Emotional Abuse, Depression and Finding Unconditional Love
As i write this, i am trying to keep my finger steady enough to type. Depression and me have been bedfellows since a while now and one would hope that you get used to living with, dealing with depression. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. At least not for me.
I don’t clearly recall when i slipped in a major depression. I had many triggering events in my life. I lost my grandfather and then my mother followed by both my grandmothers. All these deaths within a span of 2 years. My entire emotional support system collapsed. I endured through it helped by the most amazing supportive father i could have hoped for.
What really led me in to a downward spiral was my relationship. I thought i fell in love with a very gentle, understanding man. My 16 year old self completely charmed by his charisma. I loved everything about him.. How he never spoke ill of anyone, how he was so perceptive about my thoughts, my feelings. It was everything that i read of in those silly love stories. I felt like a star featuring in my own love story, totally swooned off my feet by this knight, my knight, in a shining armor. Naive! I know. After a few months this perception started changing. He was not the gentle man i knew. He became demanding. That no matter where i was i should not miss his calls irrespective of when he called. He started to accuse me of cheating on him. As naive as i was i thought something hurt him and i should give him space. How wrong i was! The control and accusations started escalating. After about 4 years in, i remember that every single night i would cry myself to sleep. Confused what caused this change. Still living and craving for the affection that he showed to me at the beginning of the relation. From calling me his princess and a gift from God, how this man started to accuse me of prostitution, of me being a mistake in his life and how this man is not the kind to give up on relations even though he thought of them a mistakes. This became a constant dialogue in my life for 2 whole years.
By this time, i had spent my 6 years with this man. This period is a complete daze to me. I don’t know how i managed to finish school. All this while my dad was trying to take care of me, to get back the daughter he once had. My friends tried to coax me to stay away from this man. I tried to cover for him. I tried to explain his behavior by saying that “he needs time”, “it”s his work stress”,”he is hurt for some reason”,”someday he will tell me what is wrong”. It was more of explain i wanted to believe in. Things couldn’t have been much worse for me. The disparity between us was clearly being seen. He was excelling new heights at his work. Every single person he met was impressed by him. And with comparison to him, i looked like a complete loser. Despite finishing college i was at home wasting time. I felt like a loser. I started to feel worthless, a burden on people around me. I started hating myself for making my dad sad, for not being there for my friends and worst of all for being a mistake in someone’s life. But my dad isn’t the kind, who will tell his daughter what to do or what not to do.
I wish i could explain what made me stay. I still don’t know why! It felt like my choice had been taken away from me. And as he started to excel in his career, at his work, his accusations got worse. He wanted to know “the truth”, he wanted to know exactly how i “cheated” on him. All i remember is that i pleaded, i begged for him to believe me that i hadn’t cheated on him. He wanted me to “prove” it. As he got powerful i got weaker and weaker. I thought may be my dying would prove to him i was not lying to him. I started considering suicide. I started seeing everything in grey. And it got to a point where all i wanted was to not feel any pain and death seemed the only way out.
It was during one of these moments, my dad saw me. He saw the terror of having missed a call from my boyfriend. Before he could ask me anything, i started to cry. I remember clearly this. It felt as if i would never stop. The crushing pain in my chest was not easing with the tears, but i had someone to hold me. As i cried, i saw the pain in his eyes. Between sobs i told him, i want to see a therapist. I was diagnosed with clinical depression. As expected, the boyfriend refused to believe me. For him, it was an excuse to cover up “my lies” or it was simply an attention seeking move.
In spite of the pain, i persisted. My father was my courage. I started to gradually reduce my contact with this man. But it was horrible. It was painful, physically painful. I craved him like an addict craves his fix. I sometimes wished he was physically abusive. I would have scars to show. I felt helpless. I felt anger. I felt hurt. I wanted validation. From him.
All this while, my father stood by me. I kept so much of my life hidden from him. But not once did he give up on me. He reminded me of my worth. He told my stories of my childhood. He would read to me before bed. He took up all the household work on to him. He let me sleep for hours at end. He did not once force me to talk till i was not ready to talk. He did not know anything about depression. He felt confused initially. But he went with his intuition. During one of my conversations with him, he said it is because my mum has now transferred all the her love for her daughter to him. So now he has a heart and love of both a mother and a father. There were days when he was exhausted after work, still he came home with a smile. He took me out for walks, he made sure i took my meds on time.
Till date, i have never spoken about this to anyone. Not even my dad. But today, i want my dad to know. He has brought me back from dead. Only as a mother could. I want him to know that there will be days when i will want to give up, but his love will keep me from taking the final step. I want him to know that i could face all the pain and the monsters in my head to tell this story because i know he doesn’t want any girl to go through the emotional abuse and pain that his daughter went through.