For the past month, I’ve been receiving treatment for my depression via an outpatient program run by a nearby hospital. For three days a week, four hours a day, I am immersed in a world of people who know I have severe depression before they know anything else about me. Together, we all sit in a room and deal with our messed up lives. It’s an interesting experience.
The first day of outpatient is usually the worst. You walk into this place thinking, “This probably won’t work…” “What am I even doing here?” or “God, could things get any worse?” It’s like being in a zoo, only you’re the animals and spectators…you feel like everyone is looking at you, wondering why you’re here, but at the same time you are looking at everyone else and wondering why they are here, too. It’s a room full of strangers who know you have a mental illness before members of your family or your closest friends do. You are instantly humbled, and incredibly defense. “What will these people want from me?” you might wonder. Yet in outpatient, questions never last long…
The day begins in community group, where everyone in the program (roughly 30 people) congregate in a big room and listen to the group leader read off a little thing called “The Daily Promise”. “The Daily Promise” is a book that has a passage for each day that asks you to think about your life, your choices, and your attitude. For instance, one day might ask you to contemplate whether you dwell on the past, present, or future. The group leader will then go around and ask everyone this, and then offer some bit of advice about their situation. It’s not really met to be therapeutic so much as it is meant to start your day off with some positivity, and get you to hold yourself accountable for your feelings and choices. It’s also a little bit of social time, where you ask about people’s weekends and if they caught the game last night. Some people tend to utilize this more than others. You have a strange set of cliques: the middle-aged ladies who discuss cooking recipes, the middle-aged men who are gruff and bitch about traffic, the really old people who make occasional small talk to the people next to them, the young women who are gossipy and thrive on scandal, the young guys who talk about the same stuff you heard from guys in middle and high school, and finally the quiet people, who sit there and do anything except talk to other people. The cliques are present, but fade when it’s time to open up.
There’s a strange sense of community at outpatient. People say hi to another or smile even when they’ve never spoken to each other. While people may ask why you’re there, there’s never judgement in their voices or criticism in their advice. Everyone understands the hoops you must jump through when dealing with health insurance, and everyone takes some kind of medication. We are each other’s community, and we understand each other in a way that most people in our lives don’t. While my parents or friends don’t understand how or why I can say in bed for days, people in outpatient nod their heads and murmur “I know what you mean” in agreement. When I mention not having the energy to see or talk to people, other patients offer suggestions while everyone else asks, “Why?” Even though the people in outpatient don’t necessarily know your story or know who you are, most of them know how you feel, which is a really big deal.
In the real world, no one talks about their problems or struggles with them due to abnormal brain functioning. In outpatient, everyone has problems, everyone has an illness. You look at people and see that they have a history, a whole story that leads them to where they sit in front of you, and you see the possibilities in life. I see old men grieving for a spouse they had for forty years. I see middle-aged men fighting their addictions for their families. I see women who have been beaten up and betrayed by those who claimed to have loved them, and I see children who yearn for parents that love them as they are. We all have problems, we all could be worse off, yet we are here, we are surviving. Everyone in the room is trying and fighting for their life, for their happiness. And it gives you a sense of hope in the world…all from a bunch of strangers.
The day continues with group therapy. You’re assigned to a room with about ten people total, and throughout the day two or three therapists come in to give lessons or facilitate conversation. This is where you learn the famous coping skills, the relaxation techniques, and the tips for effective communication. It’s also where you are put on the spot and asked about your life. You hear a lot of stories in group…from spontaneous marriages and trouble with the law, to dead-end jobs and ungrateful families. Some people open up right away and others need prying. But we all get our turn to say what matters, and why. It’s been in these group meetings where I’ve discovered something I had long forgotten: that I have a voice.
