Kick Depression In The Butt

So, I’ve been seeing a counselor. That’s going well. I’m telling the Evil Depression Voices to shut their pie holes, because I’m awesome, and not nearly as worthless or incompetent as I try to tell myself that I am. Thanks to my counselor, of course. And my sister. I couldn’t do this crap on my own!

(Warning: several curse words will follow)

Tonight, my sister worked a double shift. And she texted me, because one of her coworkers was being a chauvinistic dick, it was a long, stressful day, and depression was giving her an emotional breakdown.

Me, I like to fix the problem. I’m not good at dealing with emotions. So, I tried just being a sounding board. Then I started slipping into my usual habit (telling her that she should come work with my department because it’s better management, etc). I apologized, but then she told me what she needed was a solution for tonight.

So, I did my absolute best, trying to give her the pep talks I give myself. Tonight, therefore, I’d like to give myself that same pep talk again.

Life is full of challenges, Mac. People can be assholes. If they don’t like the way you do things, tell them to suck it up. You are awesome. Sometimes you think you can’t handle it. Well, you can. No obstacle will ever be put in your path that you can’t demolish. You just gotta choose to do it.

You’ve already been through hell. What’s this? It’s nothing. Depression is being the drama queen. It’s making a mountain out of a molehill. Tell it to shut up. Because you’re tough. You’re strong. You’re awesome. You got this. Nobody can bring you down unless you choose to let them.

My pseudonym is Mac. I’ve stop fights in their tracks. I’ve climbed thirty-foot knotted ropes. I’ve run a zipline. I worked in a haunted house for five years, and never complained about any injuries I received. I rescued and continue to protect my cat, Moe. I’ve let go of the so-called love of my life more than once. I solve problems. I write and proofread. I am beautiful, smart, witty, and my cats adore me (as long as I feed them). I survived a narcissistic, hoarding mother. I survived an abusive sister. I survived bullying, self-harm, a batshit crazy aunt, and a friend’s suicide. I am strong. Depression and the day-to-day challenges of life ain’t got nothin’ on me!

Victim? Survivor? Nope. I’m a fighter, thank you very much.

Depression can shove it where the sun don’t shine.

Holiday Misery

It’s been a hard month. I can freely admit that. What made it worse? My two roommates being at their own homes for Christmas, and my parents coming and staying at my house. Christmas night, after a long day at work, I had to come home to deal with my parents getting in a fight, my mom yelling at our dogs for no reason, and all that. When I told her to chill out and not yell at the dogs (who weren’t doing anything, as usual), she said, “You weren’t on the receiving end, Mac. I was!” Here meaning the receiving end of my dad’s temper. Because she was being stupid, and he snapped at her.

But, because I just don’t care anymore, I replied, “Don’t even start that shit with me right now!”

So, I took the dogs into my room and changed clothes, all the while having to listen to my parents yelling. Flashback to many long nights in my childhood when those fights would scare the hell out of me. But I am not that little girl anymore. So I came out, and yelled louder.

But still, all this made for a very stressful, depression-triggering night. By the time we got to my sister’s house, where she had made dinner, I was ready to kill someone, and couldn’t help crying for no real reason. I’m fortunate to have such an awesome sister. She took me into her room, away from my parents, and let me talk it out, staying with me until I’d calmed down.

The next day, I couldn’t face going to work. My sister was working that night (she works at the same place in a different department), so my boss told her he was worried about me, and asked what was up. She told him about the family fiasco, to which he replied, “Well, tell her we’re her real family.”

Even as I write that, I’m tearing up a little. Those words mean so much to me. There are people out there who worry about me, and want the best for me. They have more right to claim familial ties to me than my mother ever did. And that was something I really needed to hear.

Of course, the month is still hard. I’m thinking a lot about Scott when I have nothing else to fill my mind. I can’t bear to even think about getting rid of anything that was his that he left at my house. Or anything he gave me, even if I never wanted it. Everything he gave me has become too sentimentally precious. The memories are sparse, but cherished. Almost sacred. And it hurts. A lot. I don’t want to remember the dead body I saw at his funeral. I want to remember the tall, gangly kid with the huge smile who joked about everything. But they’re too intertwined. It’s hard. Yes, I’ve been better since the funeral. But does a wound like that ever fully heal? And depression’s never going to make it easier.

