Confessions of Depression II

The last “confession” was sort of an introduction to what my blog is mainly about-dealing with depression and anxiety. However, what I hope to gain out of this myself and for readers is the realization that I can do more than just deal and survive with depression and anxiety but that I can succeed from it as well. However, this confession is going to be my own personal story. This is the story of how I came to be who I am. For the most part, this story is going to be only my struggles and won’t include the many blessings that accompany these struggles. However, I want you all to understand where I come from, who I am, and that maybe I am a little more like you than you first thought. 

I grew up in a small town with only 3300 people currently living in it. It’s grown significantly over the years. I hardly remember what the town looked like before when it was mostly cornfields. We even have our own Wal-Mart now. With small towns, there typically comes along with it big and close families which I do have. I have both of my parents, two older brothers, and a sister-in-law who has been around for as long as I can remember (my brother and her were high school sweethearts). It really is a charming life here and I couldn’t ask for more. 

Unfortunately, when I was younger, about eight years old, I was sexually abused. I didn’t exactly realize what was going on at the time because it was only little things that I couldn’t possibly understand were going to haunt me the rest of my life. However, the acts seemed so innocent and the person who hurt me was so kind, that it went on for quite some time before I realized that this man was not a nice man at all. From that point on, I refused to think about. I didn’t address it for years and even managed to forget about it. Repression, they called it. I didn’t even think that was a real thing until my sophomore year of high school. That was when the nightmares began. Then the flashbacks. And then the pain. 

Also at the same time period of growing up, I was going through small acts of bullying. With a stutter and my inability to pronounce the “r” sound, my classmates were unforgiving. Having an “r” in my own name, caused for them to chant my name incorrectly as I entered the cafeteria with the embarrassment of having the teachers quiet them down with me standing there in tears. At sleepovers with girls who I thought were my friends, they tore me down and told me how I shouldn’t wear tight clothes because I was too fat to wear them. Even in middle school, the lunch table I sat at decided that “blistering” me would be a good way to teach me how to stand up for myself. This called for them to make fun of me every day until I learned to fight back. I didn’t fight back for months. 

As all of this continued, there was nothing I could control. I had to go to school. I couldn’t talk to anyone about it in fear that they couldn’t be trusted. People who I thought were my friends were the exact opposite. I promised myself that I would never be the little girl that those people could criticize anymore. I was going to be perfect in every way I could be. 

Because of the nightmares and the pain of remembering the abuse, I didn’t sleep much during high school. Instead, I dedicated that time to studying. I was determined to get my grades and test scores high enough so that I could get out of that small town and get a full ride far, far away. I fixed my stutter by practicing my speeches in the mirror. Other than that, I just stopped talking altogether. I became a listener. I knew everything there was to know about anyone. The only thing that I couldn’t control was my diet. 

When I came home from school, I would sneak food into my room. I was too embarrassed for anyone to see me eat at school so I gorged on snacks when no one was home. Then, looking in the mirror and realizing what I had done, I would sprint for as long as i could on the treadmill then throw up from the exertion. I had become what is known as a bulimic. I couldn’t have been happier. I was losing weight and I was finally in control of my life. No one was hurting me. Until I realized that I was hurting me. 

July of 2010, I became very ill. I couldn’t hold down any food. I was in constant pain in my esophagus, my stomach, and my intestines. It felt like my body was on fire. I had horrible headaches and the chills. My emotions were absolutely everywhere. Many days, I would cry on the kitchen floor in absolute despair. I would spend days in my room asleep as I couldn’t go to school but the doctors had no answers for me. All they knew was that my esophagus and stomach lining was damaged but they didn’t know why. No one knew that it was because of the constant throwing up I was doing because they didn’t know I was doing it. 

In January of 2012, my gallbladder began to fail and I had it removed. I had also developed a hole in my diaphragm and my stomach now pushes through it. I am at high risk for esophageal and stomach cancer-I am blessed that I do not have it already. In October of 2012, I met someone who understood my pain and saw the signs of what I was doing to myself. That person probably saved my life as she got me the help that I needed. I thank God for her every single day. 

However, that desire to be perfect and the despair of not being able to obtain it was still there. I was still getting sick on a weekly basis. I still felt helpless, lost, and alone. I had few friends, I was miles away from home, and I spent most nights in my dorm room alone. The number of mascara stains on my pillows were countless but only on one side so I could hide them. I refused to let anyone know how I weak I was. I refused to give anyone any power over me to hurt me again. On the outside, I was a happy but shy girl who just liked her books. On the inside, I was falling apart more and more. 

I returned home in May of 2013 with transfer forms in hand. I was too sick and too tired to continue school so far away from the doctors. I had to have constant appointments to make sure I hadn’t developed ulcers or worse. I still would have periods of not being able to hold down food and was growing weak and tired. There was no hope. 

In July of 2013, I got in my car and drove. I drove to the edge of town. I drove out of town. I drove out of the state. I drove and drove until I couldn’t think anymore. And then I came to a bridge. I began to think about how I could end it all right then and there; I could end the pain, the sadness, the disrespect I had for myself, the shame I caused my family, and I could just stop thinking. My car headed towards the side rails and when I scraped the sides of them, I swerved right back on to the road, pulled over, and sobbed. I didn’t want to die- I wanted the pain to end. I wanted to have a future of happiness. Death is taking away that possibility, not giving it to me. 

I went home that night and went to bed in tears. The next morning, I was still sick and I was still tired. However, the next time I went to the doctor, I demanded answers and if she couldn’t give them to me, I asked to be referred to someone else. I knew I had caused this pain myself, but I refused to live with it any longer. So we searched. 

In December of 2013, I heard of an article about a woman who had hormone problems which caused a variety of problems for her health. In January of 2013, we had my hormones tested and we became very aware that I was depressed and anxious. My cortisol levels were higher than I could have imagined. I began to take medication but I also began writing. I began meditation and healthy exercise routines. I even made friends with people who are similar to me at the university which I returned to. I did not drop out or transfer. I finished my second year there a couple weeks ago. 

And most days, I get to end them with my mom asking me how my day was. More importantly, I get to answer them with “good.” This time, I could answer that question honestly. I have good days now. Of course, I have bad days every now and then but I have my support group to get me through them. I have my family, my friends, my teachers, my church, my counselors, and whether you believe in Him or not, my God. Before, I thought pain came from having people in your life. Now, I realize that pain comes from having no one. There are times when people believe they have no one, but if you look hard enough, someone is around to listen. Even if it is readers on WordPress who have nothing better to do on a Thursday night but listen to me rant about life. (You people are awesome by the way). You’re never alone, I promise. 

The last post was about talking to someone if you need help. This post, I included something very important to me. “I wanted to have a future of happiness. Death is taking away that possibility, not giving it to me.” Death is not an escape from a bad past. There’s nothing you can do to change the past. However, death does take away from the possibility of a better future. That better future is what I lived for and I hope that if you are debating this topic, you live for it, too. I found my happiness and I believe everyone else in this world can too. Whatever you believe in, you were put on this Earth for a reason. I still don’t know my reason but I know I have a purpose at some point in this life. You do too, because you are important. 

I’m going to end my story there for now. Every day, it becomes easier and easier to share. I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about me and thank you for letting me share it with you. Thank you for reading. 

Keep to your roots,

Southern Charm

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