I am neglected.
I’m the product of parents who didn’t know how to fulfill my emotional needs.
I alternate between believing both that “my parents gave me everything; I had a happy childhood; I don’t have any reason to be this messed up,” and “my parents emotionally neglected me; I had an awful childhood; no wonder I am this messed up.“
I fantasize about being in the hospital because that seems like the ultimate (and only) way that people might finally see me and care about me. Logically, I know that it’s not true, but my emotional brain is convinced that being sick or hurt is the way to get the love, attention, and care that is not present in my daily life.
I am ashamed.
I’m a 22-year old who is still desperately attached to my mangled childhood stuffed animal, Lambie.
I surreptitiously, but uncontrollably, pull out my own hair. I know have trichotillomania (and dermotillomania while we’re at it), but it’s one of my most shameful “secrets.”
I eat spoonsful of Nutella straight from the jar, and sometimes that will be the only thing I eat for the majority of the day.
I am depressed.
I am pained getting out of bed in the morning. It’s hard to relate to people who casually say, “Yeah, I didn’t want to get up this morning,” but may not understand the gravity of depression. It hurts to the bone.
I have trouble taking my daily antidepressants because a hidden part of me doesn’t believe I’m worthy of feeling better.
I am obsessed with filling my brain with as much information about mental illness as possible. And yet, no matter how much I read books, articles, and studies about eating disorders, depression, anxiety, or impulse-control disorders, I struggle to control my own mental health.
I have a hard time with “I’m depressed.” Maybe because I don’t believe that the real me is just buried under mental illness. It’s more like “I’m a person living with depression.” It has taken so much of my personality and soul out of me, but without depression, I am a lively, joyful girl.
I am taking care of myself (or I’m learning to).
I practically begged my parents to see a therapist, nutritionist, and psychiatrist, when I was only 15 years old. It certainly wasn’t easy, especially because we didn’t talk about anything “emotionally charged,” but I knew that it was a step I had to take in order to alleviate my pain.
I reach out to others when I need it most. Even though I isolate, too, I also know that in moments of desperation, I do instinctively ask for help and support from those I trust.
I treat myself to occasional manicures, special purchases (a dress, a pillow, some art supplies), and a lazy Sunday. As much as my brain tries to trick me into thinking that I am worthless and unlovable, I try to actively do things for myself that remind myself that I deserve care.
I am brave.
I share my story with very few people, but when I do, it is the most rewarding experience. Sharing real experiences and thoughts is how I create deep connections with people.
I moved to Denmark for my first job out of college. I don’t speak the language, I’ve never been away from home for more than four months, and I left my entire support network at home.
I am working full-force in therapy at facing the demons and insecurities I have hidden for years. I am taking charge of my life by learning to be vulnerable, accept my flaws, and love myself in spite of them, and find happiness for the first time in my life.
You’ve got this. HARD. I’m so happy that you’re seeking your best life. Let us know how it goes, please!
You are on the right track. With your positive attitude, it is likely that things will get better. You deserve good things.
Keep us updated! We support you!!
I struggle with many of those exact same things. Since you’re working so hard at therapy, and you’re reading about things, I would recommend “Running on Empty” by Dr. Jonice Webb. I, too grew up with parents who didn’t know how to fulfill my emotional needs, and Dr. Webb has done a LOT of work on Childhood Emotional Neglect. Her book has really helped me.
Thank you for sharing with us. Depression is a motherfucker and lies to us. I battle similar issues with my upbringing but have learned that the all/nothing narrative doesn’t serve me. I’m working on telling myself “I had a challenging time growing up. There are lessons I wish I had learned younger about how to manage emotions and treat myself better but I can learn them now and every day is another opportunity to get a little bit better.”
Sending love and worthiness to you from afar!
Please, please take your meds. You deserve to feel better. Some people just need a chemical adjustment. I’m one of those people. I will never go off my antidepressants because my brain needs a little help and it’s okay.
If your body isn’t making serotonin, store bought is fine.
You’re right: you are brave! You will get through anything because you are so beautifully self aware, and not even remotely interested in giving up control of your future. I can’t wait to hear about the adventures ahead of you and when the bad things tug at you, we’re here for you. xo
Keep fighting, and when you get tired, take a break, then fight some more. Those voices that tell you that you are not worthy are liars.
We are here for you.
You are INCREDIBLY brave, just for sharing these words with us. Thank you for telling us your story <3