Kristine over at Wait in the Van does this Product of Silence series, and I connected with her theme and wanted to write a piece for it. Here it is, be gentle.
This is such a heavy word. It takes the air out of a room. It makes people uncomfortable and squirmy. Why? I don't know.
I was "sad" a lot as a kid. I don't know if it was depression, but my heart ached. I was never comfortable in my own skin and was a complete worry wart. A couple of years ago I was flipping through an old notebook and found entries from when I was 9 or 10 about how sad I was. To read that my child-self was so sad and so lonely was extremely upsetting. What makes children so sad? Children are supposed to be happy and dance around the maypole with flowers in their hair.
Then, my teenage years. All of my emotions were amplified. I would range from being deliriously happy, to feeling a deep anger and rage, to utterly depressed. My moods owned me, possessed me. I felt alone. I had no idea why I could not control my emotions. There were a few times where I almost dropped out of high school because I couldn't handle it. I've never told anybody before. Luckily I had parents who refused to let me give up. It wasn't until I was 16 or 17 that my cousin told me that depression runs in the family. She'd gone through bouts of depression, my aunts had, and my mom had. My mom? The woman who watched me fall into black holes and saw me crumple to the floor? I was furious with her. How could she keep this information from me? I had felt alone for years and had no idea what I was going through and she had experienced the same? She told me she didn't want me to rely on pills like some people in my family had. But I should have found out from her that I wasn't alone. I was completely against taking medication that alters the chemicals in your brain anyway. Just knowing that I was not alone helped a bit, knowing that I wasn't a freak, that genetics had a small role. I saw my first psychologist and she was amazing. She taught me how to deal with my anxiety before it was too much to handle. How to see the warning signs and proactively stop an oncoming anxiety attack or bout of depression.
Then I started university.
There are certain things that I am still too terrified to say out loud. But I have to, for the integrity of this piece. It's easier to write out anyway, right? This is extremely difficult to write.
There were points in my teenage years were I had fleeting thoughts of suicide. But first year university brought on a whole new low. I spent a few days locked in my bedroom with the lights off and barely got out of bed. Around the time that first semester exams came around, my parents got a terrifying call. They could barely understand me through my sobs, and I was miserable. I wanted it to end. I couldn't deal with the pain anymore. I was tired. I'm sure my parents never imagined they would have to talk me down from the ledge. My parents called a suicide hotline and got them to call me. I had to describe my feelings, had I thought about suicide before? How did I imagine ending my life? Did I have a plan? It made me realize that I didn't want to die. Not yet. The next morning I was sent to see a doctor and prescribed medication. I started seeing a psychologist again. I was told that medication evens out your moods, levels out the highs and lows. I didn't want my highs to go away. Turns out they didn't. That's how high my highs are. The meds helped with the depression and anxiety that I couldn't control, the therapist helped me understand how to deal with it and prevent it.
I still deal with bouts of depression and anxiety, but I can see out of them. I've become very self-analytical and am aware of every single one of my feelings. I enjoy a good cry. I eat a lot when I'm sad. I still have highs and lows. But I have a lot of highs. I feel comfortable in my skin. Maybe too comfortable. I don't walk around naked, but when you see me, you see the real me. You see all of me. Good, bad, and terrifyingly weird.
When I hit "Publish Post" I will probably have an anxiety attack. I just told you my innermost darkest secrets. Not all of them, but some of the more heavy duty ones. And your reaction?