Outpatient has given me a strange sort of confidence boost and slap in the face all at once. After many weeks, and many contemplative conversations (not to mention getting on meds), I’ve sort of woken up from my depression fog. The colors and happiness in the world are coming into focus, and actually seem within reach. By getting out of bed, driving to the hospital, and spending a significant amount of time with the sole intent of bettering myself, I feel productive and proud of myself for the first time in ages. I’m accomplishing something that is difficult but necessary, and I’m doing it because I am worth it. After months of a downward spiral, I’ve finally gained the motivation to start fixing my life, one baby step at a time. This isn’t to say that I haven’t gone over the mistakes that I’ve made. I look at the things I am learning, the skills I am building, and see all the times I should have used them. Throughout my depression I’ve broken a lot of trust, hurt many feelings, and pushed away a lot of wonderful people. Some of it I can fix, but others I’ll just have to learn from. Acceptance is a major part of healing, especially when there’s a mental illness involved, so accepting my mistakes and letting go of my self-hatred have been essential during my time in outpatient
I know no matter how much I describe it, there will always be people who don’t understand outpatient, or why I needed it. Depression is an invisible illness, and a lot of people have trouble accepting that, especially when treatment is expensive and/or intense. But, for the people who are reading this and learning about my experience in outpatient, I hope what you take away from this blog post is that you never know how deeply treatment can effect and help someone, so please do not judge it. Anytime anyone admits to having a problem and commits to fixing it, they are taking a fundamental step toward recovery. So remember that recovery takes time, and looks different for each person. I don’t know how long my recovery will take, and I don’t know how long I will be on meds, or struggle with depression, but I do know this: I am a strong person, I deserve to be happy, and I’m glad I chose to go to outpatient.
It’s been a week since I moved back in with my parents and I still can’t catch my breath. Everyday I’ve been busy, whether it’s avoiding my responsibilities, catching up with old friends, trying to fit all of my stuff in my old room, or searching for a new car. I’ve been feeling better, but it’s the kind of better that has fine print attached—“Feelings of happiness have a high probability of fading within 2-3 weeks. As your schedule clears, side effects may follow that include time to process that your life is still messed up, and that you still have no idea how to fix it. Proceed with caution.”
In the short time I’ve been back home the distractions have been endless. Somehow I’ve managed to round up a couple of dates, some nights out drinking with my old friend Val, and seeing a few movies with Fred. My parents have hardly mentioned getting me into treatment, although my mom is convinced I need to be back on medication ASAP. Rightfully so, might I add. But there’s no doctors appointments booked, or any attempt to find a new part time job on my end. The temptation to avoid the problem is winning out over my fear of not getting better, and other stressors that are less important take up space in my mind. I know I need to confront the source of my depression—not only the chemical imbalance, but all of the insecurities, the social anxiety, and the fear of trusting both myself and others. The time has come for me to grow up and face the demons of my depression.
Getting help is a process, and it’s not as simple as most people make it out to be. Like last time I did outpatient, there was an act of desperation that brought my depression to the attention of others. After that, there were the precautionary steps where I moved back in with my parents and the idea of treatment was tossed around. Now it’s come to the step where I need to put the plan in motion, to go get help.
Treatment can be a scary thing for people who have lived with an untreated disorder for a long time. Even though I’ve been going to therapy for a few months, the idea of walking through those double doors marked “Behavioral Health” for everyone to see is daunting. Depression can be a really secretive disorder, and letting strangers know you struggle with it by the mere act of being in a treatment center leaves a person exposed and vulnerable. Our society is one that praises people for “toughening up” and “pulling yourself up by the bootstraps”; sometimes getting help can feel like failure for someone who’s tried so hard to keep their disorder in the dark. It’s important in these moments not only to be supportive of the person seeking treatment, but to also let them confront these feelings on their own. You can’t force another person to reveal what is going on, as many people in my life have tried with me. You must let them peal off the layers of security slowly, and allow them to dismantle the walls they’ve built on their own. It’s a significant moment when someone with a mental illness accepts help, and it’s one that must be acknowledged, respected, and given patience.
After I completed outpatient the first time I felt better than I had in a long, long time. I was seventeen, and for the first time in five years I believed in myself. I believed I could fight for myself, protect myself, and find happiness. I knew I had something worth living for—I knew I owed it to myself to live a full, happy life. Now I’m back at square one, utterly confused and hopeless, but there’s a difference. I remember that feeling…I remember that once I survived, I pulled myself out of the hell I was living in and I fought back. And I have hope that I can do it again.
So I guess this is all to say that if any of you readers are going through treatment or even considering treatment, I’m proud of you. I believe in you. I know that you might feel like you’ve set yourself up for the impossible, but keep trying. No matter how many sessions in therapy, no matter how many pills you’re prescribed, no matter how many treatment centers or desperate phone calls to your loved ones…You can do it. You are worth rescuing. You deserve a happy life. Hope exists, and it’s waiting for you.
I wish I knew what to do. As of now, I’m just pretending. Maybe that’s what being an adult is…just pretending to be in control of your life while secretly scrambling to find the answer.
