My Story of Depression
There are so many stories from my life that I can share with you. I want to use the blog to share some of them with you, like the one I’m going to share today. I want it to be clear upfront that I’m not sharing a sob story. I’m not blaming anybody for my experience. I don’t want you to feel sorry for me. This is my life. It’s experience. It’s my story. I lived it for a reason. Nothing in life is random. While I’m happy to share these things with you, I’m struggling to find the balance between sharing with you and re-victimizing myself. Please forgive me if this comes across that way. It is not the intent nor is it the purpose. Thanks in advance for reading my story.
Like so many others, I was disempowered during my childhood. There was no ill will or malicious intent behind what was going on. I was learning from a mother, in particular, that had been disempowered herself and because of that, she taught me how to do the same thing.
I was depressed and suicidal as a teenager. My earliest memories of suicidal thoughts came at about age 12. I didn’t like myself at all because I was being bullied at school and often at home, I’d get comments that were equally as toxic. None of the messages I was receiving about who I was at the time were healthy. None of them were positive. It sent me on a downward spiral.
By 16, I was outwardly suicidal and tried twice before I turned 18. That prompted my parents to get me some help. I give credit to the psychologist I saw at the time because she probably did save my life. I’m not sure I would have made it through the next couple of years without her.
She taught me that I couldn’t save my mother. She taught me that trying to make my mother happy was a wasted effort. I needed to let that go because it was destroying me. I think she could tell from the way I was talking that my mother had her own issues I was responding to. While she encouraged me to figure out who I was and not solely do what my mother wanted me to, it would take me another 25 years to actually learn that lesson fully.
I had learned that my opinion didn’t matter and that I should leave decision making to others. I recognize that now as victim trauma my mother passed on because that’s exactly how she is. My mother encouraged me to get a degree and a job even though she had been told women didn’t need degrees to stay home and raise a family. But, she definitely encouraged me to get a job that would allow me to be home as much as I needed to. She also wanted to make sure that it was a government union job with benefits. Priorities you know.
She taught me the checklist of life which was getting married, buying a house, having kids and one of those stable government jobs, and going to church every Sunday. Life needed to look right and happiness was definitely secondary to that outward appearance.
We clashed constantly. I wanted independence and freedom. She couldn’t figure out why I’d want to live by myself, she never had. She didn’t understand why I didn’t want to just cruise through life the easy way like she had, being miserable didn’t seem to count for anything. Being miserable was the price of having an “easy life”.
Even though I knew this nonsense was ridiculous, I still held on to it and even attempted to listen to it. I created a life that wasn’t mine, settling an giving up my own dreams to make her happy. Incidentally, I’ve never made her happy to this day. She’s still waiting for me to go back to church and get that teaching job. She is going to have to keep waiting.
I’d learned to give up my own authority. I’m not blaming her for that, I did that part willingly. Because I’d given up my own authority I ended up having to make choices (check out my last blog to find out about some of those) that were really painful and difficult to make. I had to lose a lot to get to a place where I was willing to upset and disappoint the people around me in order to make my life my own. Understand that others’ expectations of me are not my responsibility. They can expect whatever they want and be as disappointed as they would like when I don’t do it, but that’s their thing, not mine.
I teach this now because it’s been my life. It’s the journey I’ve been on. I had my power taken away from me so I could teach others how to find theirs. It’s not about blame or shame or guilt. It’s just life and it happens.
Depression, suicide and mental health are very real things. I’m all for spirituality and the teachings that it provides. It made a great platform for me to do some of the healing work that I needed to do but it is not a replacement for professional mental health.
Getting help is not weak, it’s strong. It takes courage to admit there is a problem and it takes even more courage to work on healing that problem. I’m sending so much love to all that may be struggling with suicide or depression.
Love to all.
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