Ever have those days you need to be around people that make you happy, laugh, and forget about all the things that are currently driving you crazy I’m having one of those weeks. Although everyone I really want to be around doesn’t live close by. Phone calls seem to be hard to fit in most days. Why is that? I remember my teenage years spending hours on the phone. I suppose life’s demands trump idle conversations these days. I’ve battled depression since I was a child, never realizing that’s what it actually was. I wasn’t someone who spent all day in bed. That’s what I perceived depression to look like. Why is that?
That’s not always the case. For me, it was feelings of never feeling good enough. It was a perpetual dialogue of letting those around me down. And being raised by a mother who reinforced those feelings with actions and inactions. There’s a lot to unpack there. I was shown we stay away from family members who had depression, suffered from addiction, and viewed them as more trouble than they are worth. Did they think it would rub off on us? So I suffered in silence for many, many years.
I tried to speak up once.
After ruminating over my approach to ask for help, then finding what I was sure was the opportune moment, I told my parents I needed to see a psychologist.
I was filled with suicidal thoughts. Although I didn’t share that piece, it was too hard and embarrassing to admit.
I went into the conversation feeling so entirely alone, worthless, not feeling good enough to be loved or enjoyed by anyone. I was casting a lifeline out. Hoping to be seen. I was thirteen.
“I think I need to see a psychologist about the way I’m feeling.” Heart pounding. Tears and total breakdown clinched in the back of my throat. I wanted to be taken seriously. I needed to be seen and finally heard. I was tired of playing out scenarios in my mind. Tired of sneaking in a good crying sesh in the shower. The shower seemed to provide enough noise to muffle my breakdowns. Apparently, I conditioned myself to let it all go in the shower because I spent years breaking down as soon as I stepped in. It became my safe space to let it flow.
“What do you have to be stressed about? If you can’t handle life now, how will you ever make it when you have real stuff to actually be stressed about?” was my Dad’s response.
That was it. Conversation over. Never to be talked about again. The rug was lifted and things were swept under, per usual.
I learned at that moment I only really had myself. In some ways, I think it made me incredibly resilient to realize that at a tender age. But in other ways, it hurt so bad. So deep. And reinforced all of the feelings I was already battling. My truth is hard to share but I feel it’s important. For me. For others. To lift the veil of shame and secrecy. In no way do I think I’m a perfect parent, there are so many areas I can do better. But I vow to hear, see and validate my children. I’m finally coming forward with my journey with suicidal thoughts.
I posted that SEP 17, 2019 on Instagram for Suicide prevention and awareness month.
That was the day my mom walked out of my life again.
Not the first time but it is the last. Her decision to ghost me after this post because she was embarrassed, she felt blamed, and rather than speak to me about it she chose to tell all my siblings to never speak my name to her again. That was the last update I got. In all honesty, it’s the best for both of us. And if I’m being completely honest it’s the first time I felt so fucking free. Free from the burden of trying to please her when I knew I never really would. But always striving for my mother’s love that was always just out of reach because we are so different. But I like different. I love connecting with those that are not the same as me. That’s not true for my mom though. Different makes her very uncomfortable, even when it’s her own child.
My mom lacks empathy, it’s really quite an odd thing to lack as a mother. My mom hasn’t spoken to my three boys either. How can a grandparent willingly choose to walk out of their grandkids’ life? My boys are 11, 9, and 7. They don’t get it. I feel for them. I try to explain in an age-appropriate manner the reasons but there is simply no way for a child to understand how a mom/grandma would simply go silent.
That IG post I made resulted in so many personal messages relating to it. Of course, some were sympathetic but mostly it was relating to what I posted. My mental health struggles were always kept close to me. Those around me had no clue I was harboring all of that heaviness. I had no clue of my friends that were harboring it as well. I had to release the deep, dark shame of it. Now it doesn’t feel shameful. This post was a cathartic release. An owning of my truth. I’m not ashamed of it anymore, it’s simply a part of me. My ability to share my shit is something that draws others to me. I have the capacity and voice to do it and that feels good to me. Makes me feel useful to others in their journey to heal.
I’m also thankful for amazing therapists which I have been lucky to land in the office of many over the last handfuls of years. It’s not easy as a military spouse to constantly have to find new local providers when you move. Along with the journey of medications, finding the right fit, right dose then tweaking all along the way. God, that’s a journey of highs and lows! But silencing the inner dialogue of not being worthy, not being lovable and always feeling lost opened my world to possibility in the last handful of years. It was only at 40 years old that I opened myself to the possibility for medication and my life drastically changed after that. I was always accomplished and high-functioning but I began to soar after that!
My energy is now spent creating and feeling hopeful instead of consumed with managing day-to-day to keep from feeling like I was drowning. Or giving up because it felt impossible. Or…what’s the point? My brain told me that a lot.
I feel very vulnerable posting this here amongst so many accomplished people. Fear of judgment. Fear of appearing crazy. Fuck, it’s hard. But I’m owning my truth and I now know that it helps others and myself.