But I’m getting better. Yes, sometimes it’s so hard I just want to give up. Sometimes I’m not sure I’m going to make it. But there are people who love me. If nothing else, I have to keep going for them. I am strong. I will protect them from knowing what this feels like.

That helps.

Manure Occureth

Nearly two weeks since my best friend, Scott, took his own life. I haven’t broken down since the funeral. I feel that’s an accomplishment. I guess the funeral gave me the closure I needed—final knowledge that this wasn’t some kind of sick joke. And now, life goes on. It’s too short to waste grieving.

Sad as it is, I’m sure this did happen for a reason. Now, I have some tangible, first-hand experience with the grief of losing someone close to me. The experience of having a friend so lost in life that he felt he had no other way out. I’ve been there. I know what it’s like. I just wish he could have found some help, like I did. But, too late. For Scott, the great test of life was turned in early, and the rest of us still have to struggle through all the joys and sorrows that come with it, constantly hoping we finish before our time is up.

And this is a test I intend to ace.

Scott’s death has grounded me, given me some more traction to make it through my own life, and maybe be better prepared to help others make it through theirs. This isn’t an experience I’d want anyone to go through, but at the same time—even while I’m grieving—I recognize that it’s enabled me to be a better person. Just like my sister’s abuse helped balance out my mother’s constant praise, keeping me from turning into a narcissist like her.

Whoever may be out there, going through hard times and wondering just what it’s all for, I hope you can take a step back and realize that even though it hurts—sometimes so much you can barely stand it—it’s helping you become better, in some way. You’re strong enough to make it through, and when you do, the sun will shine out all the clearer.

So, here I am, sitting in front of my computer, being oddly optimistic. Don’t worry. I already know I’m crazy. And cheesy. I get all my best lines off Hallmark cards, and I have a ridiculous flair for the dramatic. That’s okay, though. Life goes on.

To My Sister

Beloved big sister,

We’ve been through hell together. Childhood? What childhood? We were too busy trying to cope with an insane mother. Trying to figure out why everything was our fault. What we were doing wrong. Of course, I was the golden child. I saw Mom’s good side. She was a better mother to me.

You tried to mother me. Heck, I needed it sometimes. You didn’t understand that Mom was better toward me. So, that led you, a child, to unintentionally be an abusive sibling. You led me into depression. But you know what? Most golden children grow up to be narcissists, themselves. So I’m grateful that you were there to balance me out. In all honesty.

I’ve always looked up to you, no matter how much I tried to deny it. You were strong and sassy and smart and pretty, and I wanted to be just like you. How times have changed. I’m happy being me.

You hurt me. I won’t ever deny that. A lot of my depression issues come from innocent comments you don’t even remember making. That’s okay. You helped me develop a spine. I can take insults, spit them right back, and shrug them off. I stopped caring whether or not I’m Mom’s good child. I’m an adult. She can’t punish me anymore—not that she’d have the guts to do it anyway. I’m stronger than she is.

Sis, I love you. I’m so grateful to you, being there for me through my discoveries with depression and especially with this problem with Scott. I’m glad you’re letting me make you watch anime. I’m glad you’re taking me climbing, and offering to hang out with me. I can’t live with you anymore, of course, but I love having you around. You’re so caring and now, that you’ve grown up, you’re the kind of mom figure I wish I had. Definitely the closest thing to a surrogate mother I have.

Thank you for everything you’ve done. I forgive you.

With love,

Mac

On Suicide: For Scott

Today, my best friend, Scott, took his own life. The friend who gave me the name for this blog. The friend I’ve complained about in posts here, and in my life, talking about how needy he was. How emotional. How annoying.

He’s been there for me through my own self-harming, suicidal depression. We promised each other we’d tell the other one if we decided to go through with it. I was getting better. He wasn’t.

He texted me early this morning, when I was asleep. “I told you I’d tell you if I was going to kill myself, and I keep my promises.” That was at two. By the time I woke up, he was dead. I never had the chance to keep him alive. But if I’d only known, I would have done everything I could. As much as I complained about him, he was one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and I really didn’t deserve him. For some reason, though, he stuck around, right until the end.

