I've been seeing this quote a lot the last couple days. I've traced it back to a huffington post I believe. Here's my little two sense......
My nickname is Happy. The joke back in the day was "Happy by name, Happy by reputation" I joke about my depression sometimes, saying "I was so dramatic that when my mom was in labor with me I tried to hang myself with the umbilical cord on the way out, so, emergency c section" and people laugh. It's a silly story. I carry myself with confidence and class. I find myself drawn to the most obviously broken and damaged individuals, both as friends and lovers. They have all said the same thing to me in one way or another, but, they feel like if they mess up, they're letting me down. I can't even begin to understand that..... I love those people for the disaster they are.... and selfishly.... I love them for the light they put me in. I don't think anyone really knows me anymore. Even my closest friends don't really know me.... The struggle I've had all these years, honestly for as long as I can remember, I mean preschool ages.... I've fought with this all consuming depression.
My family has seen it, struggled with watching me go through it. Therapy or medicine didn't help when I was 11-12, in fact it made me worse..... suicidal thoughts attempts to end the black hole that was my life. Frances saved my life once, she physically stopped me and I was so angry with her. I cried and I couldn't contain the darkness I felt all around me, but she never gave up on me. Every day I would wake up and paint that "smile" on my face and go be the cheerleader, track athlete, good grades, pretty confident "happy" person I was. Without missing a step, I fought so hard against it, and because of that, many times I won.
I was 13 maybe 14 the first time I tried to commit suicide. Frances saved my life. I HATED her for saving me, I was so angry. I don't remember the entire incident, but she jumped on me and I remember screaming, flailing, trying to get away. Leave me alone! I remember.... that and when I was finally done being angry.... just crying, hard. So hard I made myself sick.
I found a new way to deal with the overwhelming darkness. I found an unhealthy way..... I cut. Only in places you couldn't see. My upper thighs or my upper arms. Those were always covered. I've heard of cutters for attention or cutters to feel "something." Do you know what cutting did for me? It CONTROLLED the darkness, it forced me to regain composure when I didn't think I could. So those times in the shower just thinking about cutting with the flow of traffic and not across...... crying and beginning to black out from the difficulty breathing I would just dig that knife into my thigh, press hard and pull as I let a breath out. Suddenly and almost instantly I was in control again. If it didn't work with one, then two, or three.... four even. But eventually as the blood came I was no longer overwhelmed I was able to set the knife down and life another day. It's the worst way to save my life, but it worked..... for a long time.
I met my first love and things seemed happier..... he still didn't know me or the darkness I felt surrounded by.... in the almost five years we shared he never really knew me. I eventually found a mix of medicines that worked for me.... not quite zombified, more stepford wives, but it allowed me to exist in a world I felt I didn't belong in. My only time being pregnant was with that man, when we lost our baby...... I knew I couldn't handle doing it again, I think I grew to love him, but I was never in love with him and when he wanted to try again, I couldn't bare the thought of trying again and failing, I also couldn't bare the thought of needing a medicine to exist, not to live, just to exist. So that had to come to an end.... I wasn't terribly depressed over that, the loss of my baby lingered with me for a long time, it still does, but the loss of my first love.... barely bruised me.
I threw out the pills that were working so well and opted for a new way of life... a new motto. "Complacency is Toxic" that's exactly how I lived. I refused to be "content" or "complacent" I began drinking, partying with my friends who were all in their 20's too. I met Ann while I was still with my first love. She was dating my cousin and had a baby with him. She was cool I thought. My cousin sold drugs, specifically methamphetamine, but I didn't touch that stuff, I gave him rides, and we were like best friends. He was more of a pothead, I just drank and worked, a lot of both. not even 21 yet. (I had left home at 15).
Everyone in my life was close to me, but I wasn't close to anyone. The first person I let that close saw that darkness in me, saw how it consumed me, and still saw the other side of me that was fighting to get out of the darkness. Sometimes he was in that darkness with me.... oh the places we went on those dark days...... it's the only time the darkness didn't overwhelm me, when he was there. He was my best friend and my partner for many years, not quite a decade, but almost. I think that's why I always forgave him MANY MANY indiscretions because the darkness didn't take me over when he was there, even if he was in the darkness with me. I've talked him off a ledge a time or two as well.....
After five years of being friends with Ann, I finally let her see the other side of me. I never felt judged..... she didn't ease the darkness but, it was good to have her in my life. I loved all three of her kids, they were the ONLY thing in my life that completely rid darkness 95% of the time. I finally had a best friend who KNEW me, in a way that I only let one other person know me. Over the years I was on and off various anti-depression/anti-anxiety meds. Anxiety is a hard one for me too....
