the few reading this, please let me know what kind of posts you want to see. I would love to hear your suggestions as well. I have a ton of ideas and I don’t know what I want to post next!

A Letter to My Ex

I started this out originally with “I don’t hate you,” but upon further reflection, I absolutely do hate you. I have tried so hard to be indifferent, but I can’t sit back and act like you don’t deserve to be hated. I spent 4 years of my life on you and you destroyed me. Now I know it isn’t fair to put all the blame on you, I know my explosive emotional lability did not help anything. For that I take responsibility, but I don’t take responsibility for anything else.

When you smacked me, hunted me down on campus, and I had to hide in a random bathroom from you and your anger just because your best friend told me he was going to rape me, I went back to you. When you repeatedly told me you were embarrassed by me because I was sexually assaulted and you did not want to go out in public with me in high school or college for that reason, I stayed with you. When you hit me for inviting you over and my family was there, I stayed. But when you told me that the college sexual assault was my fault, I couldn’t stay anymore. The problem was (and still is) that I wanted to stay. Despite everything you had done to me, all the emotional hurt and damage, I wanted to be with you forever. It’s taken me almost a year of not seeing you to realize how absurd that is. Had you not gotten a girl friend, had you not been separated from me by miles and miles, this cycle would have continued. And that’s what bothers me the most. But, I finally have the rose colored glasses off.

For four years, I listened to your digust of me and I believed it. Because I was so depressed in high school, I drank quite a bit and you blamed me for all the guys who took advantage of me knowing that prior to having met me. You told me you couldn’t sleep at night knowing I was known as easy and as a whore. You told me it was eating you to your soul. If we hung out and you didn’t make me cry, I would think something was wrong. Even though you were my first real boyfriend, I should have known all this was wrong. I should have known when you told me you wouldn’t go to prom with me or take you to yours. I should have known when you did take me, but didn’t once dance with me or acknowledge me. I should have known when you cheated on me because it, and I quote, made you “feel better about all the guys I had been with,” so it was “good for the relationship.”

What made me stay was the connection we had. I thought you knew me to my soul. We explored every dark, painful corner and we talked about it, worked through it. After being depressed for so long, you simultaneously brought me out of it and pushed me back into it. I cannot thank you enough for the part of our connection that pulled me out of depression. I got to know myself through you. But now I look at you as just a sounding board, nothing more. You were a forum where I could learn about myself and what it meant to be depressed in a world that didn’t quite accept that yet. I needed someone, anyone to listen to me and go on that journey with me, as I didn’t have the strength to go alone.

However, I cannot keep acting like that connection made everything else worth it– it was not. The emotional problems I have now because of you and because I stayed are not worth it. I keep trying to justify your behavior and I have to stop trying. My self esteem is non-existent, my social anxiety is in part due to you, maybe even part of the exacerbation of my BPD. My college experience, in part, was horrible because of you. I can’t leave my apartment or walk on campus without constantly scanning the area for you. The instant I see you I start to have a panic attack and I turn running in tears. I have nightmares worse than any childhood fear of monsters; I fear you and everything you are. You are my monster.

The part of you that constantly put me down and judged me is part of me now. It echoes painfully in my skull. The echoes keep me from loving someone else, from letting myself be vulnerable. They keep me from being who I am and who I want to be.

But I stayed for four long years, and that’s what keeps me up at night.

5-25-17

Dear Diary,

Well I have tried to write a million different posts, but it’s bad. I’m so beyond depressed and I can’t do anything. I started work last week and I think that is the only thing keeping me sane, even though I hate it so much. It keeps me busy during the day, but then I cry all night. I self-harmed again (not as bad as it was a couple weeks ago), and I started purging and restricting again. I can’t restrict so much when I’m at my parents house for the summer for an internship, so that causes more purging. But I really don’t care anymore. I am writing this in the middle of staring at the ceiling catatonically, while one or two tears fall down the side of my face. I always say being moderately depressed is the worst because you have to function while hurting, but this sucks a lot too. This feels a lot like the worst episode I have ever had and I’m scared. I don’t know what to do or how to do it because it’s really clear now that this is going to keep happening over and over again. I have “turned on autopilot” which helps me to get through the day, but it only makes things worse, I know. I just can’t deal with my reality and I don’t have another choice. This is the absolute worst. I need help again already and I don’t have the courage or strength to get it.

