- Posted October 8, 2012 by
Belleville, New Jersey
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Are you living with depression?
Fighting from the inside
I have suffered from depression since I was a young child., but officially since I was 16. The abusive relationship my father had towards my mother did much to affect my young life. I started to feel, "If my presence could not change how my father acts...then it must be my fault he is that way." I finally received help at the age of 16, and for a while, I thought it worked. The panic attacks, endless tears, and loss of interest in life, I thought, did not affect me. I graduated high school, graduated college, all the while believing I had control over my issues. I only had one suicide attempt, when I swallowed 30 pills.
But then I became involved with a man that I never should have been with. He abused me, emotionally and mentally, cheated...everything you could do to hurt an already sensitive woman. The nightmares followed, along with flashbacks.
For a long time, everyday that I woke up, I was mad and upset that I was still alive. Every night, I would cry because I felt useless in the world, and unlovable, mad that I didn't get hit by a car or bus anytime throughout the day--I didn't deserve my life, so why cherish it. I abused my own body. I did not love myself.
The climax was this past June, where, after I attempted suicide with the promise that I would follow through, my best friend's mother and stepfather plucked me from my home and took me to the hospital. There, along with my mother, it was decided that I should voluntarily commit myself to a short-term care mental health facility. The first few days, all I did was cry. All I did was mope. I didn't want to sleep because I was afraid of what I would see. And I hated myself even more because I allowed myself to get to this low point, where I could no longer have a knife for my food or wear shoes with laces. I wanted to hate my caretakers, because I felt they were my wardens in my own personal prison.
But, after I was stabilized with some medications, I realized that I am a beautiful woman. I have accomplished much in my short life, and even where I'm from (Newark, NJ) I managed to rise above the stereotypes and succeed. There was so much I hadn't seen, and there was too much I hadn't done. I could not let what I thought was a black hole in my life suck me in and kill me. I realized I was my own worse enemy.
But I also realized I had a choice. I could go on, not appreciating the life I have, taking it for granted when other people who have lost their lives could have appreciated it more. I could wallow in my own self pity, shut myself away from the world, and die.
Or...I could start loving myself more, appreciating myself more. I could finally realize that while it may not have been easy, my life help shaped me into the woman I am today. I have a loving family, and a solid network of friends. My life would not be the same without them. But I realized, their lives would not be the same without me.
So now, I wake up everyday ready to face the world. I look at the clouds, and their shapes take on a new importance to me. Flowers and their beauty overtake my emotions. I appreciate being able to walk, my sight, being able to use my hands. The tears no longer fall. I love my boyfriend, who is a saint having to deal with my mood swings and emotional outbursts.
But most of all, I live my day with my arms around me, telling myself I am loved, beautiful, and worthy of this life I have. I give myself a big (mental) hug, because in my life, I am the most important person.
Depression didn't make me who I am. But it helped me to see that I am a tough soldier, and I can fight the hardest battles that have yet to come.
A line from the book "The Officers' Ward": I had not the courage to kill myself. I had had the courage not to kill myself."
To anyone suffering, I cannot give you advice that will make it go away. This is a sickness that will threaten you for the rest of your life. But you are strong enough to keep the threat at bay. You are strong. You are worthy. And you are beautiful. Take this day by day, and even if you need to, minute by minute. But every minute you spend fighting, is another minute you gain to live your life. Never give up. Do not surrender. And above all, remember, you are better than depression. Do not let it become you but instead, make your own destiny. And never, ever give up!