Other people know what I should do. “Go talk to someone” “Get more Prozac” “Let your friends know what’s going on”…I hear these things and rack up a list in my head it’s been maybe 4 or 5 times that I’ve been back to therapy. At least three times of being on antidepressants. And an embarrassing amount of times I’ve gone to people, crying and desperate for help. The list just keeps getting longer. Is this what my life will be—a constant back-and-forth between feeling okay and being depressed? I wish I could stop it. I wish it would be as simple as it was over the summer, when it was just a matter of getting out of my relationship with my girlfriend. But this time it’s the coping that’s not working, and the fact that as hard as I seem to try, nothing can distract me from my feelings. They’re always there in the background, waiting for a moment to get me alone and tear down all those walls I’ve built up.
I’m starting to worry people, and I hate it. I hate causing people uncertainty and distress, of tinging their happy lives with my depression. But it also feels good to hear how much they care about me. Really it’s the love of my friends and parents that keeps me going. That and the desperation to find a reason not to die. But other than that, I feel like my life’s worth isn’t enough to contribute to the world. My future career plans are a mess, I have no idea where I’m going to end up or who will be there with me, and honestly I can’t see anything in front of me. The future is just a giant abyss that makes the present seem pointless. What am I working toward? Why does it matter? These are questions I can’t answer anymore.
But I’m trying. I scheduled an appointment to get a new prescription for meds and an appointment that’s basically an assessment before I can go to therapy. I wish you could just give these people your suicide letter and just get in without all the hassle. But these appointments are better than nothing.
I hung out with my ex-girlfriend last night and the night before. She was concerned, and asked if I wanted to carve pumpkins, so I said yes. Even though our last encounter was more get-out-of-my-life than friendly, I thought it would be good for me to focus on something else than what had happened earlier that day. And it was good for me. I actually opened up about what was going on with me, and I made a cathartic pumpkin carving about Fred. I told about making out at the concert with Miranda, and she told me about the girl she’s been seeing. It was going really well…except for the fact that she was totally hot and all I wanted to do was kiss her. So, things ended up getting a little steamy. I felt like an asshole for not having more self-control and respecting her almost-relationship with the other girl, but I was short-sighted. I love her and care about her, and she’s attractive. I needed her, and for once didn’t try to hide it. So then last night we hung out again. We went thrifting and watched The Nightmare Before Christmas. And we hooked up.
I don’t know what’s going on between us, (as usual), but it doesn’t matter. I don’t care about labels as long as I get to spend time with her and hold her at night. She knows about my flirtationship with Miranda and I know about her almost-relationship with the other chick; I think we both don’t know what we’re doing, we just know how we feel.
As for Fred, he’s not doing so great either. We’re both battling our respective depressions, and it’s hard for me to not take care of him while he’s like this. I hate that despite everything he’s done, I still can’t stand to see him so unhappy. But I have to keep my distance. My self-respect, even as low as it already is, would completely diminish if I went back to him. I refuse to let someone treat me that way, even if I love them.
I feel my life is out of my control. All I do is keep screwing up and making shitty decisions. I can’t trust myself to do the right thing anymore.
Who am I if I don’t know myself?
Well, just as I didn’t plan, I have a new post for you all that I am writing during my valuable study time. Unfortunately, yesterday was awful, so here I am, sharing it with you all. Just what you wanted I bet.
It all started okay. I woke up, was lazy, went to breakfast, packed more, used up the remainder of my meal points, and then decided to go to the rec. And while I was working out, I was bored, so I decided to text back my ex boyfriend. The night before I sent him a “You there?” type of text because I was sobbing and miserable about our breakup. I never would have contacted him if he hadn’t been my best friend for the year we were together, and one of the few people who can put the brakes on my tears. He responded to my text the next morning while I was asleep, so rather than leave him hanging, I texted him back not to worry about it. And then he texted back, “Are you sure?”. And then I exploded.
Anger, extreme sadness, regret, jealousy, internal hate, you name it, I had the negative emotion. I right off the bat asked him if he had slept with anyone else, hoping he had so I could find a reason to hate him. And you know what he did? He started listing his faults in our relationship to make me see it wasn’t such a loss! I swear, he is such a good guy…it almost makes me sick with how much I feel I threw it away. Like it was nothing. But it was everything. And no matter what, we can’t be together because the distance and pressure is too much to handle.
Anyway, after that horrible chat I was back in my dorm, just listening to Eminem and staring at nothing. And then I saw my stupid scissors lying on the desk. So guess what my post is about today, folks? Relapses and cutting! Yay, everyone’s favorite subject!