Blast From the Past: First Depressive Episode – Part 2

Post-Diagosis with Depression

Age: 15

12-1-09

Today sucked. We had a speaker in health talking about depression and she said if you had four or more of the listed symptoms, you should talk to someone. Well I had all but four…I was going to talk to my mom about it but we got in a fight in the car about how she is done with me being sad. So I don’t feel like I can talk to her about it anymore.  Ugh, I don’t know what to do. Now, I am denying myself food and fun. Things are getting worse.

 

12-3-09

WORST DAY EVER. Started out with a “so real” dream about Joe*… Ended with seeing him and his girlfriend together. FML! No one sat with me in any classes. I’m not eating AT ALL. UGH. I need to talk to someone. It is getting worse. ASAP.

 

12-16-09

Well today was probably the best days I have had in a loooooooong time. Aaron* and I are going to go out soon I think. My mom got me an appointment with a therapist because of a note I wrote her. The appointment got cancelled so we are trying to schedule another one ASAP. Four more days of hell (school)…

 

1-3-10

Hey. Well Christmas break is over L FML. I hate school! I want to switch soooo badly but it will probably not happen. FML (again). I am incredibly sad and antisocial 24/7. My friends hate me and so does everyone else. Volleyball starts tomorrow… It is going to f****** suck soooo much! UGH!! 104 days of hell (school). I wish things were still simple.

Me and Aaron* are going out but I don’t want to. So idk what will happen with that. Exams are in two weeks. Maybe I’ll switch schools then.

Three Wishes:

  1. Move to a new state
  2. Me to be skinny and happy and pretty
  3. More wishes
  4. World peace
  5. Fix climate change
  6. Joe* moving to Antarctica (and freezing)
  7. My family to be happy and healthy.
  8. Money
  9. More wishes
  10. etc…

**Laughing at “I wish things were still simple.” If you only knew how simple things were…

 

1-13-10

Well I went to the therapist and I loved it. I am going once a week – I hope it helps because mentally I am not willing to change my attitude at all. Volleyball sucks, I don’t try anymore. I still want to switch schools – maybe if I get meds and act happy ha. I am stressed, overwhelmed, unhappy, AHH… Exams are next week. I’m going to fail. Me and Aaron* are no more. I’m not allowed to quit volleyball. I saw Joe*-asshole at the mall. I hate him.

 

1-23-10

Yesterday was a great day. I got to go to the mall and I had an appointment and I went to [the city] with Gabby* and her dad, Alanna* and her dad, Abby, and my dad and I. It was fun. Today is Alanna’s* birthday. I had exams and I think I aced them all. Today I am very sad and I don’t know why. I really want to redo my room.

 

1-24-10

I officially declare the dream I had last night the worst dream EVER. Ok so in my dream, Joe* texted me and said he was sorry and that he hoped we could do things differently. I texted him and told him to come over and that I loved him. He told me it would be like twenty minutes because he needed to break up with his girlfriend. When he came over, we hugged and started going out again. I told him that if this was a dream, I would kill myself. That is how real it was, like I could actually think and decide what I wanted to do. FML. Ugh. I was doing so much better and now I feel back on the edge. I’m one step away, while last week I was twenty steps away. Again, I kind of wish Joe* would break up. FML.

