My name is not important. Not to say that I am not important, but the name doesn’t have too much importance. It took me quite a while to bring myself together, to gather my thoughts and then decide to write this, pitch my idea. It then took me a week to manage to write this first sentence. I kept wanting to introduce myself somehow, but then I realized that my name is not important, but what is important is my story.
It started a long time ago, with feeling left out. I grew up in a rather modest family, my folks have always struggled with money and that made me feel left out, as opposed to the other kids. I was slightly overweight, and that was also affecting me. Kids are always so mean, even if they don’t intend it, especially when they gather round and start picking on you. I was left out initially because my parents insisted I go to a different school than most kids in my neighborhood. It’s something so simple, yet it affected me so much. It was the first time that I was being left out of something, and it hurt. I felt alone.
Years had passed and I somehow never managed to let go of this feeling of being left out. It slowly turned from feeling alone into feeling not good enough. I was constantly being compared to others by my mother, and this also started to add to my feeling of worthlessness. What was I doing so wrong? I was getting good grades, even though they weren’t perfect. When I started highschool it was worse. I was getting better grades, but it was not the best highschool in town, so in a way it still didn’t feel like enough.
On top of all that I have mentioned above, I was bullied. I was an oddball and the kids in my class were more than happy to throw shit my way, insult me and constantly treat me like I was a piece of trash. Why did they do this? Simply because I had different interests than them. I liked a certain type of music and that didn’t sit well with the overall “sound” of the classroom. On top of it, I was being called a know-it-all constantly. I started to feel like it was my fault, even though it wasn’t. I just wanted good grades so that I could get into a good university and leave that city behind, which eventually happened.
But highschool left me pretty scarred. I felt ugly and worthless still, and unbeknownst to me, I had developed a mental ilness. I was depressed and I wanted to die. I didn’t tell lots of people, but luckily the people I spoke to about this were more than supportive and still are. I have always had a great support system, yet the shadow of doubt and my dark thoughts were always there. Lurking… and waiting to get a grip on me and suffocate me.
Fast forward to several failed attempts at relationships and one extremely failed relationship, and I developed severe anxiety. I would often cry when I had to leave the house, because I was afraid I would see him, or just be around other people. I didn’t want to leave my room, it was the only place that felt like home, where no one ever bothered me. I started isolating myself more and more and I was thinking quite often about killing myself. I was making plans all the time and had lost interest in all of the things that used to bring me joy. Insomnia soon followed. This was the point when I should have asked for help, but I didn’t. Another thing I started doing then was the scratching, which left me with marks all over my body. It’s a bad habit I have to this day and I am struggling to get rid of it. Whenever I am stressed, I scratch my arms and my back until I bleed.
My personality also changed quite a lot during this period. I was quite needy, I constantly needed someone around me and I was selfish with this company, which was wrong. But I was having such a hard time finding people that I felt comfortable around with, that I didn’t want to share them. Yet I was more quiet, timid and unwilling to interact with people, so quite a few of my friendships faded away.
People didn’t want to hang out with someone who was sad all of the time. It’s hard to form friendships with people when you can’t offer yourself an inch of freedom from the grasp of dark thoughts.
“You’re always sad”
“Why can’t you be more happy?”
“Why won’t you appreciate what you have?”
“You have a job, a roof over your head, why can’t you be more happy about things?”
These words felt like knives. People still don’t understand that words hurt so much. I find that it would’ve been easier to be slapped by someone than to be told such things. Because words stick with you, they latch onto you and follow you around. They slowly get into your head and start digging there until they leave big holes that hard to fill. Your foundation slowly begins to crumble and you hurt even more. But at the time I couldn’t really see this, I just judged people for not being there for me.
I was feeling even more worthless and useless. I felt like nobody needed me or wanted to be around me, and this lead to me wanting to die again. I initially thought that things were getting better, I had friends and was going out and struggling to interact with others, even though it didn’t feel right to me. I didn’t feel like I could be ME fully.
So I slowly retreated to my cave and allowed the darkness to hug me, as it was comforting in the beginning. By this point, the anxiety and depression had taken over almost entirely. I felt like I had tried too much to be liked by people who didn’t like me, and that left me tired. I felt alone, even though I wasn’t, but I didn’t think that I could talk freely about how I was thinking, I was fearing judgement.
After all the joy had been sucked out of me, I was just an empty carcass doing things mechanically.
Wake up – go to work – come back – browse the internet – sleep if you can – repeat.
The breaking point soon followed. I was thinking about suicide 90% of the time, I just had no wish to be alive anymore. One night, while talking to a friend on the phone I broke down and started crying. I was telling him that I just don’t want to be anymore, that I want to die. He took a cab and came over, and just stayed with me. This person took the time to come and stay by my side, no questions asked, even though he had a lot of work to do. He stayed up the whole night watching over me, and when I woke up he told me that he will schedule a therapy appointment for me and that I had to go.
So I complied, and went to therapy for a few months. Meanwhile, the darkness, as I like to call it, was constantly hugging me, being on my back, making things harder for me. Therapy helped, but it didn’t solve my problem completely. Talking to somebody about how I felt was good, and it felt like I finally had somebody on my side. To this day it is still hard to open up and talk about my issues, and try to get to the bottom of it. Bit by bit the puzzle pieces were falling into place and I was learning how to interact with people and how to form a friendship and keep it going.
But after a while I started thinking again that I’d be better off dead. And I had to do something about it this time, by myself. I decided to go to the doctor and I got a diagnosis- depression, coupled with personality disorder, and I was given a treatment. I had to admit that I attempted several times to kill myself, even though I never went though with it. But it was nice to give my constant company a name.
Depression crept on me and took control of my life, to the point that my life didn’t feel like it was mine anymore.
I still go to therapy and take my treatment religiously. The anxiety started fading away after a while, even though I still have panic attacks every now and then, yet I am feeling better every day. I started doing all of the things that used to bring me joy: I listen to music, I read a lot and I started going out again, but I try to always be around people who are there to give me a hug if I need one and don’t judge me or call me needy.
There is nothing wrong with saying how you feel, but this has taken me so long to understand. It’s ok to not be always happy, it’s ok to be sad, there’s nothing wrong with having a cry or needing a hug. It’s extremely important to understand that if you need to stay in, just stay in, or if you need to go out, try and go out, even if it’s just a walk to the store. Not everyone will understand how things work, but having patience to try and explain when there is willingness from the other side definitely helps. I’ve had a lot of moments when I just needed somebody to stay with me and just watch Youtube videos, but it just so often happened that there were moments when I was unable to get out of bed and do anything and somebody tidied up my place and helped me clean.
I was lucky enough to eventually get the help that I needed, and I know that I still have a long road to a full recovery. My plan is to learn to live with my depression, and not have it sit on my shoulder, but rather go on the road with it, holding hands, until we will part our ways. This is one relationship that cannot last, but I must learn to accept it first before it can reach its expiration date. But there is no concrete recipe for dealing with depression, which means that each individual will have to take a leap of faith and walk the path he feels will help.
Why did I decide to write this? Because I know there are people out there who maybe need help, but they are afraid to ask, because they feel they will be judged, or looked down upon. Going to therapy doesn’t make you crazy, taking medication for a mental ilness doesn’t mean you’re broken. It means you’re trying to mend yourself.