Going way back to when I was just a little girl, I can say that I was always aware there was something different about me. Laying in my bed at night, I used to wonder if there was anyone else in the world who thought like me, if anyone at all had the same inner-process as me, because I already realized that no one in my house had thoughts or feelings like mine. Everything was experienced with the most extreme sense of emotion, there was always offense taken to the most innocent of comments because everything was taken personally, always taking other people’s words to heart. Actions NEVER spoke louder than words to me, words from others were weapons used against me. I also grew attachments to things & people much stronger than those around me. And letting go of anything or anyone was near impossible, because every changing tide scared me & lost relationship felt like abandonment.
I truly believed in my misguided head, that my mom abandoned me when she divorced my dad because I had failed her as a daughter, she couldn’t possibly live with someone like me. I believed that my dad had found love in my stepmom (& became my ‘parents’ henceforth without my mom in the picture), because I failed him too somehow & he needed to start all over again to get it right this time without creating a damaged child. I believed that I was not worthy of being loved by my own family because they knew I was different, which was a mistake on their part to even make me. I believed that every action taken by anyone in my household was a direct result of me & that I should suffer for my wrongs. I also craved negative-attention in order to fulfill the constantly growing hole I felt inside because I didn’t think I deserved anything positive in my life. I got lost inside of the world of books in order to escape the darkness inside of me fighting for control & the darkness of my home life & all the issues my parents had that I blamed on myself.
After experiencing two friends passing away unexpectedly my first year of middle school, I began obsessing over all things death. Edgar Allen Poe & Sylvia Plath were discovered & fueled the fire burning alive inside the hole in my soul. Then I learned about suicide & my brain was like- Game on, Bitch. Thoughts of ending the pain & misery I felt in every last breath I took became more entertaining to me than the latest issue of Tiger Beat or the newest hit single by Janet Jackson or Ace of Base. My taste for music left behind those of my peers, following the blackened path of my heart into the likes of Bush, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, & Collective Soul. Though writing was an escape for me, it never prevented the hysterical crying spells, where I’d just lay in my bed with music blaring in the background, sobbing for hours, until my eyes felt like they were gonna explode out of my head & I couldn’t sniffle another milligram of snot into my clogged up nasal cavity. No one seemed to notice much of what would eventually be diagnosed as depression, the adults around me were way too wrapped up in their own addictions, pleasure, & vanity to see what was going on inside me. I was a perfect student & created a mask semi-normalcy when I was outside the protective walls of my sacred bedroom. The few times I dared to try & show my parents the silent demons inside of me, I was punished for being a melodramatic fool & ruining their love-buzz.
In high school, my depression shifted towards a constant state of borderline mania. I was innocently promiscuous with those who only had to say “I Love You” with vehement, no matter the actual sincerity of those spoken words. After all, that’s how many stepmom won over my dad as they so blatantly displayed, so naturally, I believed that must be all there was to getting the real love I was needing to feel. (Lol, I wish I could have a good talkin’ to with myself back then, maybe even a good smack across the face.) I was always walking the fine line between good and bad seed back then, looking for the attention of others through their reactions to my unlikely behavior. Since I was never readily accepted into anyone’s clique, even though I was never actually rejected either, I became bitter over not belonging anywhere & I started giving my classmates things to talk about behind closed doors, while still maintaining my good student persona in public view. I smoked cigarettes by ninth grade then started smoking pot junior year, I started to self-harm in noticeable areas, shocked people with the dark subjects I chose to write about for assignments in school, & hanging out around the outcasts from other nearby schools. It was all an outward cry for someone to notice & help me understand what was going on inside me that made me hurt so bad. No one ever really did, they never took me seriously. I even went as far as taking a 24 count prescription for Darvocet, hoping something drastic would happen to get me help without having to openly admit my failings as a human & ask for fixing. The only thing that happened was that I puked for six straight hours & when telling my parents why, having them laugh in my face, calling me stupid, & say I better take my ass to school or they’d whip my ass, take my car, my bedroom phone line, & my beloved stereo away. So I carried on with my secrets tucked safely within, trying to continue the facade of normalcy the best I could.
