This weekend back home changed everything.
On Saturday I woke up and my girlfriend left for a vacation with her family. She’s gone for a week, and it was so hard to say goodbye. I’d be in that lonely apartment for a week, alone and bored and trapped with my feelings. I was not looking forward to it. So later that afternoon I texted my old best friend Val. We set up plans for dinner, and I set off on for my two and a half hour drive. I needed this trip home badly. Everything was going to shit in my mind; I had become reckless, let my thoughts wander into ideas of self-harm, I wasn’t talking about what was getting under my skin to anyone, and there were frequent periods of crying. Depression’s symptoms were starting to emerge and it scared me. It scared me how secretive and closed-off I had become, how quickly my self-esteem had plummeted. But it would be okay—I was going to hang out with Val, I was driving in the sunlight listening to the radio play those catchy summer songs. Sure, my feelings were shitty, my parents were putting my dog to sleep that day, and my girlfriend was gone for a week, but I could handle it. I’d get through this. I was trying to fix it.
And then my phone dinged. It was Fred. Immediately I was happy because I had been wanting to know if he was free that night to hang out with me and Val, but this message wasn’t about that.
“Honestly, I’ve slept with another person. Sleeping with them has not changed how I feel about you or the various possible futures that exist. I’m sorry that this might hurt to hear, but if it is an inevitable obstacle, we might as well face it sooner rather than later. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. If you would like to not talk to me, that’s okay too. I’m following your lead.”
And there it was. I managed to stay on the road for five minutes or so before pulling off at some exit, crying my eyes out. I had no reason to be jealous or upset, we were broken up and he was single and free to do whatever he wanted with whoever he wanted, but I was completely heartbroken. I gave this person everything…he knew all of my secrets, my hopes and dreams…he knew my family and accepted them despite their many flaws…he had seen all the old scars, held me when I cried, made me laugh countless times, went on road trips with me, danced with me, drank with me, fell asleep holding me, fell in love with me. And now he was moving on, and giving someone else his time and affection…and though I love my girlfriend I wanted him to still love me as I loved him. So eventually I got back on the highway, cold and numb and angry. And when I got into the suburbia where Val lived I went to the nearest store and bought two things: razor blades and band-aids. And I knew what I would do would be wrong, and that deep down I didn’t want to cut myself, but I didn’t care. I was done trying to fight it. So I sat in my car, in the parking lot, ready to cut and patch myself up before seeing Val, but I didn’t. I just drove to her place instead, and we went to dinner. I told her everything, not right away, but eventually. I told her everything except about the razors. (I didn’t use them until later that night, when I was too drunk to tell what I was doing and too tired to do anything other than some thin, tiny cuts.) And then I decided it would be best to try to see Fred, because if Val was with me than I could get through it. So we finished our dinner and went up into the city and had adventures and talked more and we rounded up Fred and went back to his place, drinking and smoking and talking the way old friends do. I still felt the pain deep inside my heart, but I also felt happier than I had in a long time because I was there and alive and was able to handle seeing him.
We stayed up until the wee hours of the morning and fell asleep together, all slumped on the bed. When I woke up I knew I had forgiven Fred, and that every decision I had made that night was something I didn’t regret. I had gotten back some of the pieces of myself that had been missing over the past few weeks, and even though I still hurt I could feel confident that I was still the same person I had always been, and that I’d get through this the same way I got through everything else.
And here I am, a three days later. After spending Sunday with Val and Fred I headed back to my college town, and spent yesterday working on my online class at my job, and then training for my internship. I didn’t once feel scared or lonely, and actually enjoyed my time to myself. I’m not foolish enough to believe that my problems have disappeared or that everything is suddenly fine, but I do think I’m feeling strong enough to face these issues more directly than I have in the past couple of weeks.
Basically, I wrote this post for my readers who have experience with depression. I know what it’s like to remember all the pain, all the work it takes to get through these feelings, and not want to admit to yourself that you may be on the verge of being depressed again. When I was talking to my friend Val she said, “I think you need to start seeing someone again.” “Like a therapist?” I asked. “Yeah.” And then I told her how much I didn’t want to do that. Because even though I believe in therapy with all of my heart, and know that it has worked miracles for me in the past, I didn’t want to go back because I would feel like I failed. I didn’t want to feel broken again, to tell another therapist about my time in outpatient, all the support groups, the meds, the coping skills I knew like the back of my hand but couldn’t bring myself to do. And I think a lot of people who struggle with depression feel the same way. We don’t want to go back, to be stuck in the same cycles or taking three steps forward and four steps back. Nobody wants to believe that their whole lives will be plagued by the same problems and same shitty feelings. And I don’t know all the answers to my own depression or anyone else’s, but let me tell you something:
I bought those razors at 6:47pm and was laughing so hard tears were streaming down my face at 1am. It doesn’t always change that quickly, but it does change.
I’m pissed off.
