I think, once upon a time in my life, I was set on a path to be a pretty all right person. Lively, creative, spontaneous, trusting...
Sure, I'd still have had bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder, but I don't think I was predestined to the other shit. The anxiety disorder, the trust issues, the self-esteem problems.
But you came along.
For years, I broke my back showing you I loved you, while you presented me a false face. Behind my back, you told everyone how much you wanted me to die.
Sometimes, you'd let your true face show and tell me how much you wanted me to die; how I was "faking my problems" for "attention."
The fucked-up thing is that to this day, I don't feel I'm allowed my own emotions because you had me so CONVINCED that everything that wasn't pure happiness was me "acting out."
You manipulated me so much that, you know what? I think so, too. Maybe my depression IS self-imposed. Maybe I could just "get over it." I just don't know anymore.
But I do know that you took sick pleasure by completely annihilated everything I could have been. You saw the power you had over me, you saw the depth of my feelings, and you made it game to see just how far you could bend me and have me still crawling back.
You reveled in your ability to tear me down - down so far that I was contemplating, planning my suicide. I'm CERTAIN you sadistically laughed when I'd come back to you to fix what YOU'D done.
But even after all of that, I think I could have been okay, but then he came. And I thought he was going to save me.
At first, maybe he did. But years passed and he reinforced everything you'd said; done to me. He demonstrated that, without a doubt, blind faith in another is the WORST choice I could make.
He demonstrated, more aptly than anyone else, that I was not enough. I wasn't skinny enough, pretty enough, interesting enough, smart enough. I wasn't ENOUGH of anything.
So he shoved me into his rules, his game, and I knew that I was a bed-warmer, a play-thing. I was an emotional-punching bag. He taught me how to shut down my emotions and live in the moment.
My feelings were not tolerated. Anxieties a nuisance to be ignored or trivialized. Fears mocked. Tears, cause for punishment. And oh, were his punishments cruel. No contact, telling me about the other women, fucking my friends.
Somewhere along the way, I broke.
I didn't realize I had, but somewhere along the way, I did.
The little girl that I'd once been was long gone. The woman I could've become if I'd had a bit of unconditional love, well, she was doomed from the start, wasn't she? Never stood a chance.
Every day, every SINGLE day, I fight with myself. I preach about self-love and body positivity and blah, blah, BLAH. I scream about these things so loudly because I'm still clawing at the notion; trying so hard to gain back some sort of self-respect.
On days like today, I'm positive that I never will.
On days like today, I'm convinced that I am broken beyond repair.
Guess what, ladies and gentleman?
THE SUN HAS MADE AN APPEARANCE.
That's right, after a ridiculously long hiatus, the sun is back in action and that makes me UBER HAPPY. (Sitting in a park enjoying the sun as pictured above makes me super DUPER happy!)
You know that phrase, "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone?" Yeah, it's kind of like that for me.
You see, I lived in California where the sun shines without hesitation. Then I moved to a dark, dreary part of the world where the sun disappears for at least half the year.
When I lived in California, I never took the time to appreciate how good the sun makes me feel. But as soon as it was gone, I missed it something fierce. (Seasonal Affective Disorder is a real thing, guys!)
Now that the sun is BACK, I love and appreciate it more than ever. It makes me feel so good.
If you live in a sunny place, take a moment to just let the rays hit your face and feel the warmth.
It's such a simple pleasure, but some of us don't have it often :)
Twist-open bottles are pretty much the best thing for an alcoholic.
Yes, just the simple twist and it’s open. None of the guilt associated with opening a second bottle of wine – the ripping off of the foil, the search for the wine opener, that delightful popping sound when the cork comes out. With a twist-open, the seal is broken almost instantaneously, noiselessly, and the wine is flowing into your waiting glass in no time.
Guilt is something I’m very familiar with. Yes, I was technically born Catholic, but that has nothing to do with it. Mine is the guilt of having a chemical imbalance. A depression for no reason. None that is simple and makes sense, anyway. It does tend to happen more in the fall, when the summer light starts to fade earlier and earlier, until it is cold and dark by the time I get off work in the evening. But it can happen anytime. Mostly when I really don’t want it to.
Some days I wake up and stare at the ceiling, motionless. I feel like a weight is laying on my chest. It’s not that I don’t want to get up and go to work, it's that I can’t: I feel tethered to the bed. I don't want to stay in bed all day, either. That’s the last thing I want to do because that’s the perfect opportunity for my mind to race and my thoughts to spiral downward and downward, making the guilt more real, more consequential.
My dog hasn’t died. I didn’t lose my job. No one I love has a terrible disease. So why do I feel this way? There must be some reason, some trigger. When I am finally able to admit to someone that I am feeling “down,” they always ask why. I can never give them an answer that makes sense to them, unless they’ve felt depressed before - then they get it, no questions asked.
It’s a bad day. For me, usually a bad night. When the sun goes down, my depression comes out to play. It asks me questions I never would ask myself in my happy, light, sunny days. “What are you doing with your life? Why don’t you have a boyfriend right now? Why don’t you lose some weight? What if no one every loves you again? What’s the point of your life?” You can see how quickly things can start to spiral.
So I drink.
And it doesn’t really help. At least, it doesn’t help make me any happier. It does soothe the depression. It makes me somehow feel guiltier about having it, which in a very masochistic way makes me feel more relevant. It gives me some strange reason to feel awful, like maybe the copious amounts of red wine I drink is making me feel this way, but deep down I know it’s a symptom, not an answer. The answers are too complex for alcohol to solve.
I’ve been like this almost as long as I can remember. My parents told me I was a happy, easy baby. I remember smiling and playing when I was younger. I had friends in the neighborhood. But when I hit about eleven or twelve, I would start feeling odd. I was sick a lot as a child, but this wasn’t sick. It was just…. not good. I was tired, sad, and sometimes I would cry over ridiculous things like missing a show I liked to watch on TV. And not just crying: I mean sobbing for half an hour, completely inconsolable. That’s how I felt. But it wasn’t about the TV show. What was it about?
I have been to a lot of therapists, some better than others. And they help me through the bad times and teach me how to cope. But they don’t give me any concrete answers. Why do I feel this way to begin with? Why? Why?
I take medication, and it helps most of the time. When I am off it, I feel worse. Which means I know that I will probably have to take it for the rest of my life. That used to make me feel despairing. Now it’s just a fact of life. Wake up, brush my teeth, take my medications, grab something to eat, and out the door.
Sometimes they are not enough. Sometimes I feel so bad that the questions ring in my ears. I know they are coming from my own head, but it doesn’t feel like me. I know that I am a good person with a good job who deserves to be loved. But when I am in that depressive hole, nothing seems to matter. And the more wine I drink, the better the idea sounds to put all those words to sleep for good.
I can’t do it.
No matter how terrible I feel, my will to live is stronger. I guess most people would say that’s a good thing. I think it means a lot more years to suffer. There will be highs, I know this. But there will be other lows, terrible lows, yet to come.
So I twist the top off another bottle and try to get through today.