So here I was at 16 years old and told I have depression. When you are so young it is a hard thing to swallow. I felt embarrassed to have a mental illness. Sadly stereotypes and stigmas about mental illnesses left me feeling alone and unable to relate to anybody. It probably made my depression worse.
Anyway, I was put on Prozac and went to therapy once every couple of weeks. After a few months, I had to admit that I was feeling a little better. I stopped crying so much and my emotions seemed to be less erratic. Then after a few more months, I realized that I was essentially emotionless. I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t sad. I was just ambivalent. I realized I hadn’t cried in a long time. Actually, I couldn’t cry. I tried, I couldn’t. At some point, I quit going to therapy. To be honest, I don’t remember why. After about a year, I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to feel. I wanted to cry. So I quit taking the Prozac. The result? I was okay. I was no longer in the desperate sad state of mind. Best of all, high school was coming to an end. For the first time in a long time, I had something to look forward to…college.
For me, college meant a new start. I could leave my teenage life behind and start anew. I still hated my body and I still had self-confidence issues but it didn’t matter at that moment. As it turned out, I had the time of my life in college. I met great people. I was exposed to new experiences. I saw a bigger world out there. I got to explore different options and figure out what was best for me. And the parties….oh the parties. No matter what, there was always a good party to take away all your worries in the world. Did I have my moments of sadness? Yes. Did I still struggle with my weight? Yes. Did I feel alone? Yes. Did I struggle with school? Yes. Did I struggle with my future? Yes. But for the first time in my life, I felt like I had control of my own life. That alone, kept my head out of that dark place.
So now I was armed with a business degree. I landed a job about a month before graduation in a crappy economy. I bought myself a car. I rented a nice apartment in the suburbs. I lined up everything I was suppose to do as a 20-something graduate. Yet, I found my depression waiting in the wings ready to crash the party.
A funny thing happens when you take a moment to reflect on all the things you have accomplished. In my case, I felt empty. You see, I was given a set of expectations, intentional or not. I had to go to school, get good grades, stay out of trouble. If I didn’t follow the rules, I was in for punishment. I was told that I had to go to college and get a degree. It was assumed I would get married, have kids, and have a house in a good neighborhood. I was suppose to have it better than my parents. As a young kid, I was good. I never got into trouble at school, stayed away from drugs and alcohol (college doesn’t count!), and got decent grades. I always followed the rules. Yet, here I was at 22 years old feeling empty. Maybe it was the shock of entering the real world. Maybe following the rules turned out to be a let down. Either way, the fun was over.
A year or so after graduation, I started dating a guy I fell head or heals for. I was elated. Then he broke my heart. It gave me plenty of time to loath on myself and allow the feelings of emptiness to come to the for front. It seemed I was failing at meet my remaining expectations….marriage and children. I turned my focus towards work and landed a new job. Maybe that would make me happy!
My new job gave me something new a different to focus on. I was feeling better. I went back to school for some more education. After about a year, I got a promotion. Things were going pretty decent. It wasn’t great but that was okay. I could get through each day without the self-loathing.
Then everything changed. My grandmother was sick. She was my most favorite person in the world. She was the only person that I felt never judged me and loved me no matter what. She may have had judgements but she never let me see it. I never had to face the reality of the death of someone so close to me. I didn’t understand it. It seemed like she just lost the will to live; like she didn’t have anything more to look forward to in life. Ofcourse my delusional mind blamed me. I thought she lost her will to live because her oldest granddaughter failed to succeed at all of her expectations. I failed to get married and move forward with the next steps of my life. I gave her nothing to look forward to in life. I was a failure. And so when she passed away in September 2007, so began my downward spiral…