Once I turned eighteen, I realized quickly that even though I was a dependant on my father’s insurance, I was able to make my own medical decisions, appointments, & prescriptions without adult supervision or notification. I sought out mental health treatment to help me with what I had already knew was wrong but had no names for. I honestly expected a horrible diagnosis of some obscure type of schizophrenia with no possible treatment success or something of the sort, where’d they’d want to lock me away & lose the key. To my surprise, they said it was Depression, something I thought would be a simple fix by popping a daily pill & I’d feel like sunshine & roses, as pharmaceutical commercials lead us to believe. At that time also, I innocently thought depression to be something old people got because they couldn’t live as freely as before, never imagining that even a young child could be afflicted. So I began playing the pharmaceutical equivalent of musical chairs, waiting for that perfect fix & not taking my therapy sessions very seriously, blowing a lot of them off. After all, the therapist had said it wasn’t actually I, but my family that were the true crazies.
Throughout my early adulthood, I bounced around between highs & lows unlike anything I had ever experienced before, because none of the meds worked as promised. They sent me tail-spinning into a bipolar state of depression instead of balancing out. I would make rash, life-altering, & self-destructing decisions in states of mania following the chaos with low periods losing myself in the deep dark pits of my soul until I began contemplating suicide regularly & even made a few half-hearted attempts, slicing my wrists so deep they had to be stitched after realizing I didn’t really want to die. The birth of each of my sons came in the midst of this pharmaceutical warfare nightmare I was struggling through. It was during the breakup from their biological sperm donor ,when my babies were only four & sixteen months old, that I ended up checking myself into the psych ward. It was here that I met a psychiatrist who began to truly educate me, encourage me, & inspire me embrace who I am despite my disorder, because I am as God designed me to be. That doctor showed me in ways I didn’t even yet comprehend at the time, that my disease does not make me anything more than I let it make me. I can own it or let it own me.
It wasn’t long after this chance encounter with the awesome doc that I met the man who would completely change my life around & help the doc’s wisdom ring true, my husband Ryan. He has been the most loyal, forgiving, unconditionally supportive person in my entire life & I cherish him beyond the scope of words. Even when my depression reared its ugly head, sending me down into another self-destructing spiral with the demons of addiction that attacked both of us simultaneously, he pulled himself out of the whirlwind, dusted himself off, dug his heels into solid ground, & heaved me out. He stands by my side, holding my hand through this incredible journey called life, that I was once too afraid of to face at all. He gave me two more beautiful, wonderful, absolutely perfect children to dote over & keep me grounded, because I cannot, will not, fail myself ever again, for their sake. I will not be the neglectful, self-centered, sociopathic parents that I had. Just as they are the unique design of their maker, I am too, & that design will live on with all her strength & might till He calls her back.
Depression is just another word in my vocabulary now, I do not give it any more power than a description for feelings that I must stay in control of. I’ve come to understand that depression is just disguised as a demon because society refuses to except what is not perfection, but for me, it is my saving grace. Without it, I wouldn’t have the compassion for others, sympathy over suffering, the passion to love fiercely as I do today. It’s a blessing within what society labels a curse, the perfect design made so I can be just who God intended me to be- The Angrivated Mom of four amazing children & loving wife to my husband. I am NOT depression, depression is NOT me, it is just another definition in my endless vocabulary of words, meaning nothing more than “the perfect design.”
Dying softly in the night
Fading slowly out of sight
No one sees and no one cares
They all turn around, stop to stare
Take the knife and raise it high
Do not let them tell their lies
Stab it down into your heart
Feel no pain as you rip it out
Hurt and pain will be felt no more
The death of you was all in store
Slit your wrists and watch them bleed
Laugh aloud as with you they plead
Dizziness swallows then takes you away
Be happy that you don’t have to stay
Thank those who created the unhappiness
Now you can feel happy, full of bliss
Rip your body apart, shred into tatters
It’s not like to any of you it matters
Take your bow now, the show is through
Let them now say good-bye, so long, to you.
~Kristina Hammer (Sopfe), July 1999