As much of a shitty position as this puts me in, to talk about my awful habit of self-mutilation, I do it to support those who also struggle with it and make them feel not only understood, but that it’s ok to reach for help. Also, to educate those who have loved ones who self-harm on how to be there for them as best they can. But as noble as my causes are, I know as soon as readers who know me in real life read this, I’ll start getting all of these concerned texts or calls or whatever (or maybe not, because there is nothing left to say). I’ve even had my blog reported before to counseling services, who then contacted my parents and got them all pissy at me for being all screwed up. (How about giving me better genes next time, Mom and Dad??) So, just for clarification, I HAVE ACCESS TO PSYCHOLOGICAL RESOURCES AND UNDER THE CARE OF MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS. Meaning, I’VE GOT THIS SHIT UNDER CONTROL. Now, onto the noble causes.
As a cutter, I hate being labeled “cutter”. Because when most people hear that, they think of middle school girls slitting their wrists the wrong way to get attention. Now, first of all, those girls should be taken seriously because self-mutilation should not replace glittery, flashy makeup that middle school girls used to use for attention. It’s sad to know that people feel like the only way to get noticed is to do something this drastic, and I wish I could help every single one of them. But in reality, most people who cut have a major underlining problem that needs professional help. So that’s why I personally hate the term, “cutter”. Everyone who self-harms, even if it’s not in the form of cutting, deserves to be taken seriously.
Now, this being said, most people who self-harm DON’T want to be found out. I know I don’t. I take drastic measures to make sure no one notices the cuts, and rarely admit to it, even if someone flat-out asks me. A lot of people have the wrong assumptions about cutting (see above paragraph) and rather than pour out my whole life story and explain what is truly going on, I prefer to just brush them off and walk away. These people usually have good intentions, but obviously people who self-harm are pretty sensitive about certain things.
So, if you’re a person on the other side of things and are worried about a friend or family member, here’s what you should do:
- Act like you normally would around them, and don’t treat them in any sort of special way. They don’t want to be treated like a patient, a child, or a wounded creature. They deserve respect and acceptance just like anyone else.
- If you want to show them you’re there for them, be kind! Let your actions show them you love them. Ask them about their day, their soccer team, their holiday plans, their favorite music–show interest in their lives! If talking is hard for you, offer to do something with them! Go see a movie, support them at their next soccer game, go bowling, help them in the kitchen…whatever! Big or small, it shows that you value their company.
- Now, if you really really really feel the need to DIRECTLY say something about their problem, don’t do it with everyone listening. Public places aren’t really the best place for a private conversation, but you don’t have to pull them off to the side in some dramatic way, either. Next time you’re driving in the car together, or if you both go outside to get some air at the next family function, ask them how they’ve been feeling. If they brush you off at first with a “fine”, ask again. After the second time, if they still brush you off, then stop asking. Sometimes people need to be asked twice, but you never want someone to feel like you are just asking to be nosy or invasive. If they do brush you off twice, just tell them you just wanted to make sure because you care about what is going on in their life, and you care about them. If you feel the need to hug at this point, go for it. But then, unless the person you are concerned about continues the conversation, it’s over. Like I said, if you make this a big, dramatic conversation it will make them uncomfortable, so just ask them those questions and let them know you care, then move on with a topic or activity.
- If this person opens up to you about their problem, then first of all, know that they trusted you enough to do so. Thank them for it, and for christ’s sake don’t screw up that trust, because they need you now more than ever. But this sort of topic is difficult to not only say, but to hear, so I’ve got some lame-o tips for you. First, listen, and listen well. Nodding and verifying what they are saying by repeating it back to them are great steps. And whatever you do, DON’T INTERRUPT unless you see a meteor right behind them about to blow up the earth. Also, I know what they say might be upsetting to you. It might hurt to think of how they could have called you or relied on you in those tough times. But please remain calm and supportive, and don’t guilt-trip them about how they didn’t do that. The last thing this person needs is to feel worse about their situation. Now, after they are done talking, feel free to ask a few questions. Questions show that you are interested in what they have to say, but beware: They might not want to answer them, and that’s okay. So if you ask, “Why did blahblahblah upset you?” try to add, “You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to.” And my last tip: DON’T offer solutions to their problems unless they ask “What should I do?” All they need is a listener, and sometimes when you try to “fix” things it makes them feel stupid or like their problems are minor and not a big deal. It’s all about verifying what they are saying right now, and letting them know that you care about them. After the conversation is over, remember not to treat them any differently, and you should be fine.