I’m pissed off that I work five days a week and have negative two dollars in my bank account. I’m pissed off that I get yelled at for getting home past curfew because I was crying in a parking lot to my boyfriend, while my brother can have his girlfriend spend the night at our house and have her up in his room with the door closed (did I mention that my room is next door and the walls are thin? Yeah. And meanwhile, my boyfriend can’t set one foot in my room without me getting screamed at). I’m pissed off that it’s been a week of working at my crappy job and the one day where all I want to do is be alone and relax while playing this computer game “Civilization” (my boyfriend got me addicted to it to the point where I want to play it everyday for hours), I don’t have enough money to buy it (or gas, for that matter. Or the spending tickets I’ve acquired. Or the lawyer for the speeding tickets). I’m pissed off that all I ever do is screw up and get yelled at for it. I’m pissed off that I have less than a month left before I leave this place and my boyfriend. I’m pissed off that I have to start taking meds again when all I want is to be normal and stay there. I’m pissed off that this stupid blog is FOR NOTHING, that my friends don’t bother reading it, or anyone else for that matter. Am I helping anyone, or being helped myself? NO. IT’S ALL FOR NOTHING. I hate it. I hate my life right now. I hate that no one in my family wants to spend time with me without criticizing me. I hate that all my friends are busy. I hate that college is starting. I hate it all. I hate that my boyfriend has had a lot more relationships than I have had, and has slept with more people than I have had, and they’ve all been good and fine and all of my past relationships remind me why I suck and deserved to be treated that way. I hate that I’m thinking all of this and writing all of this, when no one wants to hear it–people want to hear about how being positive is easy and life isn’t scary and that once you have found love it all works out and that confidence will never fail you and your friends from high school will stick by you and won’t end up doing heroin.
And I can’t write about any of that, because I know none of it.
Sometimes, when people look at my scars where I’ve cut myself they joke around and ask things like, “So why’d you carve a giant swastika into your arm?” (which it isn’t, and is offensive), I think, “You’ve never hated yourself like I have, have you? And you’ll never know how sad you can feel inside when you look at your scars and not regret it. Because deep down somewhere I know I took it easy on myself, and if I truly were honest when I had that knife in my hand I wouldn’t be here right now. So go ahead, look concerned or laugh. If you knew what this was like you wouldn’t say a word.” That’s how I feel writing in this blog sometimes. I feel like I’ve put my scars out there in these posts, and in response all people want to do is judge rather than understand.
I don’t need advice and I don’t need sympathy. I need support, I need to know you people are actually there.
(If you even are.)
Do you ever have those days where you pull a 180, where your whole day gets turned around from one thing (craptastic) to another (ballin’)? That was yesterday for me, and it gives me hope that I’ll be able to do this every day I feel under the depression spell.
So it wasn’t all bad at first, went to work and eventually my friend showed up, so I had company while suffering from the boredom. However, so did my ex-boyfriend (because we all work together…yeah, I should have thought that through more) which gave my stomach a huge jerk to the bottom of my toes.
There he was. That person of the male species that I had once considered with a fond heart. And there I was, with nothing to look forward to but a night of essay writing and feeling like the old gum on the bottom of some truck driver’s shoe. It didn’t exactly lift my spirits. Plus one of my friends who I was supposed to hang out with that night bailed on me. Honestly, I spent a fair amount of time writing “FML” on the bottom of several styrofoam cups.
So then I went home. And just as I was about to get out of the car, my phone rings with a call from Ruth. Turns out, the tattoo parlor we had been discussing earlier was having a ten-dollar piercing day. Hmmm…..
So hours and hours later, I had this fantastic hole in my body that would surely turn my Dad into the Hulk. But I felt amazing. Yeah, okay, I nearly passed out, but I didn’t shed a single tear, didn’t scream and didn’t try to chicken out. I was like a warrior…voluntarily letting some lady named Kadesh stick a needle in one of the most predominant muscles in my body.
From there I sat in Ruth’s room sucking on ice cubes and checking out my piercing. And from there, Ruth and I saw Brendan, and hung out with him. And, I know this is getting repetitive but keep listening, from there we went to Wally World and got me the essentials for cleaning said piercing. And then after Ruth off, Brendan and I went to his place and hung out on his trampoline. That lasted fifteen minutes tops, and we took off to go to another friend’s house. And there, we met up with this other friend who I have trouble not flirting with.
Long boring story short, everyone (except people’s parents) thought my piercing was cool, and so did I. And I went home feeling great that night, going to sleep and waking up at 1:29 am to a call from Brendan saying that this flirtingness was not one-sided and that this guy was interested in me!
And then I totally passed out and went back to sleep.
But man, did it feel good to watch Scary Movie with my hooligan friends and have adrenaline and pride from my piercing pumping through my veins. I felt great, so great! And for the first time in a week or two, had something to look forward about.
1. Showing all of my friends my piercing and doing the happy dance because I finally got it after five months of yearning.
2. Where this thing with one of my friends was going (!!!).
3. And honestly, the stuff that was there before that I felt too shitty to acknowledge. I have a lot of things to be happy about, and now I feel like I have the confidence to live up to them.
So, anyway, by this post I’m challenging whoever reads it (yeah, you’re screwed) to turn around their shitty days. You don’t have to run off and get a crazy piercing like I did, but maybe just spending some time doing something nice for yourself. Curl up with your favorite movie (*vomiting from the cheesy wording of that*), take a walk with your dog/cat?/reptile?/lion or just get your nails done with the girls. Whatever floats your boat. It can be really hard not to throw yourself a pity party sometimes, but changing the theme to something good (like celebrating another hole in your body) is a lot easier than trying to suck it up. Give yourself reasons to be happy, act on happiness, and embrace the unknown future.
And yeah, who knows, maybe later today I’ll be feeling back to where I was in the landfill of crap, but that will never take away last night’s happiness. I’ll be able to look back on that and know that I am officially badass. And that knowledge will never make me sad.