A listen along:
When I was about 17 years old, I went through a very deep and scarring depression. This depression beat me black and blue until I was permanently numb. Having a, what I thought then was, serious relationship at such a naive time in my life is something I often regret for the sake of having a normal heart or having a normal idea and set of expectations for any future relationships I would have. My heart went through hell and back, from wanting to stop beating altogether to, within the same minute, completely doing a 360 and projecting my love on people who did not deserve (or even ask) for it. Thinking I even had a slight idea what love (the relationship kind) actually was, or heartbreak for that matter, was not only very innocent of me but also totally visionless.
At age 17, your world is small. You are in a routine of school, maybe sports, friends and weekends. And then there’s the occasional world altering high school relationship (yikes.) I was fortunate enough to not have bills at this age, no real responsibilities, no job and unfortunately for me, didn’t apply myself much academically. So most of my worries were more geared around things like, if the game this Friday was home or away or how I was gonna ask my dad for yet another $20 to go to movies on Saturday night. Things like this consumed me and I thought they were super important because I was so young, especially when it came to love. The main reason I was so intensely affected by this “heartbreak” was because it was my whole life. Every idea I had for myself and my life, my (then) boyfriend was always tacked on. I could not picture my life without him and that alone was incredibly childish of me. Did I even for a second think I could be myself without this person? Did I think I would be with him for my whole life? Did I think that we could ride around in his truck forever? …Playing high school sports and walking each other to class every day? Yes, I truly did. And that’s why it was allowed to crumble on top of me the way it did. I was head under water, submerged, in this relationship for not even an entire year and it managed to rip me apart from being a person of my own. My heart acted as if she had never met my head and my body was in a constant state of floating. When this all ended, I was left feeling like something had been wrong with me, something would always be wrong with me. My heart felt broken on a degree I had never felt before which altered my mind into thinking nobody could ever love me again. At least not in the way that I wanted.
My breakup fueled my heartbreak which in turn fueled my depression, added to my already brimming anxiety and I started to shut down. The Summer had started just before all of that blew up, which gave me this great opportunity to drink so much alcohol that I thought it would either numb me or help me forget my pain even if it were just for a minute, I’m still trying to figure out which. I acted a fool, I made terrible decisions which I’m lucky never went wrong and lied a lot to everyone around me. My biggest lie, that I told almost daily, was that I was fine. Everyone thought that I was fine. “Are you okay?” Yeah I’m fine. “How are things with *****?” Fine. “Have you talked about it?” Yeah but it’s fine. We’re fine. My exterior showed that I was having so much fun with friends at parties and just enjoying being single for the Summer. My Instagram told stories of “memories” and people I will “never forget” when I could barely remember what happened the next morning. Upload after upload of red Solo cups, beer pong and endless shots with boys to prove I didn’t need my ex anymore. I was single and having soooo much fun. Right?
On the inside, I was so far away from fine that I legitimately had zero clue who I even was as a person anymore. I was lying to my parents, sneaking out, going out every single night of that Summer and drinking so much that I’m honestly surprised I didn’t get alcohol poisoning at least once. I was a complete and total mess. I was just trying to escape the darkness that quite literally filled me, my thoughts and all the mean things I said and thought to myself. In all attempts at scrambling for an escape of any sorts, I would end up in unfamiliar places, houses where I couldn’t name the owner even if I tried and was night after night desperately trying to find any place where the music was loud enough to drown out my internal dialogue. I couldn’t stand to be alone in my feelings, I couldn’t stand to be hurting so I would do things to show off that I was “fine” but wound up only hurting myself trying to hurt him. I’m not proud of that time in my life and I tend to bring it up as a joke because that’s the only real way I can deal with the embarrassment.
The nights I was forced to be alone were spent obsessing over hauntings of the happy times of the relationship and I wanted it back more than anything but I wouldn’t ever show that. Aggressively scribbling entries in my journal with explicit dark scenarios, made my Mother cry. Lashing out at family and wanting to give up was starting to become routine and I had finally had enough. On the brink of my senior year, a typical “new year, new me” attitude kicked in and I cut out magazine scraps of words that had little meaning then, grabbed some tape and they were soon plastered on my wall in hopes of becoming the most in my face, daily reminder that would catch my attention without fail. I ripped myself away from the hands of a depression that had the chance of getting to know me for far too long. It learned how to control me, how to push my buttons and I wasn’t going to give it that power or control any longer. I am privileged in a way that many are not; I was well equipped with an impulsive attitude towards almost everything, a kick ass Mom who has struggled to face the same demons as I, with words of advice aplenty and an ever mending heart that allowed me to trust once more. I pumped those words with new meaning; meaning that I have kept close to me ever since (literally, so close. They are now a permanent resident of my left foot, lol)
_Be Positive : Things will get better. They always do.
_Be Strong : Brave this storm. Rainbows only come after rain.
_Be True : Mother knows best. Always stay true to yourself.
This mantra, quite literally, changed my life.
The start of my senior year came quick towards me and I looked at it with a fresh set of eyes. Eyes that were no longer blood shot from crying (amongst other things.) This year was fresh, a restart. I could let go of making terrible mistakes, I could be a better person, I could be fine. This year was one of the best of my life solely because I recognized who I had become, the lessons I learned; what love, heartbreak and what I thought those things were had taught me. I gained a lot of knowledge of myself, of others and how I, to this day, tend to deal with situations similar.
Depression took it’s second swing at me the Summer of 2013. For different reasons, I thankfully struggled less than the first time. I like to think I pulled myself from that ones grip too. I get in these moods where if I’m not happy with something; how I’m feeling, how I’m being treated, the way that things are going, I immediately get the urge to want to start over. I have learned through these battles that it is okay to do that. BUT, it’s also okay to feel hurt and taking as long as you need to fully feel every emotion and ride the ride you’re put on, is OKAY too. Never trying to force myself to not express or participate in my feelings, helps so much. It is okay to feel, guys!
I’m sure I will feel this pain again, as it as normal and naturally occurring. I hope that the next time, I can navigate it with ease and again, remind myself of my three special things.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline : 1-800-273-8255
Crisis Text Line : Text HOME to 741741 in the U.S.
I, as well, am here for anyone who feels as though they are comfortable confiding in me, always.