- This is pretty obvious, but even so, don’t spread around their problems. Getting unnecessary people involved is completely counter-productive. Not to mention a compromise of trust.
- Now, if this person is in some serious issues that require professional help, you need to be extremely careful about how you broach that idea to them. In fact, do some research, find a psychological professional, and feel free to ask them how to introduce the topic in a respectful and non-pushy way.
Remember, I’m not a geisha or Yoda. But I do hope these tips help you or at least give you some perspective about those who self-harm. Also, feel free to shoot me a message if you have a question about a particular situation or leave a comment below. I always appreciate (constructive) feedback!
One thing I just want to put out there… When I do it, I run through this list of people I can call instead of cutting. And I don’t call them, obviously. Why? I know they would listen, that they love me, but sometimes that doesn’t cut it (pardon the pun). Sometimes there is nothing you can say. The thing is, people who self-harm are choosing to feel their pain, their way. It’s the control that makes me feel good. Because I can’t do anything about how I feel, nor can those that I love, but I can control how I feel it. And I know it’s wrong while I do it. And I feel ashamed after it happens. But, in the end that is what will motivate me to stop–Me. Only I can make myself stop, and only I can seek help if I want/need to figure out an alternative way to calm down when I’m that upset. So try not to be offended if you have a friend who only tells you after the fact. They just might be in similar shoes.
Life is hard all around. Whether it’s because you are struggling to find food to eat, have just been dumped by a boyfriend/girlfriend, or lost your job (or someplace in between that broad spectrum), we all feel pain from time to time and we all need the love and care of others to support us through it. In a really screwed up way, we all feel alone together.
Well, here I am. I am here, in this dorm, in this campus, in this city, this state, this world, this life. What’s it like? Like the first part of my life was a quiet pasture, and now I find myself wandering in the mountains (grand, steep, and slippery…). Suddenly LIFE has rushed into my space, a wave of wonder and independence live on my doorstep. There are people everywhere, there are events all the time, and how much or little of it you take is all up to you. Some parts of college I expected, but others never crossed my mind. Such as, how friendly people can be that first week. Nearly everyone will just introduce themselves to a stranger and be interested to know where they’re from, what their major is, and what dorm they’re in. With so many people swarming around, I’m surprised I felt like I had air to breathe. And getting a routine down, getting used to my new surroundings? A snap. Feeling at ease? That happens as soon as you make your first friend.
What about my first college friends? Well, I was standing in the dining hall, holding my plate, when these girls at a nearby table asked if I wanted to join them. I was sort of hovering near their table, hoping they would do this. Not that I didn’t have the guts to ask myself, but because the only time their mouths weren’t open talking was when they were waiting to see if I would sit down or not. I sat down, and people got up from the table just as more came along. So I met a lot of people, and ended up staying at the dining hall until close with three of them. And then we all walked around campus. And then, just like that, I had friends. Now that it’s been over a week, our friendship has faded a bit. They all live in a different dorm, and stick together like glue. And I guess glue just forgets to invite the outsider to lunch or whatever. But life goes on. Ironically, this girl I went to high school with is not only in my dorm, but is the cousin of my roommate. Though we didn’t talk much in high school, we’ve actually become pretty close lately. She has a long-distance boyfriend back in our hometown, so we like to discuss how much we hate seeing couples around campus because our boyfriends aren’t here to hold our hands and make us seem obnoxious to other people in long-distance relationships. It’s been going well so far.
How did I feel when my parents left me? Relieved. Sad. Alone. Unsure. They cheerfully told me I’d have fun, gave a hug each, and hopped in the car to drive away while I sat in my car crying. I would have been ok if I had someone familiar and comforting like my boyfriend at my side, but realizing that he was also gone made me cry harder.
Speaking of him, long distance actually hasn’t been too bad. Don’t get me wrong–it sucks immensely. But we talk everyday, and staying busy helps a lot. There’s also little things that help, like counting down the days until I see him again (8!) and talking with my new friend from high school. I miss cuddling, hand-holding, hugging, even just seeing his face….but I know if I wait, those things will come back to me when I come back to him.
As for my mental health, I’m very proud of myself. I’ve been working out everyday, sometimes with a few girls from my floor, and try to do something social everyday too, even if it’s just grabbing dinner with someone. I’ve also been taking my medicine everyday, and only talk with my old high school gang or family every once-in-a-while so I don’t start to feel homesick. Also, I’ve started my new job at the on-campus copying center, which makes me feel good too.
