Over the past few weeks since I’ve stopped food journaling and started writing about what I want, I’ve gotten a lot of very touching emails and comments.
One, in particular, kind of broke my heart. It was from someone I’ve known for a long time and it was about depression.
The thing is, I started this blog as a way to fight a long-term depression that I honestly thought I’d never escape.
Now, I’d like to share that story. It may mean nothing to most of you, but I think it will mean a lot to a few of you.
Bare with me, this may take awhile and I plan to do it in a series of posts. I plan to look through some old pictures and scan them in to supplement the story, but for now all I’ve got is words.
This is a sad story, but one with a happy ending and I truly believe that anyone struggling with depression can survive it.
I share this only because I want to help anyone out there who may be having a difficult time, this is absolutely not a cry for sympathy. Everything happens for a reason and I’m a better person because of each moment I will describe here.
I grew up in a very unhappy home.
From the outside, it was the model of middle-class perfection. I had two married parents, a nice house, a pool in the back yard, a cute dog and three cats.
The town in which my seemingly perfect house resided was microscopic: one stop light, one school, no Wal-Mart, no McDonald’s. I spent my entire K-12 years with the exact same people, give or take a few.
My Dad owns a prominent business within the town, which gave us a certain amount of notoriety, mostly unwanted.
The first day of one of my classes an asshole teacher asked me how much my Dad intended to pay him for my A.
Things like that happened all the time.
People were cruel to me because they thought my family was perfect.
If they only could have known the truth, maybe that would have been different.
My reality was about as far from glamorous as you can get. Yes, my house was filled with nice things, but along side them there was a lot of pain.
I found out a very young age that my mom and dad had married out of convenience and not for love. They were never a happy couple, and the lack of love between them created a gaping void within the household.
As a result, my mom struggled and my dad was not present. Even when he was there, he wasn’t someone I knew.
I spent my days avoiding the traumatic events that were sure to happen. Fights between my mother and I, fights between my father and mother or just deep and agonizing silences that were far worse that the first two options.
Most nights I was up until two or three in the morning engaged in screaming matches with my mom, until I had cried so hard I couldn’t function anymore.
The fights were about nothing… and everything. She was not happy, and she needed someone on which to project her sadness and anger.
I felt like every move I could possibly make would only lead to more fighting. It was very difficult.
In the morning, she would sober up and apologize and I’d try to tell myself that everything was okay – that I was just a normal kid. I loved her more than anything and always instantly forgave her, no matter what had been said the night before.
Holidays were the worst. Both of my mother’s parents were deceased and the overwhelming sadness she must have felt with each Christmas she had to celebrate without them descended upon the house like a dark cloud.
The fighting escalated, my dad came home less and less to avoid the toxic nature of our house.
I’d go to school each day and never tell a soul about what my life really looked like inside the pretty house. Not even my closest friends or my youth minister, who provided me with endless guidance. Telling just wasn’t an option.
After all, it’s not like anyone was hitting me. Both of my parents were alive, and even though they hated each other they were still married. There was always food on the table and I was always warm.
What did I have to complain about?
So I kept quiet as the once vibrant, outgoing and happy girl I used to be slowly died away and was replaced with an empty shell. I never would have classified it as depression, but I know now that those years are where it all began.
I only wish I could have recognized it sooner… because it was about to get a lot worse.