 

3-21-10

Wow I have not written in a LONG time, my bad. I am feeling better than I have been because I am taking medication. My therapist told me I should see a psychiatrist for antidepressants. I have been on a kind (that works) for a week. The first attempt after two weeks did not work. I think I am mostly over Joe* and I don’t want him to die anymore haha. There is a dance coming up on April 16th but I probably won’t go. Volleyball still sucks but we’ll see. My confidence in everything sucks, I am trying to only eat one small meal a day, but I’m not going to get an eating disorder! I’m just going to lose weight, then I’ll eat more. Right now, I am just too fat and ugly. I don’t want summer to come because then I get to show everyone how fat, ugly, and pale I am. UGH…life. We are going to DC for spring break! Yay! I got rubber bands for my braces so I can get them off before Sophomore year starts!

**Oh if only antidepressants actually did work or not work after a week haha also funny that I thought I could just have an eating disorder until I lost the weight I wanted to lose.

 

3-24-10

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BROTHER!

Today, I decided to change the spelling of my name from Allie to Ally? Why? Because I’m bored. Today I had to do box pushes at volleyball and I almost passed out. It is because I am not eating though. My goal everyday is to eat only five different things and under 600 calories (for now). I have to decrease slowly or I don’t function well. Today I had like 1,000 and I thought about throwing up. But I decided not to.

**Oh the beginning of ED life.

 

4-9-10

A stupid goose woke me up this morning. So my day is starting out wonderfully. Over spring break I ate A TON and I gained A TON of weight. My goal now is less than 450 calories a day (starting today). I am a vegetarian now. I haven’t had meat in a week J Today my goal is to only eat three bowls of cheerios. I HAVE TO LOSE THIS WEIGHT! Ugh.

 

5-6-10

I have gained a lot – I am so fat -_- Tomorrow is the begging of losing it (and more J). Can’t eat list:

  • Peanut butter
  • Desserts
  • Chips
  • Ice cream
  • Candy
  • Cinnamon toast crunch
  • Granola bars
  • Meat
  • Cheese (sliced)
  • Smoothies
  • 1+ fruit a day
  • Graham crackers
  • Pretzels

Hopefully I will stick with this. I am trying to stay under 600 and decrease slowly. I made myself puke today. And I realized I have been taking the wrong meds out of the cabinet. My thighs and hips and arms are soooooo fat. My face is butt ugly.

**Keep in mind that I was probably under 115 at this point in my life. Oh, to go back to that weight…

 

5-12-10

Oh shit, well Monday I cut myself BAD. I told my friends and mom that I burned myself on the hair straightener. I’m so fat and UGLY. I don’t know what to do. I hate life.

P.S. I don’t know why they believe me because it is obviously two cuts.

 

6-19-10

Well, I switched meds again but I’m still sad. I don’t know how to describe it. I watched Shutter Island today and I decided I wish I was mentally insane. It’s like living in a fantasy or a nightmare. I know that is weird but I don’t care; I am tired of this. I try to convince myself that I see things or hear things. I feel messed up even writing this, it’s probably just PMS but it can’t be because I have my period. AH what do I do…

 

8-9-20

Sorry, I haven’t written in a while. BTW – last entry = total PMS. That’s some messed up stuff. I AM OVER JOE*! Yeah buddy! Volleyball tryouts today. If I don’t make it I will die. That’s legit too. AHHHHH! I am so behind on school work too…FML. Last Friday I went to the Rascal Flatts concert and on Thursday the Paramore concernt. I ❤ my new friends!

 

*****This is the gap where my horrible ex-boyfriend made me rip out a bunch of pages because they were so messed up. He thought it would help me to move on, nope.

 

11-6-10

Wow, it’s been a long time. I didn’t make volleyball therefore I’m fatter. I have been throwing up everything I eat. I haven’t taken my medicine and I lie about taking it. I want to die again. I love my friends. I like Aaron* a lot. We will date. My current best friend almost moved to NYC and now it might be Indianapolis. I am doing bad in school. I think I have ADD. My room is a mess. I’m ugly, even though I got my braces off. I have my period and a yeast infection, FML.

