A beautiful lady who I grew up passed away this month of last year. She took her own life. As her anniversary date approaches, I think more and more-“I wish there was something I could’ve done.” I want to tell her, “It gets better.” The words want to come out like word vomit.
I’ve been depressed for as long as I could remember. Since I was 12. I wasn’t diagnosed then. Throughout my pre-teen and teen years, I knew something was wrong, but I don’t think I truly understood what depression was and what it meant. I thought waking up every morning with a heavy weight in your heart was normal. I thought emptying a bank of tears everyday for hours was normal; and living two dualities of a so-called “normal” human being and the truly depressed person I really was. I mastered how to pass as a functioning human being, while still shutting down times that I was alone. I had no idea what life could actually be like.
I thought feeling depressed was so normal
It became weirdly comfortable for me.
If I didn’t cry that day, it put me on edge-
I’m waiting for the tears to flood out.
Before 2014, I was struggling with a lot of past issues that I never resolved. So when 2014 rolled around it was just one thing after another. I was in a toxic environment with a lot of presumptuous judgment from people that resulted in bricks of guilt weighing down on me.
Then, I found out I was pregnant and that really threw me over the edge. “I can’t even take care of myself. How am I going to take care of a friggin baby?” All sorts of disparaging thoughts and denial swirled around in my head.
And then Jayden was born. How ironic that giving life to some one can also be life giving to me…
But then you look at your baby. The one who made you feel the best/worst pain for 9 months. The one who just sublet some space in your belly. The one who just looked like some bad 80s black and white graphic on the ultrasound screen. It’s like this part of you deep inside that has been dormant for your entire life suddenly becomes alive. Mind-blowing…this little being, who hasn’t done a single thing in his life, except take his first breath, becomes the reason to live again.
I think as a mom you’re present and also always looking ahead-two things you can’t quite do when depressed. Always excited for the next little thing he’s going to do, like sit up on his own. First word. What his personality will be like. When he’s going to start telling me about the first girl (or boy!) he likes. When I will trash talk him while playing videogames together. When he will tell me how I’m ruining his teenage life. When am I going to sob at his wedding. There’s no room for depression. It’s just completely squeezed out with so much forward thinking, love, and hope.
And then I was thought to myself: Is Jayden just a mask over the wounds? Truly in my heart of hearts, I don’t think so. I’ve forgiven past trespassers and I am at peace with who I am.
After questioning over and over, “How the hell am I going to be a mom to somebody?” I found a solid footing of who I am. I learned through supportive friends and acquaintances the things I can contribute to people, the qualities that make me “me,” the annoying shit I pull, the endless strings of hobbies I have. This work I could not have completed had it not been for shutting the door on judgmental, toxic people and resolving past hurts.
2015 started and I’m reflecting on how everything in my life has finally come full circle. Around this time of last year, I was in a psych hospital, in deep shit, hating myself and looking for a way to breathe and be freed from the prisons of hopelessness and depression. It took 12 years. 12 motherfriggin long years to finally be at peace, not cry once a day, laugh without feeling empty, to feel…normal.
All of it was so worth it to finally live. I wish I could tell you, Esther, to just hold on for a little longer. When hope runs out to have strength; and when you have no strength to have hope.
I mean, of course, my story is different from yours. But I know in your walk of life, there could’ve been a longer path, where you would have frolicked among flowers and sunlight.
I once heard that the strongest people get handed the biggest shit in their lives, and it’s true. You were a selfless, beautiful, empathetic light in this world who got dealt an undeserved bad hand. It’s unfair as hell. But even with the bad hand, you were a light to this world. You were nothing short of that. One day I’ll get to tell you that face to face…