Untitled Depression Story AKA WTF Do I Title This?
When I was 15, I decided I was going to take my own life. I’m not sure where the desire came from. I dealt with many of the same struggles as most females my age. High school woes, problems with my family (particularly my mother), self-image issues. But for some reason, it pressed a button I didn’t even know existed in my brain. And it told me that to leave this world was the only way out.
I did what is so cliche, it’s almost a standard in most ABC family specials about suicide: I turned to pills. But as I stood there in my bathroom, the little gems placed meticulously on the counter, I knew I couldn’t do it. I was too chicken, too craven, and I knew I didn’t really want to die. I just wanted to kill the part of me that did. So I put the pills back, and I turned to a razor.
Cutting is a weird and yet exhilarating feeling. And, if I have to admit to myself, a form of punishment. The pain is there, and it tells you, “You did something wrong. You fucked up. And now, you have to deal with this.” I never cut too deep, and never with random objects. I never let them get infected. But I had to cover them. I wore cool gloves that went halfway up the forearm. I wore long sleeves and hoodies. If summer was coming, I did them on my stomach, or my legs (I almost never wore shorts). The scars never lasted long; they were mainly scabs. This made it easy to keep up with, and prevented me from causing too much suspicion.
When I was 16, I began therapy. I tried a few different therapists until I found the right one. I needed one I could talk to without feeling like I had to censor myself, but I was a bit picky. I had one session with a woman who always took a deep breath before asking a question. This brought me to holding in fits of laughter, so I couldn’t use her. I ended up at an outpatient clinic at the same hospital where I was born, and worked with interns. This meant after their rotation, it was time to see a new one.
My first intern was wonderful. I learned that she was Russian Orthodox, and when she found out through our sessions that I was trying to learn Russian on my own, she taught me a few words. My second intern was Polish, and that’s how I learned a few Polish phrases. They could never get me to stop cutting. I had a lot of pent up anger and resentment towards many people. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I did the bare minimum to make it through the day. I had weird sleeping patterns. I had phases where I would try to fast in order to lose weight, and then binge on food (but never threw it up).
When I was 19, I left my home state and moved farther up north. I was seeing someone at the time. Despite it being my first time on my own, I did marginally well, but I found myself becoming even more depressed. My boyfriend tried to give me ultimatums with my cutting, but that didn’t help anything. I was jealous of him and his family. He had a mom and a dad who both were still married. His dad never missed his sister’s basketball games. They spent time together, going to the movies, or on small trips to his grandparent’s summer house. They laughed together. When tragedy struck, they cried together. I was jealous of his sister and the adoration she always seemed to get, and I lashed out.
The only thing I’d been good for was my acting, and when that stopped, I was no longer the golden child. My cousins were growing up, and their talent for things like singing far surpassed mine. I wasn’t doing good things anymore, they were. I was the one not going to college and moving away for a guy and always acting like a bitch. But they didn’t see me screaming inside.
When I was 24, I was sexually assaulted by the same guy who took my virginity at 17. He was married. I never reported it because I didn’t think it was sexual assault. I didn’t even actually tell anyone until years later. But the way he spoke to me, grabbed me, continued when I asked him to stop… it told me I wasn’t worth anything. It told me that my desires and my requests were not good enough. That I wasn’t good enough.
I had always been a flirt, and a bit boy crazy, but it somehow changed into “If a guy isn’t sexually attracted to me and does not want to have sex, then I am not worth it. The only way I can be shown affection is if I am having sex. If they do not want it, they do not want me, because I am not attractive enough.”
So, when I met my (now) ex at 28, I thought I’d hit the jackpot. We had chemistry. We had a lot of inside jokes and references. We had sex. But things quickly began to unravel. It was within 6 months I had my first panic attack, and my first glimpse at how I should have gotten out of that relationship.
We were in Denver at a pot shop. It was a basement shop. Colorado had (has?) a law that non-residents can only have a certain amount of pot purchased a day. Well, my boyfriend had that idea that he’d give me half the money that he was willing to spend, and we’d game the system by me buying the limit as well as him, so we’d have twice the amount. But as we’re standing in line, I started to feel sick. My mouth had been bothering me when I swallowed; that weird feeling you get when you’ve had too much of a sweet drink and you get that tangy feeling in the back of your throat; that’s the best way to describe it. But it started to make me panic. I was trying to breathe, but I felt so stuffy in the basement store. I felt hot, and sweaty, and I whispered to my boyfriend that I needed to go. He told me I was making a scene and people were staring. I kept telling him that I needed to leave, and he said, “Fine, go.”