 

Age:16

7-5-11

Shiz it’s been a while. Aaron* and I dated…then broke up. I cheated on him (I was super drunk) with two guys. I was devastated. I drank because I was sad and I thought it would help. Let’s make a list:

  1. I cut myself – all the time. Badly.
  2. I am FAT!
  3. I am paranoid about being pregnant but I have never had sex. Odd…
  4. I drink – A LOT. (But now I am not. I reward myself every month I don’t, I promise)
  5. I HATE my life.
  6. I have no friends.
  7. I’m ugly.
  8. Guys hate me.
  9. I got new meds and tomorrow I am getting more.
  10. I am obsessed with Harry Potter.

 

Reflection on posts to come! Hopefully soon, but I’ve been so busy with work. Sorry for the gap in posts!!!

 

 

 

Blast From the Past: First Depressive Episode – Part 1

Pre-Depression Diagnosis

Age: 14; *Changed names for privacy

7-11-09

Well, ha, I’ve never been so sad in my life 😦 I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I feel like I have no friends and I cried for an hour straight. It wasn’t a calm cry either 😦 UGH! I need help.

 

8-18-09

Well… This past month was THE WORST IN MY LIFE. It started with me being sad ALL the time. Then me and Joe* broke up (I did it). That was the hardest, most terrible thing I have ever done. Well after that, I didn’t talk to him for like two weeks. He had started talking to a girl and now they are going out and I don’t think he even knows her or likes her. He told me to wait for him which is a bunch of BS because he can “move on” but I can’t. He started saying that we can’t leave it up to chance that we will go out again. It wasn’t guaranteed ever ha… Ugh this other girl thing hurts me so bad. I don’t know what to do. It is like he is using her to test the waters, then is using me to come back to. UGH! 😦 😦 😦 😦 I never thought this would happen. I hate to say it but I thought I loved him. Ahh! I really hope it all works out. I made volleyball and I think I could start! Also I started talking to Aaron and he asked if I wanted to go out some time. For now though, I just need closure with Joe* 😦 Also, the lowest point of my life happened.

 

8-30-09

😦 Ugh, I’m really hating my life right now. Everything makes me sad and I can’t have fun or enjoy anything. I saw Joe* for the first time last night since June 20th happened. It was so bad. He is so different and idk about being friends. I wish I could just move and start completely over. UGH! I am not looking forward to high school AT ALL! I had my first two volleyball games yesterday. We won and I played libero.

 

9-7-09

HAPPY LABOR DAY! Well…I’m doing a lot better now. Joe* and I never talk (only once since we broke up). I am actually hoping to become friends with his girl. School starts tomorrow! Volleyball is great! I am playing libero even against the tough teams J There is a chance I might have broken my thumb tho, but I’m not going to the doctor and I suck it up and play. I’m not really feeling my new school but we will see… Festival is this weekend! I got an env touch (new phone) last Sunday.

 

9-12-09

Well nevermind. I’m actually doing a lot worse now. I don’t know what is wrong with me. I don’t like school, the girls at my school, or just life. This weekend is the festival but I don’t think I’m going to go. I can’t believe I am admitting this, but I wanna go out with Joe* so bad. I can’t stand it anymore L UGH! I wish I could just move!! Friends are bothering me also. My mom said she was going to take me to the doctor to get meds that will keep me happy. I hope that works.

***Laughing so hard @ “meds that will keep me happy.” If only….

 

9-23-09

YAY! I am so over Joe* and I have decided to be social! Volleyball is going great, I am playing libero and we play [our rival] tomorrow! We are 11-0 and they are undefeated too! Oh man, I’m pumped! AHHHH! We have to win, it is a home game too J J J J I’ll let you know how it goes! BTW, I’m going to the dance with Aaron* J School is good too J

 

10-24-09

Well – a lot has happened in the past month. We beat [our rival] twice! Including, in one match, a game that was 9-25. We crushed them J We ended up losing to [another school] in the tourney finals. We got too cocky. Today I am in my cousin’s wedding. Me and [new guy] went to fall ball and I got confirmed over the past two weeks. Joe* – I don’t know what to feel about this anymore. I miss him so much. Me and Alanna [best friend since 2001] are having issues. Apparently we aren’t best friends anymore.