So, no, nothing about college is perfect (especially the classes, but I’ll get to those another time), but I’m confident that I’ll be able to stand back up in moments of weakness and brush the dirt off my shoulders. That’s what being an adult is all about, isn’t it?
Please watch this video…it says it all, I swear. This kid and so many others, including myself, need this.
For more, check out http://www.kevinbreel.com or follow him on twitter like me!
I’m at a weird point in my life, and in the words of Rihanna’s new song (which I’m listening to right now) I’m not really sure how to feel about it.
What have I been doing this summer so far? I couldn’t even tell you. Somehow I manage to keep myself busy, with these graduation parties stacking up, and my job search, and my boyfriend to educate me in Doctor Who. But I’m waiting for that point where there is not a day with something planned, where boredom will pull the rug out from under me and leave me stranded and alone to my own will. Days like that are sometimes the hardest, because if I just lie there my mind will start to race and drowned me in helplessness. What I mean by that is, anxiety-ridden thoughts will keep coming uncontrollably.
Thoughts like, “God, what are you doing? How can you stand to just lie here, when deep down you know that this is an unforgettable time of your life–where childhood falls away and exposes you to the outside world, ready to sculpt you into this adult you’ve been waiting to become–and you are wasting it. You are wasting your life. When school comes around you’ll start complaining about how you never have time and miss the summer, and you’re not even doing anything. What the hell is wrong with you?!”
It’s inevitable, and it kills me. Luckily, one of my close friends just parted with some of her collection of books, so I have a nice stack that I plan on finishing this summer. I also am going to try to go back to the gym like I used to, and become healthier. I just have to keep the motivation to do those things. Sometimes, even though my restless anxiety makes me feel awful, I’m too lazy to stop it. I’ll just lie there, soaking up each blow against my self-worth until I fall asleep.
I’m not taking my medicine, either. Which is absolutely terrible, because what if another mental-breakdown just pops up out of nowhere (see post “Crazy.”)? That was unbelievably scary, and I don’t want a repeat of it. Why am I not taking the meds though? Well, I ran out of my prescription, see, and wasn’t able to get another doctor’s appointment until a month later, because I forgot about a previous appointment I scheduled months in advance. So I had been taking some of my dad’s medication (which is the exact same thing I take, only in a smaller dosage). But that took a toll on his supply, and I was afraid he wouldn’t be able to get his own prescription fast enough, so I just stopped taking his. If my mother knew this, she’d go ape-shit. She doesn’t understand, though. If anything, she enforces my hyper-active guilty conscience by shoving my mistakes in my face all the time. I know she’s my mom, and that’s her job, but she talks to me like I don’t realize I make these mistakes. I do, to an unhealthy extreme. But she doesn’t understand that.
I want to stop taking meds. I want to be normal, in control. I’m tired of having these chemicals correct my brain. I wish I never found out my brain is messed up. People don’t forgive you for that. If I had a missing limb, or an internal condition like diabetes or something, no one would blame me. They’d try to be sympathetic and maybe even help me. But in the case of mental illnesses, it makes you a freak. No one tries to understand it, they just shun it or want to drug you numb. And I hate it. I hate it so much.
Someday, if I have a house or a husband or a kid or all three, my depression will affect it all. I will probably never want to be home to avoid anxiety, or be home all the time, and never want to leave my bed. I will have to explain to my husband why I’d drive home crying and screaming, when earlier I was laughing and smiling. I will have to hide my tears from my child, and look at them, hoping they missed my genetic flaw. And I don’t want to do any of that.
I don’t really know where I stand religion-wise now, but back in my days of God-believing, I would have said that he made me strong enough to do this. And that he gave me all this love I have in my heart so I will be able to hold together my family and my life in times of struggle. And I believe I can do this, whether it is a God-given strength or my own. I just don’t want to, though.
Well, everyone has something they whine about…guess depression is mine. Maybe by the time I go to college I’ll have learned to just get over the weaknesses I will always have from my depression. I feel like such an idiot every time I complain about them (because who the hell really cares, you know?), so here’s to hoping I’ll do it!
Last night I had a complete mental breakdown.
Saying it like that, so matter-of-fact, makes it sound normal. And I suppose some types of mental breakdowns are normal, I mean everyone loses it from time to time, but this was not one of my semi-regular bouts of “What am I doing with my life?!”. This was straight-up bat-shit crazy.
