This post is about depression. I am considering it decreasing my emotional baggage mass, so it fits the theme. Plus 95% of my food issues are directly related to my feelings. It all goes together -- a life-size jigsaw puzzle of shame, fear, loathing, and embarrassment. Even as I sit here, fingers on the keyboard, it is difficult to bring myself to type.
But if the Bloggess can do it, I owe her the same show of bravery, strength, and honesty.
The first time I really thought about killing myself was junior high. I'm still not clear on the details of those two years. There are vague, fuzzy bits and pieces that come back to me now and then, but in general, I was miserable. I had about three friends, two of whom were just as unpopular as myself. I was called a slut, a bitch, a whore and probably a host of other things by people I didn't even know. My own mother grounded me for being fat (she meant my eating habits were crap). I hit puberty between 8 and 9, so I was in the full bloom of a sexuality I didn't understand by seventh grade. And I was smart -- genius-level smart.
Okay. I suppose I am still genius-level smart. And someday, I may even believe that again.
Anyway, there I was, basically feeling alone, completely depressed, and wanting to die. The most clear memories I have are two, and they are still a bit hazy. It is almost as if they are dreams I had that I can sense in the corners of my vision, but if I try to hard to remember the whole thing, they slip away completely. I will try to write them out nonetheless.
I think it was eighth grade. I was heavily into the little theatre program we had set up after school. I remember we did melodramas one year. (And a big musical called "Coming of Age" one spring in which I played the unpopular girl "On the Outside, Looking In". Yes, that was seriously the name of the solo I had. No, it was not really a stretch of acting for me.) We had finished a set of shows on the English/Drama classroom stage and were just hanging out after talking. I am unclear what happened after that. I was probably feeling terribly left out and unwanted, and I ended up standing down by the track. It was set down the hill a ways -- you probably had to go down 25 steps to get to it. There I was at the fence, wondering if I could throw myself down the hill hard enough to break my neck and die.
I didn't try it. But it scared me a little bit to realize how much I wanted it to work.
There's another memory of being at a skating rink with friends, but now that I think about it, that might have even been sixth grade. Again, feeling left out and unwanted, sitting under a table in the concession area (I hid under tables and desks a lot in those days). I was scratching at my wrist with my very long fingernails, trying to rip my flesh off. These days, that's called self-mutilation, I guess. Then, it was just a cry for help. One that a friend did hear, and she spent the afternoon talking me down. Of course, it was never the same between us after that, so I suspect it chased her off as well.
After all, who wants to deal with the obviously crazy chick?
There were a few more half-hearted attempts in high school -- razor blades mostly. Again, I think they would just call it cutting now, but we didn't have that term 25 years ago. Once, during sophomore year, I was distraught about a boy breaking up with me. (Stupid now, but my self-esteem was shit even then, and having a boy like you was like eating a dozen donuts -- a temporary high followed by a horrid crash with lasting physical/emotional damage.) I called him and told him I had cut myself. He hung up and made his parents call me back and they made me get my parents and my mother wigged out and yelled at me (out of fear, I know).
The only rational person was, of course, my father. He held me in his arms and told me how my siblings each went through these feelings, too. And that it would be all right. I have never forgotten that moment and how much it meant to me. I still hang on to it when the thoughts in my head spin way out of control. And that was the last time I ever cut myself.
The problem is that the cutting did not stop because the depression and loneliness went away. Those guys still hang out with me all the damn time. I end up paranoid and terrified, waiting for everyone to realize what a fraud I am. After all, my grade school best friend turned on me in junior high. My junior high best friend turned on me in high school. The best friends I had at the beginning of senior year? Most of them were stabbing me in the back by the time my graduation came around. When I moved from Denver to Los Angeles, a whole set of my friends said horrible things about me to other friends. And I suspect that I keep waiting for it to happen with my current friends. On my worst days, I believe that it is already going on -- the whispering, the nasty comments, the hatefulness and hurtfulness.
It is not that I think my friends are bad people. On good days, I know this fact. They are wonderful, smart, funny, caring friends. But on the bad days, it is almost as if I feel them whispering behind my back. Even if they aren't. And honestly, I'm not sure it's the depression that makes me thinks these things or if it is the things that have happened in the past that colour my world so harshly. Either way, they gang up on me and put me into a tailspin.
I wish that I had some pithy ending for this post -- some bumper sticker psychology to sum it all up and tie a (silver) ribbon on it, but I don't. I just feel raw and open. Part of me wants to save this post and never publish it, but I know that is the embarrassment and shame talking. So here goes. I'm going to get some sleep.