Through the years I ended up trying different drugs and enjoying one of those particular drugs. Still believing complacency is toxic I lived a pretty extreme life. Usually a month or two at a time then return to "normalcy" not complacency, but just a non drug life. I love this drug. I never got addicted to it.... or anything really. I just never had an addictive personality, what a trait wasted on me. My first time doing it was with a girl I hardly knew, the one who nicknamed me Happy, I remember the moment saying "oh yeah I do it sometimes" still to this day I'm not sure why I said that. I never try to "fit in." I just felt like she was trying to open up to a stranger and I needed to give her an in. She already felt like I was perfectly unreal always being "Happy" so I said it. that entire summer was an amazing blast and a blur. I learned a lot about myself and one day I realized I needed to leave, so I left. returning to the person who helped me feel less overwhelmed by the darkness.
For years I went back and forth between doing what I want and returning to him..... There was a lot of understanding between us, I think a lot of love too. Too much passion too often. In the end.... no passion and all complacency.
so my nearly decade long love affair came to a pretty bitter end. I felt abandoned and betrayed. I was the one who said "I've had enough, We're done" but he stepped out when I was finding out about some serious health issues. I was alone. In my darkness. Some nights I would sit on the window sill of my 19th store condo and fight the urge to let go. I kept thinking of how many people would have to clean the bloody mess, what if there were children around, I mean no one would really even notice. No one cares. But I'd be punishing people who didn't need it...... it wasn't fair or right to die this way. There had to be a cleaner way. I've tried pills before, that is NOT the way, I hate swallowing pills as it is, I would never swallow enough and I'd just end up sick. Resume the cutting.
I was so lost...... I needed to be guided.... I didn't need to be loved.... I NEEDED someone to control me.... how awful does that sound? So I began dating the first controlling bossy jerk I met. I knew he wasn't the one, but I knew I needed what he had...... or I wouldn't make it through the darkness. I allowed him to walk all over me, mistreat me, even use me..... after three months I was done....I no longer needed this person to tell me when to come to bed, what kind of job to work, how to exist.... I was done with him. Fate intervened. We got into a pretty serious car wreck, my face smashed and spidered the windshield. I felt different..... was this still depression I felt? the wreck happened and I tried to leave and he fought for me to stay. He still kept messing up, but he fought for me.
I felt more overwhelmed by anxiety and anger, taking it out on myself with cutting, as per usual. I began to lose weight, 50 pounds in 4 months following the accident. I went to physical therapy three times a week until I was better, I found my anxiety since the accident has often crippled me. Worse than depression did. Sometimes I remain frozen when driving, every thing gives me tension and anxiety. I can't handle when other people drive. It affected my work. my life. I was rushed to the hospital one day where we discovered a growth that was small just months ago was now starting to take over my body. The jerk that I started dating starting becoming a good guy.... and I began to feel even more helpless, not just anxious again, but the darkness.... the worthlessness..... a few trips to the doctor and a severe facial trauma (completely broke a side of my face, they thought I would need plastic surgery to fix it), and suddenly that darkness that plagued me once was back.... nothing I did got rid of it..... I had the surgery to remove the tumor growing inside me and every month since then has been one issue after another....
If I didn't have that jerk I started dating because I needed a jerk, I never would've went to all these appointments, or had surgery, I feel the darkness every single day and every single day this person fights to bring me out of it, he never joins me in it, not really, he'll come down and hang out in the darkness just long enough to distract me into leaving it.... or so he thinks.
I'm almost 30 years old and for all the life I've lived, the places I've been, the experiences I've had the lives I've touched..... somedays... some weeks..... even months at times.... hold me in and make me feel so utterly helpless and empty and lost and I haven't been able to work steadily since the surgery. Some of it is because of the surgery and the health issues discovered since then, but the darkness gets heavier all the time..... I can't even force myself to get out of bed sometimes. Just this week I spent three days sleeping and was awake for approximately 4 hours in three days. I just didn't want to exist anymore.
In my real life, my friends don't call, they're all busy with their own lives, their own kids, their own lovers, etc..... I feel like I make this man who fought so hard for me and thinks I'm this grand prize I feel like I make him so unhappy with my anxiety and my anger and my unnecessary tears..... I let him see the mess I am, because I'm just not as good at hiding it as I used to be. The reason I moved back here was to be closer to my parents while I healed from surgery and they left along with my uncle and cousin.... so I have no family here either. No one would notice if I was gone..... and I would no longer feel this PHYSICAL ache that keeps me from going outside most days, the mental anxiety that doesn't allow me to think clearly, I wouldn't have to face this deep seeded realization that I am worth nothing.
This is not a cry for help...... I'm just out of ways to deal with this..... and no one even realizes how painful the secret life of a depressed woman is. I LIVE for the moments of true joy..... I hope they win out this darkness that has been dragging me down..... Losing someone to suicide is often referred to as "selfish" and it is, but it isn't. This long blog barely TAPS what I feel and what I've been through. No one knows the journey another person has. Sometimes we can't explain it it just exists. I honestly feel like the only person who would suffer if I died is the person doing clean up.... and my partner now, for all his many flaws and even aggressive tendencies ..... I think he might hurt if I died...... I don't see it as a selfish act..... I see it as a solution to a very deeply personal and painful problem......
REACH OUT to the people you love..... it isn't hard. Except for the people who claimed to love me in my life.... apparently it is.