I was driving in my car for 25 minutes, sobbing, cursing, talking to myself in nonsense….
“This is all a dream just a dream and tomorrow I’ll wake up and try to think of how the car ride home really was and I won’t remember so I’ll picture me just listening to the radio and smiling like I usually do when I’m thinking about [insert boyfriend’s name here] and that will become the reality yes that will be reality and this will be the dream and tomorrow I’ll think of how stupid this is and god how could I be like that, after all that was just some dream and I’ll try to think of how the car ride home really was and I won’t remember so I’ll picture me just listening to the radio and smiling like I usually do when I’m thinking about [insert boyfriend’s name here] and that will become the reality yes that will be reality…”
“I want mommy….I want my mom!….Mommy…I want to go home….I want [insert boyfriend’s name here]! I want [brother’s name]! I want [dog]!….Momma…”
“This isn’t real…this is just a dream…..”
And silence where I would consider doing crazy things like driving my car off the road, and death.
Needless to say again, I was beyond “losing it” and headed straight into “bat-shit crazy”. It is very embarrassing to write about…but a scary enough experience where holding it in would not help at all. Why was I flying off the handle? I had no idea. Lately my emotions have been very extreme. I had only a number of guesses to why this was….1.I was seriously crazy 2.I was pregnant 3.adverse effects from stopping my meds, even though I had been off them weeks. None of these things were especially comforting, as you can imagine.
About the pregnant thing…I wasn’t being totally crazy here, I mean, the possibility was very remote, but there….however, I tend to use pregnancy as the lead source of my anxiety. I convince myself that I could definitely be pregnant, I freak out even more, I add it to my stress, and it becomes one more thing I use to push other people away in my life, because after all, if I was pregnant it would only “become real” once I told people, and who wants that… Basically, it is the crazy part of me trying to gain even more control over my actions, if that makes sense.
About stopping my meds…About two weeks ago I ran out of pills and simply decided to not schedule a doctor’s appointment. See, somehow I’ve convinced myself that my parents hate me because I am on antidepressants and go to therapy. So I quit therapy, quit the pills. Now my parents would like me again, and not be so mad at me all the time, right? And for a week or more it was working…I was happy, and I was happy without being drugged up. And then this week began, where somehow my emotions have completely consumed me, and all of my thoughts. Even my dreams were becoming terrifying…dreams where I would become schizophrenic, dreams where I became a monstrous serial-killer-cannibal….
Maybe it sounds stupid, maybe it sounds fake….but it felt like a looming disaster coming.
Anyway, after that interesting car ride I mentioned above, I arrived home and cried to my mother for over an hour. And I stayed home from school today. And I snuck off when my mother went to run errands and took a pregnancy test, which was negative. And I also took some leftover pills I had of Prozac.
And I slept the entire day. I didn’t remember having any dreams.
Life. Some people think it’s complicated. Some think it’s easy, so long as you keep a positive outlook. Others think it’s easy, so long as they have their crystal meth. Generally, people recognize that it’s confusing. You life could consist of being some cancer patient, a hobo, a millionaire, a celebrity, a dictator, a prisoner, a martyr, a clown, a teenager writing some stupid crap on the internet about their insignificant life…
But anyway, you could always be better off. You could always be worse off. So either way you lose, because both those things mean you have to suck it up when life gets messed up. Easier said than done. What’s really the thing that gets me is the moments where you feel like you’ve screwed up your entire life. And you’ve had about ten of those. Whoever came up with the concept of the mid-life crisis obviously forgot what its like to be a teenager.
My latest crisis all started on Thursday afternoon. I had a shrink appointment that I was not looking forward to. The session before I had completely shut down on my therapist because she was reminding me of my mom and it pissed me off. Despite what a lot of people think, shrinks are people too, and all people have relationships with another, no matter how strange. So it’s sometimes hard to not treat them like everyone else and care what they think, make assumptions, and get somewhat attached to their company. You get pissed off at them, frustrated, happy, all that jazz. So I wasn’t too sure how this next session would go, and actually considered dropping individual therapy, despite my cutting.
Well, my pissy mood didn’t last because there was this girl in the waiting room with me, drawing. And I’ve got this problem with sitting in a room with one other person in absolute silence for an extended amount of time. I kept looking over, because for some reason she really reminded me of me back when I was motivated and artsy. So I finally ask what she’s drawing and before I know it we’re chatting it up and she’s giving me hope in finding inspiration to draw again, which almost sounds like a metaphor for finding hope and inspiration to keep the whole “life” thing going…
So then my shrink comes out, who is also this girl’s shrink, and it’s time to bare my soul. I exchange my blog info with her, and just like that, I made a new friend. Not too bad for a depressed, awkward slacker. Well, that kind of gave me courage and all, so I sat down and told my therapist flat-out why I was pissed at her. And then I bared my soul and started crying and blabbering and all that embarrassment.