 

11-14-09

Oops! I haven’t written in a while. Things are going ok. Friends are still pissing me off and me and Alanna are still awkward. School is ok, I get my report card today, all A’s? I hope so! Varsity Volleyball is in the state finals today. Both schools are undefeated. I’m praying [my school] wins. I don’t really like [my school], I don’t know if I want to go there next year, we’ll see. I am having a lot of issues now. With body image, self-confidence and just being happy and everything. I emailed this speaker at school about Joe* and his verbal abusive ways and he told me to just talk to someone older that I trust. But I don’t want to be with him anymore because I realized his abusive ways and how he can’t change. I’m over him – I just have to work on myself now. I went to [all guy’s school] mixer last night and danced with like 5 guys. Of course, though, all guys are D-bags and only want to dance then they leave. I am going to take a huge break from them. Tryouts for [club] volleyball are this week… AHHHHHHHHHHH! I’M STRESSED OUT!

 

Age: 15

11-27-09

Well I’m really missing Joe* this week. I don’t know why I’m having major issues with self-confidence too L UGH well I strained my thumb – that’s why my handwriting sucks ha. I’m 15 now! I did not make [two of the competitive club teams] so yeah I’m not happy about that -_- I’m on [another club team] with a friend from school. Right now, I am just wishing my dad will get a job offer for somewhere far away. I know it is selfish, but it doesn’t hurt to hope. Guys are stupid!

 

*Changed names for privacy.

 

 

Blast From The Past: March 8th, 2011

I found this poem from March 8th, 2011. And wow, it’s crazy. Also, I realized I am a horrible poet. My writing has improved drastically, thank goodness!

 

Why won’t the pain go away?

Even when I fake a smile,

the pain just grows

knowing not even faking will help.

 

With others I smile, laugh

but alone I cannot dream of these.

I hate myself.

I hate my life.

I want to die.

 

Is it bad to pray to die?

The thought of driving into

other cars head on is daily,

I am in fear of driving alone.

 

When my best friend moves,

I will have no one.

If I am not dead by then, I will do it.

I have already made up my mind.

 

I like being hopeless –

it’s a feeling I can feel.

I do not want to change,

I want to get worse

 

Lately I have been too tired

to cut or to hurt deeper,

but once I am awake,

I hope for the painless

world of sleep.

 

The sight of my blood

makes me happy,

the sight of people

pisses me off.

But this is alright.

 

The fat on my body –

I am craving my anorexia.

Or even better – cancer.

For if I died naturally,

I wouldn’t have to hurt

my family or my few friends.

They do not care anyways.

 

I want to go to treatment,

somewhere far away.

If my mom knew how I feel,

I would be carted off to the hospital.

 

I wish I could escape

without hurting whom I love,

but this is necessary.

And it must be done.

Blast From The Past: Introduction

Blast from the past (BFTP) is a new category I have started after discovering old journals of mine from the first depressive episode I ever experienced in 2009. Reading this journal has shed light on what I am going through today and has validated what I am going through. Considering I have no memory of these times in my life, I am very glad I have written documentation. Unfortunately, an abusive ex made me rip up a lot of the really bad posts as a way of moving on, so I don’t have the worst ones. The ones I do have are still interesting. This category is more for me, that I always have access to this documentation of this time. But I hope this can help others who maybe feel similar to the way I wrote about.

5-1-17: Denying Emotions

Dear Diary,

Transitioning back to the real world after inpatient has been difficult and incredibly busy, considering it is finals time. I am really trying to finish out my classes without accepting any incompletes. I have been overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted, and emotionless. Such a lovely combination.

I haven’t yet let myself process what I am going through which is probably why my impulsive behavior has been worse than ever. I have spent so much money, drank to the point of being drunk, and had horrible SH urges. I know it’s because I have all this inside of me, but I won’t let it come out yet. After finals, I will use these posts to process everything. I just can’t let my mental health ruin the GPA I have worked so hard for. But I also don’t want to ruin my mental health by working so hard for my GPA… rock and a hard place.

