I had a
difficult last year. Someone I cared about took his life, and I would be lying
if I said I handled it well. I tried. I tried really hard. But the truth is
that I was overcome with guilt and confusion and heartbreak that I can’t even
other things that followed. A series of unfortunate events, you could say, that
left me feeling alone and abandoned and completely unworthy of love. I have
people who care about me a great deal, but old demons were brought to the
surface and I found myself questioning even those relationships. I found myself
questioning everything and everyone, sure that no one in my life was truly here
It got dark.
And hard. And at some point I had to admit I’d fallen into a fairly depressive
No, that’s not
strong enough. I wasn’t in a “depressive state," I was depressed.
There were nights I could not stop crying. I would get my
daughter to bed and then just fall apart. This voice was running on a loop in
my head, telling me that I deserved every bad thing that had ever happened to
me. Reminding me that everyone I had ever cared about had thrown me away. That
I wasn’t worth anyone’s time. That I was too needy, and too complicated, and
too weird, and too fat, and too broken to ever be the person I wanted to be—to
ever be someone anyone would ever want to stand by.
More than one
night, as I sat there crying and hurting and feeling so alone, I thought to
myself that it would be easier to just be dead. I can honestly admit now that
the only thing that pulled me back from those thoughts was my daughter. If it
weren’t for her, serving as my anchor without even realizing it, I’m not sure I
would have made it through what I now recognize as being one of the darker
periods of my life.
I’m coming out
on the other side of it now, able to breathe again and to see more clearly just
how dark I got. And it scares me. I’m a mom. I don’t want to be capable of
falling that far. And as someone who has never really considered herself a
depressed person, I don’t like that I was.
I don’t have the luxury of falling apart. My daughter needs me to be whole.
history there. I absolutely struggled with self-harm, depression and anxiety
growing up. I was bulimic for a decade, a cutter for years, and I attempted
suicide when I was 19. As an adult, I worked really hard to pull myself past
that history. I’ve always identified those dark years as being the result of
how I grew up, not how I was wired. Even now, I desperately want to distance
myself from the label of depression. I want that to be what happened to me, not
who I am.
I now know I was wrong.
I’m working on
acknowledging what that means moving forward. I’m
in therapy, and have been for the better part of the last year, so I’m not
digging through this on my own. I have help, and I have acknowledged just how
far I fell. Now it’s just a matter of figuring out what that all means.
As a mom, it
terrifies me. And makes me feel incredibly guilty. Especially as a single mom.
I don’t have the luxury of falling apart. My daughter needs me to be whole. I
hate that I spent a good chunk of the last year not being my best self.
I kept reminding myself how lucky I am. I have a career I
love, a little girl I adore, and friends who have become the family I always
dreamed of having growing up.
How could a
person have all that and still feel as broken as I did?
The guilt and
shame surrounding what I was feeling was almost worse than the depression
Which is why
I’m realizing for me, I need to remove some of the stigma. Because it kept me
from getting help as soon as I should have. It kept me from admitting to those
I love just how far I had fallen. And it kept me feeling alone in the dark
longer than I needed to be.
Because I was
so afraid that if I talked about it, I might be brushed aside. I might be
labeled crazy. Or weak. Or worse… unfit to be a mother at all.
It’s only now,
on the other side of depression, that I can see how harmful that thinking was.
That I can see how that fear of owning up to where I was actually made
everything so much harder than it needed to be.
So here I am,
admitting that the last year was not my best.
At least now I know
better. I know that I’m capable of falling. And I also know that even if I do fall once more, I am capable of coming out
on the other side.