Over the years I have used many “self-help” books to “cure” me from my mood disorders. I have stated before that I was in denial for quite some time that my problem was deeper than I truly let on. I am going to give you a little more in depth timeline of how my mental health changed over time.
As a preteen/teenager I was the type of kid who had a few friends… more acquaintances than anything else. I was average looking… meek… yet I could be the class clown at the flip of a switch. I wore mostly dark clothes though I wouldn’t say that I was “gothic” or “emo”, as they call it these days. Black was simply my favorite color and I never realized that it was a reflection of my inner thoughts until I was approached by one of my Jr. High School teachers named Mrs. King. A woman I will never forget. She pulled me aside one day and asked me if I was OK because she was concerned about me. I was wearing more black clothing than previously and I seemed sullen to her. She was the only person in my entire life that looked at me and truly could “see” me. Of course, I broke down and cried to her about my troubles at home, and she shared with me that she was married to an alcoholic and had been for more than 30yrs. She told me that she understood and that I was not alone…and she let me know I could speak to her at any time…even offering her telephone number to me. She could see in me what others couldn’t or would not acknowledge. At that time in my life, my Mom and Step-Dad drank a-lot and it was normal for intense arguments and screaming to take place on a whim. Classic rock music would be playing, often too loud for my sister and I to fall asleep but we would often pretend to be sleeping so we were not included in the arguments that always took place. They were not happy drunks to say the least. When on a happy buzz, everything was fun and great…but as the day and night wore on, the buzz became evil and toxic. And more often than not, we would be brought into the middle of the insanity where words were like daggers and apologies would often come the next day when sobriety, embarrassment, and shame came together…where eye contact didn’t take place because if you looked into my eyes or my sisters eyes, the intense pain, anger, and resentment was too much for the parental figures to bare.
Depression came to me when I realized that I was a separate entity from my parents. When I realized that my childhood was not what it should have been. When I realized that people had no right to invade my personal space, yet did (sexual abuse). When I realized that I was a teenager that had to take care of weekend alcoholic parents. When I realized that the turbulent lifestyle I was surrounded in was not healthy. When I was aware that my real Dad had no right to physically harm my Mom and our pets. When I realized that the drugs/alcohol/rock & roll childhood I lived was not normal. I could go on and on. Lets just sum it up and say my childhood was not pretty.
***Side note–-I must say though…and feel it truly in my heart… that my Mom did the absolute best she could with the skills she had at that time. She was a young Mom and gave birth to me just days after her 17th birthday. Happily, she is no longer the same person I described above. I learned so much in therapy these last 3 years, but I learned the most within the last 15 months. During DBT (Dialectical behavior therapy). I had an amazing therapist named Anne. She absolutely rocked… she was honest, to the point, and didn’t sugar coat anything. From this therapy, I learned to stop pointing fingers at the past and also learned that the majority of us don’t wake up and say, “I am going to make the worst mistake of my life today.” Decisions are made in the moment, some good…some bad… some the lesser of 2 evils, but most are made with good intentions. I also learned a great deal about self-medicating which at one point became a problem for myself and one I battle with always. I will get into that a bit more later.—***
As I grew older, into my teens, my depressive, suicidal ideation poetry was traded for writing songs. At this time in my life, I was dating the man I later married… so my “sad” poetry turned into love songs and true to life little stories…some upbeat but always a touch of the “blues”. My puppy/1st love distracted me from most of the melancholy… not all, but most. Depression already had its fangs in me and would not release me anytime soon. It was always in the background lingering…just waiting for the opportune moment to hit me like a Mac Truck. And that it did….