So, I left. I ran up the stairs, sat on a bench outside, and just put my head between my knees. I kept breathing. I knew immediately what was happening, and told myself, “You will be fine. This will be over soon.” After about 5 minutes, I felt better. I looked up, and happened to see my boyfriend leave the store… and walk right by me. I got up and followed him, trying to keep up. We finally got back to the hotel, and he lit into me. How I embarrassed him from the scene I was making, how I left him with barely any money because I had all of it in my purse — that he gave me, mind you. When I weakly asked him why he didn’t call after me so I could give him the money, he said he didn’t want to bring any more attention.
So here I was, battling the aftermath of my first panic attack, being told it was all my fault that my boyfriend was embarrassed. I’ve had many more panic attacks since then. This began the spiral.
He became controlling. I was allowed to see my friends, but was not allowed to text any male friends. He would storm out of the house after an argument, driving and almost leaving town before coming back. When he finally decided to find a job in Colorado, he asked me to quit my job and come with him. I said we both needed to really think about this, because me leaving my job and my stability would mean a significant shift in our relationship. He promised all would be well, and he’d take care of everything.
That lasted for three weeks. He’d underestimated how much my bills cost and constantly berated me for not being able to find work. He criticized how I cleaned the apartment and how much I cleaned. He’d blow pot smoke in my cat’s face when she got in his way. He once got mad at me for something that I didn’t know he was mad at me for, and almost left me in Colorado with no job and no money just so he could get away from me. He told me that later, and I never had known that had occurred until he told me. I was manipulated and depressed and constantly yelled at. He told me I was using him for his money and that’s why I never really tried to find work (which is untrue), but when I needed my car for an interview (he was using mine at the time), he would bitch that his job was priority and we needed to make sure HE could get to work before I could take the interview. I promised myself the second I got a job, I’d save enough money and get out.
The straw that broke the camel’s back: I found him one day making an account on Adult Friend Finder, the same website he told me that when he tried cheating on his ex, he used. He then covered by saying he wanted to swing. Because I wasn’t ready nor prepared to have him kick me out, I agreed. And I was scared. I didn’t want to have sex with other people. I didn’t want him to have sex with other people while still dating me. How was this okay? How was having any male friends a bad thing, but this was okay? How was three years and an entire move to another state about to be thrown away? He told me he was thinking of ending the relationship. I found out later that for the last two years, he was thinking of other women while having sex with me just so he could get off.
I was crushed. This was a man who promised to protect me, who promised that everything would be okay. But my depression was an excuse, my anxiety was a joke, and I was not worth anyone.
I’m seeing someone else now. And whenever I have a problem; he listens to me. He calms me when I’m stressed and holds me when I cry. But I’m terrified. I’m terrified that the next sadness outburst I have will be the last one he handles. I’m terrified that the next time I confess an insecurity, he’ll snap. I’m terrified that if I don’t do the dishes or make sure he’s taken care of that he’ll yell, storm off, and leave me like everyone else has.
If you are in a relationship like the one I was in or worse, you CAN get out. You are worth so much more than what your significant other says you are. Confide in friends and family. Make a plan. You don’t deserve to have anyone take advantage of your love and affection, and who you are as a person. Don’t let them get even one more second to use you. They aren’t worth the time.
Relationships take work; don’t ever let anyone tell you they don’t. Even the best and most solid relationships have their issues. But above all, having your partner be there for you, to listen to you, to be your rock, is something that I personally cannot stress enough. And to those that are with someone struggling, know that deep inside, they are fighting to get back out of the clouds that cover them. It is so important that you understand that, and that those who are struggling understand that is okay to have bad days. It is okay to have a moment where you want to yell, or cry, or be alone. It is okay to ask your partner to listen to you vent. No one should ever be made to feel as though their thoughts and feelings aren’t valid. There is no competition with anyone else. What you feel, regardless of how silly or stupid you think it may be, is okay. It’s okay to be frustrated or sad. And it’s okay to feel these things while enjoying life. You CAN laugh and still have depressive thoughts. I was told by my ex this was not the case; that if I was laughing I must not be depressed. That’s bullshit. No one — I repeat, NO ONE — can tell you what YOU are supposed to be feeling. They are not you.
I am not the first person with depression and anxiety, and I won’t be the last. And it comes in different forms. It can be chronic, or fleeting. People with depression can still laugh, and still enjoy things. But they can also be crippled with sadness for almost no reason. To get out of bed and go to work is a struggle. You can watch the video of Chester Bennington, who just 36 hours before his suicide was laughing with his family. It’s hard to understand the mindset, and for those who live with someone who has depression, it is not easy. But we are trying. We’re not doing it for attention, or because we want sympathy, and we want out of it as much as you do. We just need a little patience and understanding. Someone to hold our hand, stand by us, and tell us that we’re going to be okay. And you will be okay, too.
If I turn into another
Dig me out from under what is covering
The better part of me
Sing this song
Remind me that we’ll always have each other
When everything else is gone
Incubus — Dig