Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I've Been Feeling A Bit.....

I've been staring at the screen, with my battery percentage slowly draining lower and lower, unsure of what to say. Or how to say it. I know this is something I want to talk about, but what I don't know is how to go about it. I'm not looking for sympathy or pity. I just know that this is something I want to get off my chest. I've been clinically depressed since I was 13.
It's probably been even before that, but that's when I really started noticing symptoms. From the ages of 6 months to 12 1/2 years I lived in the same suburb of a bigger city. I grew up with the same people, and had the same friends at school all through elementary and most of middle.

My siblings are all older, the youngest being 5 years older than me and the oldest being about 30 years older than me. Because of that, I was closer with my nephews and nieces than I was with my siblings. Growing up I had three nephews that I spent the most time with, Danny, Mikey, and Scotty. They're all younger than me, but only by a year or so. Mike is only five months and nine days younger. Because of that, they were basically my siblings growing up. We fought like normal siblings, and hung out like normal siblings.

Scotty and Mikey, Danny and I, Mikey, my sisters Christy and Maggie, me, and Scotty
My parents bought a house in our suburb when I was about 8 or 9 and I helped my dad fix it up. We moved in in March of 2000 and lived there for four years. That seemed to be our pattern, we'd lived in the first apartment in the neighborhood for four years until I developed lead poisoning and the city condemned the building. Then we lived in this nice duplex, with my grandmother and aunt on the other side, for four years until we bought the house. Then in 2004 my parents sold the house and I moved in with my sister and her boyfriend for two months to finish school. You don't need to know my whole life story, but this is where it really began.

When I moved from my home town, I had to start fresh. I didn't know anyone, and I had to start at a k-8 elementary school in 8th grade. The kids were cliquish and I was new, and overweight. We only stayed there for a few months until we moved to an even more cliquish town. This one was richer, and the kids were all, well to be frank most of them were assholes. I had a few friends, but none that I really spent time with outside of school.

When I started high school, I ended up choosing the one that only a handful of people from my middle school went to. So again I was starting fresh. High school was better in some ways, but my freshman year was my worst year ever. I started skipping class, and school altogether. I wasn't doing my schoolwork. I was giving my teachers attitude. And I was drinking. I had had my first drink a few years earlier, with my nephew Danny that I mentioned above. We were in the basement of my "step-mother's" house and wanted to be like the cool kids (my older siblings.) It wasn't until high school that I started drinking more.

I didn't drink every day, or even every weekend. But my sister would hold parties at her house and she wouldn't realize that we were drinking too. And then by the time I was 16 she was giving us the drinks. In retrospect I realize that she wasn't the best parent or sibling, but at the time I loved going to her house. I had the freedom to do whatever I wanted, and I wanted to do things that I shouldn't have been doing.

My nephew and I started stealing from some of the stores in the area. Nothing big or expensive, a sharpie here, a candy bar there. But it could have escalated much worse. I don't really know what stopped us. Maybe we just got lucky and outgrew it. Regardless, I stopped stealing and stopped drinking. Instead of drinking and carrying on at the parties my sister was having, I would sit in her living room and keep to myself.

That's when I started thinking it was more than just normal teenage angst. Most normal teenagers would have been in the basement partying, but instead I was secluding myself. I rarely talked about things that actually mattered and I never told people how I felt.

I started self harming while were living upstate, at the age of 13. I didn't count it as such, because at the time "self harm" meant cutting. I wasn't cutting myself, so I wasn't doing anything wrong, right? But in reality, I was self harming. I was biting my lip to the point of blood, and I almost bit through my lip a few times. I would punch and hit things, including the concrete wall in my basement bedroom a few times.

I was also alternating between being too sexual for my age, and being an extreme prude. There are things that I've done, at such a young age, that now I regret. I wish I hadn't done those things and I sometimes wonder if it shaped who I am now. I don't like to be touched. I talked about that before. This includes intimacy with a partner. I don't allow myself to get close to others.

I've often wondered if one of the reasons I've let my body go so badly is because part of me wants this excuse. If I'm fat and "ugly" then no one will want me and I'll be left alone. Then it won't be "my" fault, because they will be the ones rejecting me. It's ridiculous logic, and it doesn't make any sense if you sit and think about it for more than just a few seconds. Not to mention it's untrue. There are certainly people that have made passes, even at 400lbs.

But it's part of my depression. People think depression is just being sad. It's not. It's so much more than sadness. It's despair. It's lethargy. It's wanting to do so much but not wanting to exert the effort to even get out of bed in the morning. It's so. Much. More.

But so few people realize it. When I sit, motionless and silent, it's not because I'm sad. It's because I've gone into a state of being that just barely exists. It's because I am so overwhelmed and I shut down. No longer speaking, no longer feeling. I go numb. A feeling of complete numbness comes over me and I just sit. It might be relaxing to some, or you might think it's peaceful but inside I'm screaming. "DO something! Don't let this take over!" But I can't.

I slowly thaw, sometimes. Most times I just pretend. I crack a fake smile and throw out a fake laugh and all is well. No one ever notices the difference. Sometimes even I don't know what's real and what I'm putting on as a show.

This is depression.

I'm sorry if this is too dark. It's not even a tiny blip in my story. I've just been feeling some type of way and wanted - no, needed - to get this off my chest. And if I can't talk about this here, where can I talk about it?

Please, though, if you're feeling depressed, or suicidal, get help. I'm always here, and definitely willing to talk. But you can also reach out here for help in the US. Or call 1-800-SUICIDE and there is always, 24/7, someone there to talk. If you don't feel comfortable talking out loud, they have chat specialists available too. And if you aren't in the US here is a link to the international suicide prevention website.

Please don't go it alone. I've learned the hard way that it's not better. It doesn't get easier until you talk to someone.

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