Today I saw an old friend from out of town (fling, if you will) and we went to breakfast. I have always been so comfortable with him, he is like a brother – we are just so similar. And things were weird on my end. I dissociated, I almost had a panic attack, my eyes were darting. He noticed it too, which made things even more strange because neither of us knew what to do. It made me really upset because this is one of my really good friends and my mental health is impacting that relationship as well.

So this a brief update I’ve been trying to get myself to write for days, I just don’t know what to say, how to feel, or what to do. In one week, I will be actively working to get control back in my life. Finally.

Edit: Forgot to mention that I am starting DBT treatment tomorrow. I am excited and I will hopefully have some things to say tomorrow. ALSO, I have created a team for a NAMI walk in my town and I have raised almost $500 for mental health SO FAR. It has given me a sort of light in this darkness and it makes me almost feel genuinely happy. I’ve found something that is giving me meaning in this rough time, thankfully. Ok now, trying to go to bed now.

My Story: Part One

I was fifteen years old when I first noticed something was wrong. Fifteen. I had the rug ripped out from under me as my friends disappeared with my feelings. Starting high school was the chance I was waiting for to start something new, and start something new I did. Disclaimer: I do not have much memory of this time, something I have learned occurs with severe depression. Either I specifically black out this time in my life or my brain did not form memories effectively, I will never know. The more salient parts are carved in stone in my memory, unfortunately. Thankfully, saliency was not often a part of my catatonic experience.

Before my freshman year of high school, I was coerced (forced) into breaking up with a boyfriend I was disgustingly dependent on. In hindsight this needed to happen, but at the time I was devastated. I had defined and lost myself through him. I had all but lost my best friend when she went to my mom and told her how worried she was about our relationship. I ended things and I went into full emotional tornado. However, my best friend and mother were constantly there for me. I had lost my first love and it crushed me. To make matters worse he moved on to a girl that looked exactly like me and was also going to the small high school I was to attend in the fall. Luckily, I had high school sports to keep me distracted.

I spent my entire summer training for tryouts for my high school volleyball team. Volleyball was a religion at my school and we were nationally ranked and expected to win state. Freshman could only dream of achieving a spot on the freshman team, the positions highly sought after by the girls at my single sex high school. A summer of training and extensive work outs culminated when I was told I made the team. This was HUGE. I always was very athletic, but mostly considered average. I always made the B-team and was the star. To make the equivalent of an A-team made me soar. Had I not made this team, my outcome would have been very different. Practice every day and games every Tuesday, Thursday, and some Saturdays kept me busy. Not to mention the amount of school work I had as a student in all honors courses at a prestigious private high school. I had no free time, but I was doing what I loved daily and I was actually playing. I had no time to come up for air. Volleyball was my passion and I played with all my heart.

The day high school season ended was when things started to get blurry for me. Club volleyball started, but I have little to no recollection of this season. I began excelling in class. I would cry if I received a 99% on a test. I was obsessed with school. I studied all night and all weekend, I was not social, and I sat alone in the single stall bathroom whenever I was free at school. I didn’t think anything was wrong with me. Neither did my mom. I believed all was normal, I was simply going through a transition in my life and I was growing up. I thought this was just who I was becoming. I thought I was just destined to be miserable and I figured that’s just what adulthood entailed.

It wasn’t until we had a speaker in health that I learned about mental illness. Granted I did know a little bit about it because when I was young my aunt committed suicide, but depression was something that was unclear to me. Suicide was clear, depression not so much. A speaker in health introduced me to the rest of my life, little did I know (had I known at the time eight years later I would still be deeply struggling I probably would not have made it through this time in my life). Curiosity took over and I went to the internet to learn about this depression she talked about. This ten letter word would become my personal hell.

