Step 26: Depression Confession

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Driving home on Christmas Day and I start crying. That feeling of inadequacy creeps in and consumes my happiness. The depression slips under and snatches my soul. I sit in my car and tears start to flow. I don’t know why I’m crying. Life is good. I have friends here who have become family. I have gifts from people who I have come to love and have come to love me. I should not be crying.

I’m mad at myself for the tears. I punch the steering wheel and will myself into submission. I will not cry. I will not walk up into my apartment and I will not greet my dog with tears.

Part of me knows the causes and part of me feels so stupid for letting it get to me. How, after two years, can a post on the Internet that has nothing to do with me send me spiraling back down into this pit of depression and loneliness? It seems like every time I try I see something, hear something: a post, a picture, a saying, a journal entry, a song, a voice, a dream and I’m right back where I started.

I sit in my car, stalking Facebook, comparing. Smart and beautiful and successful these other girls are. My thoughts keep turning in circles imagining a person I never met with a person I probably don’t even know anymore. Their perfect facades plastered on Facebook. I’m so tired of the charade.

I stopped writing because I think my words don’t matter, that I am talentless and this is pointless. [A person] didn’t blink. Didn’t read it. Didn’t care. I feel stupid and desperate and the depression, the anxiety, starts whispering in my ear. “You aren’t good enough. You have no talent. You aren’t pretty enough, smart enough, successful enough. You will never be enough.” I realize this isn’t my voice. It’s not true. This is not my definition for my life.

I decide I will not let this bout of depression consume my life, like it has before. I wipe my tears, get out, and walk up into my apartment to greet my dog with a smile. I call my mom, text a friend, write it down, take the strategies I learned in therapy and use them.

And I realize, like so many times before, I will be okay.

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Day 16: A Family Member I Admire

Someone on your family that deserves recognition.

Everyone, meet my mama.

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My mother raised six kids on her own from as far back as I can remember. It couldn’t have been easy and as much as I admire her now, I would never want her life. She had to be mom and dad, and ruled her home with an iron fist. I thought she was unreasonable with expectations that were too high that I would never meet. I wanted to be like my friends whose parents didn’t care what they did on weekends, and would NEVER force them up at the crack of dawn every Sunday for church!

The year after I graduated high school, I decided I wanted to work in a local factory instead of college. “Like HECK you aren’t going to college!” I had no option. So off I went.

I hated it. Just like I hated field hockey, marching band, choir, the viola, track and field, and all those other pesky extracurricular activities up I did throughout middle and high school. Calling her in tears, “I want to come home! I hate it here!”

“Give it two weeks,” she said. “Give it two weeks, then we’ll talk.”

Two weeks came and went. We never talked. Just like all those times I came crying to her hating field hockey, marching band, choir, the viola, and track and field. “Give it two weeks,” she would say. “Give it two weeks, then we’ll talk.” We never talked because I’d ALWAYS end liking it, or at least tolerating it until the end of the season. I still follow the “two-week rule” rule today.

My mom still lives in Pennsylvania, but that doesn’t stop me from calling her whenever I need some honest, practical, down-to-earth advice on anything and everything.

This one is for my mom. Thank you for everything!

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Day 15: A Regret

“A fault, an act, a loss, or a disappointment.”

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I wrote this a month ago. I hesitated to post it then, I don’t want to post it now. But I was given these words for a reason.

Dear you,

I miss you. I woke up this morning in tears because you made a cameo in my dream and I hate that this still happens after so long.

I regret the things I did to ruin our friendship. I’m having a hard time forgiving myself and letting it go. I’ve tried for more than a year. I still get the urge to call you when I’m hurting but I deleted your number more than a year ago. I’m afraid to reach out via social media because I don’t think you want contact. I’d mail you a letter but I doubt you’d read it.

I have prayed about this since the day you canceled our last plan to meet up. For awhile I thought God was saying “wait” but now I’m terrified that he’s just saying “no”. I recently prayed “if we are meant to make this friendship work, you will push him to initiate contact.” It hasn’t happened. Time came and went and I heard nothing. I thought you were going to be okay with setting up a visit, but I guess I was wrong.

Why am I so intent in seeing you? I want to sit down face-to-face and apologize for messing this up. I want to tell you I forgive you for your part in it. I want to forgive myself and put it in the past and move on. I have come to terms with the idea that we won’t be the friends we were two years ago. That I won’t have those late night conversations when you’d flip the FaceTime so I could see your wacky customers. I will never again laugh at a random text in the middle of the day. I will never see your number flash across the screen. I need to realize that our friendship is over and that’s okay because I can make new friendships.

If only I knew then what I know now, I could have done things differently. Either we would still be friends, or this wouldn’t hurt this badly.