After that I decided to go see my best friend Val and see how her day had been going. And so what was supposed to be a twenty-minute hello turned into hours of hanging out. And then my man-friend called me. And before I knew it, I was begging my mom to spend the night at “Val”‘s and let me skip school for once in my life. A couple of hours later, I was at his house.
So I spent the night. And it was wonderful, every unexpected and expected moment of it. And just as I was leaving, my mom decided to blow up my phone. So I call her. And guess what? She called Val’s mom. BUST-STED.
Guess who’s grounded?
But you’re wrong if you think I regret it. I have this new philosophy to stop living my life based around what other people think makes a “good” person and start living it based around me, and what I actually want. So that means I skipped taking the SAT/ACT this morning as well.
My mom was PISSED. But I was happier.
Blah,blah,blah, I went to work, Mom calmed her shit down, and I began my night of being a loser/hermit, home alone. And I started feeling awful like I always do. After all, I’ve become super lazy, am failing calculus, dropped speech, am behind on my school work, have a job that barely pays for gas, have a habit of cutting myself, and loads of other shit-tastic things. I had hit my crisis moment.
I’m not going to lie to you people: I am not doing too good right now. I constantly sleep, eat junk food instead of real meals, lack motivation, barely participate in the things I used to love, and keep drawing away from those closest to me. Depression has officially taken over, and I’m on my last leg.
But I’m guessing that you readers have had some sort of exposure to depression and know how it feels to be on your way to rock bottom, where nothing makes you feel alive anymore. So I won’t elaborate any further. The thing I’m asking is, how do you really know when you are ruining your life? Or, even more so, is there any way to know if you are ruining your life? I could list off a bunch of people who might say that I am right now, but I want confirmation from myself. (Because honestly, who gives a damn what other people think about my life when they aren’t the ones living it?)
Side Note: Readers, readers…as much as I try to make this blog exposed to the world (hence the new Facebook ‘Like’ box), I know that not too many people read this crap. Which is okay with me, because the minute I saw that one person had read and liked my first post I was ecstatic. But I just want to let the few of you know how much I appreciate your input through comments, tweets, ‘likes’, all of it. In all honesty, you guys are the only people who really know what’s going on with me, and can relate to my trouble with depression. So, thank you. Every word you read makes me feel one step closer to the rest of the world, and one step farther from life’s complication.
Sometimes in life you just have to tell yourself it wasn’t your fault. It’s not your fault that your friend is upset, that your job doesn’t provide enough for your gas tank, that you feel like you haven’t slept in the past ten days. I’m not saying to blame the world, I’m just saying that some stuff you need to just let go before you twist a situation into another phony reason why you are a sucky person. Some stuff just doesn’t deserve that kind of attention, and most (if not all) people don’t need the extra dose of low self-esteem.
Gee, if I had only known this a good three or four years ago. Then again, I know it now and I still can trip up over the actual execution of letting crap go. I pass out blame, alright, but I take a good 99% of it and leave the world with a whooping 1%. That’s how I deal with situations. Letting go for me means forgiving myself. Only sometimes I get wrapped up in situations that have gone wrong only I don’t know what exactly to blame myself for. Take relationships. You can blame yourself all you want for a breakup, but until you actually have an idea of what you did wrong you cannot forgive yourself. And so, you cannot let the break up go.
As much as I try to be brave, to just let myself forgive and forget my faults, it doesn’t always fly. Honestly, I’ve taken to cutting myself to relieve some of that tension. Which I actually consider an upgrade to my past method of smoking marijuana, but not by much. Though I’ve mentioned my cutting to one of my therapists and a friend or two, I haven’t done much to rectify it and neither have they. I understand its dangerous link to another serious bout of depression, but I still feel very in control. In a strange way, even more so than when I’m not acting self-destructive. There is no guarantees how often it has to happen, if it will happen again, or how deep the cuts will or won’t be. And I like that. I like that for once I get to choose how far my feelings will take me.
I know this information could very much hurt my friends, my family, and whoever else, but what can I say? Sometimes in life you have to tell yourself it’s not your fault.