I cried the entire way home from school, deflecting pestering questions from my mom. Crying was commonplace for me so my mom suspected nothing out of the ordinary. I was more than aware of the stigmas around depression, so I was ashamed and terrified. I was weak and faulty. I went to my room and started on homework, my favorite distraction. For the first time, I wasn’t able to do my homework. Depression. Depression. Depression. Nothing else went through my mind. I wanted to die, I wanted to end it all, but I know I couldn’t do that to my family again because of my aunt. I didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I decided to write my mom a letter, because I was too ashamed to tell her this face to face. I wrote “I want to die. I need help. Please help me.” And I put it on her pillow so that she would see it when she went to bed and I would act like I was asleep. My mother instantly came into my room, knowing that I was awake and we both cried. She suggested therapy and, although not too keen on the idea, I agreed.

I wish I could say that this was the lowest point of my first depressive episode. Things kept getting worse. I experienced one of the most painful things of my life at this time, adding insult to injury. My best friend since first grade gave up on me. She told me the usual “snap out of it,” “stop being so sad,” “life isn’t so bad.” My mom and her mom were inseparable as well and her mom started talking to my mom about me, about how I wouldn’t snap out of it and it was affecting her daughter. This climaxed with a “come to Jesus” meeting in my dining room with the best friend, the best friend’s mother, my mother, and myself. Tears were shed by all but me. I just sat there. I remember where I was sitting, where I was staring, and feeling absolutely nothing. This was when I turned into a shell of a person. My rock, my best friend, the one I was going to go to college with and always live next to, rejected me, denied me, destroyed me. I was told there was something wrong with me and I was not the kind of person she wanted to be friends with. Her mother supported her and they agreed that depression was not real. I walked away from that table with my head down, no thoughts in my head and no person within me.

Once my best friend went, the others left me one by one. I walked down the halls of school blank and numb, all while pretending to be a ghost in order to avoid the hurt from never being acknowledged. I was a ghost as far as I was concerned. There was nothing that proved otherwise. Insomnia began and I could not muster up enough homework to fill the times I laid wide awake in my room. My distraction was no longer working as well as it was before. To add to everything else, my sister told me I ruined the family and my dad rejected me as well. He probably saw his sister in me and was so afraid of another suicide that he just avoided the feelings and acted like nothing was wrong. He does not like feelings to this day, but he had rejected someone who already thought she was as worthless as a grain of sand.

I went to therapy once a week, but I didn’t talk. My mom went with me to make me more comfortable and to help get words out of my mouth. Tracy, my therapist, was incredible. But unfortunately, no one knew how serious things really were. I laid in bed at night planning my suicide, contemplating how I could make it look like an accident so as not to destroy my mother. I set dates and wrote suicide letter drafts. I stopped eating entirely. I began trying to cut myself with very dull objects (didn’t work very well and I ended up sort of burning my skin). I came home from school and just laid on the floor staring at the ceiling. Laying on the floor staring became a daily thing, from my mother’s recollection. I was catatonic. I was a robot. I was a ghost. I was sleeping so little that I would fall half asleep in class and I started to see my dreams in real life. Multiple times I hallucinated my dreams and screamed in reaction. Didn’t help what existed of my social status at school.

A psychiatrist gave me this drug called an antidepressant. He told me in four weeks to six weeks I would feel like a new person. I pushed back my suicide date and waited. My first drug only lasted a day because my teacher accused me of being high. This drug lasted me about two months. Six weeks came and went and I only got worse. Another drug. Another six weeks with no results. Another drug.

At this point I started losing hope. I already had undetectable levels of hope, but this pushed me over the edge. I started drinking. I started going to parties. I started hooking up with guys, an obvious expression of my newfound “daddy issues.” Rumors spread about me, a new one after each weekend. I was a joke. I was taken advantage of. When I was blacked out, I couldn’t feel the pain. I was free in those moments, even if it did make the sober moments worse.

Eventually a drug slowly but surely began to work, a cocktail of drugs of sorts. Slowly the fog cleared, but it didn’t go away completely. I began to remember things. With only my mother by my side supporting me, I started to rebuild.