My prayer now is “God, please just help me get over this because our friendship is never going to be the same.” And one day I will.

When you pop into my mind I will say a quick prayer for your health and happiness and move on to another thought.

I will ALWAYS regret this but maybe in the future I will regret it a little less.

To your everlasting health and happiness.

Love, Me

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Day 14: An Addiction [Present]

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I think about sex a lot. I used to have sex a lot. “It can’t hurt me,” I thought. “I’m taking birth control. What could happen?”

I had many awkward situations because of sex. I have made stupid decisions because of sex. I have been sexually assaulted because of my laid back approach to sex. I have cried over boys many times because I have tried to force love with sex. I have ruined close friendships with sex. I have endangered my health and my future because of sex. I have encountered things and done things that I would never admit in public even if I’m being real because of sex.

I have personally experienced most of the negative repercussions with sex before marriage and sex before love.

I made a decision a few weeks ago. I’m taking it back. I’m not giving in anymore. I’m putting up physical and mental boundaries and I WILL stick to them. I WILL expect my future boyfriend to stick to them. I WILL refuse to compromise.

It’s easy saying this now because I’m single. I know I will struggle with this when I find someone who has chemistry with me. But this time, I’m going to God first, close friends second, and staying away from situations that make it hard to say no. If he cannot respect that, I WILL walk away and find someone who does.

I am kept awake at nights, my mind racing, tears flowing, wishing I could go back and erase parts of my past and just make it right, hating myself for the things I’ve done. I picture what my life could be if I knew then what I know now. If I could undo the mistakes.

I believe that my decisions in the past are directly related to the unanswered prayer I’m facing today. It is so incredibly hard for me to forgive myself.

Will I ever make it right?

I don’t know how to fix this.

But maybe I’m not meant to be the one to fix it. Maybe I’m the one meant to be fixed.

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Day 13: An Addiction [Past]

How did you get out of it?

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I rarely admit this to people who didn’t know back then. It takes years to build a good reputation and seconds to bring it down.

The funny thing about addictions. They lead to other addictions.

My past addiction directly led to my current addiction which directly led to my biggest regret.

My reasoning for starting at 15? It was for a guy. I was heart broken and thought smoking some weed would get him to notice me. He did it, I reasoned, so if I did it I would be back in his circle. He never spoke to me again.

Everyone says you don’t get high the first time you smoke but I stared at the moon like I never saw it before, and hesitated before walking across a street because it looked like water. I loved it. I walked [to an undisclosed location] with [an anonymous boy], fell asleep, and woke up the next morning no longer a virgin.

I smoked weed before I even tasted alcohol. My mom, a recovering alcoholic, hammered into our heads “Don’t even risk taking the first sip.” Did the prospect of her kids getting high ever cross her mind? We knew better. We watched someone kill himself because of drugs. We were raised better. We would never.

But I did. Over and over and over again for years.

Church wasn’t on my agenda anymore. I was either hung over or high. Sports? My district qualifying 800 time I achieved sophomore year… Not possible with your lungs full of smoke. The elite choir? I made it because I was grandfathered in, but forget the starring roles. There’s a reason serious singers don’t smoke. School? My friend and I would sneak to my boyfriend’s house, smoke a bowl, and make it right before the late bell. The rest of the day was a joke.

I started lying to my mom, my siblings, even my friends. My best friend was my neighbor. Before, I would spend hours at her house. Later, after one to many occurrences of my mom knocking asking why I wasn’t home yet, she gave up on covering for me. She didn’t associate with people who did drugs. I didn’t care. My new “friends” did it too.

I decided I wanted to join the military. I conveniently forgot to mention to my recruiter that I was a habitual drug user until he informed me I would need to pass a procedural drug test. I finally admitted it, terrified that I would fail it, and embarrass myself. On the spot, he sent me to the toilet with a cup. It was the first time I was ever drug tested and my hands shook so bad I peed all over them. He made me stand and watch while he tested it right in front of me.

I never made it to the military for a different reason but it was the wake up call I needed. I didn’t quit completely but I slowly merged from a daily user to an “every once in awhile” user.

I made the conscious decision to quit at 22. I had volunteered to be a designated driver and was disgusted watching the people acting like fools around me. For the first time I realized how uncool and foolish I looked when I was trashed. I no longer wanted to be the girl at the bar so high and drunk that she can’t stand up straight. I wanted control back in my life.

I started going back to church which led to a stint in therapy which led to a newfound relationship with God.

If not for the grace of God… I couldn’t tell you where my life would be now if I continued down that path. Harder drugs? Jail? Dead?

But I am strong, I am healthy, I am successful, I am happy. I refuse to exchange that for the old me. I will not stumble over something behind me. Instead I will learn from my mistakes, move along, and become a better person.

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