So many people today have told me that there was nothing I could have done. But just one hour. One hour earlier, and I would have gotten that text in time. One kind word. Instead of berating him for imagined stupidities, I could have told him I cared about him. That he was like a brother to me. That I wanted him to be happy. One apology. I’ll never know all the small things I could have done that would have kept him alive.

Scott had his problems. He was drinking heavily. He had several mental illnesses, including depression. He felt his entire family hated him. So many friends walked out of his life because they found him annoying. This is the boy who started talking to me in Financial Literacy my senior year of high school. Who asked me to sit by him, and made me feel worthwhile. The boy who took me on a date. My first kiss. A friend you couldn’t get rid of. Always willing to rescue me when I locked my keys in my car, or my battery died, or I had a flat tire. He took me shooting, running, hiking. Once, we had a sword fight with his shoes. He listened to my boy and family problems, and did his best to make me laugh. I’ll never have another friend like him.

What could I have done? One hour. One word. If only.

But the stark reality is that he’s gone. He was unhappy here, and he’s found peace now. He’s free from all the awful things life was piling on him. It hurts so badly, but he’s in a better place.

Please, anyone out there who might ever consider suicide, think of the effect you’re going to have on your loved ones. The gaping wound you’ll be causing them. I don’t ever want anyone else to know what this feels like. This horrible pain. Wondering where I went wrong. What I could have done. I can’t even begin to imagine what whoever found him must be going through. His family.

Personally, I’m broken. I have no heart for lame jokes right now. All I can do is sit and cry, and try to get my thoughts out before my eyes get too blurry with tears.

Scott, you moron, I love you dearly. Rest in peace. Please be happy.

Sometimes You Just Don’t Think About It

Don’t mind me. My Prozac prescription ran out today (getting it refilled, so no worries. I’ll be Happy Mac again soon). That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I’m depressed. I do what I want!

It’s funny, I’ve been thinking recently. So many kids grow up without realizing how good they really have it. I remember one time in high school, I overheard one of those perfect, pretty, popular straight-A students complaining about how her parents had taken her phone away for a week. She was a good kid, she protested to her friend. Her parents were being so unfair.

Personally, sitting in my dark corner of the classroom, I wanted to tell her that she didn’t know the meaning of unfair.

But, at that time, I thought my parents were still normal. I was the crazy one, according to myself. Everything was wrong with me, personally, and most of the time, I shoved that off as regular teenage melodrama and only wrote about the good things in my journal. Never a word about The State, or hoarding, or having a VCR thrown at my head for quietly asking if I could use it. A total gloss-over of the summers of hell. Don’t worry, Mac. Be happy.

That’s what child abuse is really like. You never realize that it’s wrong. You just think the world is a horrible place, and all the nice things you see are just a facade. You love your abusers, because they’re not always the Big Bad Villain. This is your parent. Your sister. People you’re supposed to love. People who make flower crowns for you, and buy you big Get Well baskets when you’re sick. They listen to you when you cry because of your kitten who just died. They make banana milkshakes for you, and give you a spa treatment. They do your hair and makeup, and tell you they love you.

All of that kindness makes the other side so hard to comprehend. The yelling and fighting, scratching and screaming. Crashes and holes in the walls. The “you’re too sensitive.” Being blamed for everything that goes wrong.

That girl, Sarah, still annoys me. Just thinking about her. With her neat clothes and her neat hair and her perfect grades. Sure, she had her own problems, but it’s hard to remember that, looking at her from that angle. I just see a girl who doesn’t realize how good she has it.

Growing up with a narcissistic hoarder for a mother and a scapegoat, parentified child for an older sister is no picnic. All those things people take for granted, like a stove or hot showers, cell phones or an Internet connection. A clean house. Parents who didn’t yell or throw things at your head, and actually loved each other. Being able to play outside. Going to school. They were all distant dreams for me. As much a fantasy as being able to fly. That was what I spent time daydreaming about—having a normal life. Wishing—praying—that I was adopted, and that my real, functional family would come for me someday.

Well, it never happened, obviously. Someone else’s horror story is my reality. I come with my own Certified Tragic Backstory. And thus, my secret comes out. I am a Mary Sue.