Her words are like blows to my psyche and soul. She tells me how I’m not enough. Skinny, smart, pretty—that I don’t do enough. I am a fraud—a liar when it comes to the symptoms of my illnesses—that the loving closeness I don’t have is because I don’t deserve it.
She’s mean. To me anyway.
To others, she is kind. Most of the time. When she doesn’t want to be kind, she stays silent. Kindness wins, right?
To me, she is a bully. She seems to have the best timing when she is ready to throw her jabs. She finds me at my lowest lows and leaves me bruised and broken–if only in spirit. I am a battered woman with no way out. There is no safety net from her. Running is appealing, but I know she will find me. She always does.
It doesn’t take much for me to hide myself away. I don’t want anyone to know what she does to me. What will they say? I find myself taking a little longer to get up in the morning. I slap my alarm into obedience because I don’t want to face her again. I’m not ready. I’m never ready.
But there is not enough time between ‘I don’t want to’ and ‘I have to’. I slink from the bed day after day, dread curling in my gut. She’ll be waiting for me soon—to remind me of all the things I’m failing at. How no matter what I try, this dark pool she’s shoved me into is where I belong.
I shove myself into my clothes for the day and she’s there to tell me I could be skinnier. I get my kid ready and she reminds me of the way better moms do it, how my efforts are lacking. I hear her cackling around me even when I can’t see her.
Still, I smile, because no one can know. She is my dirtiest secret. No one needs to know the hurt she carves into me; no one needs to see my damaged mind and battered heart.
When the day is over and I’m showering away the filth of my failures, she finds me. She stands there mocking me from brown eyes I hate to notice—eyes that once showed me kindness, that cultivated love and growth.
Now she slices crudely at me, tears at me like a savage.
“You aren’t worthy.”
She screams at me in my reflection, her accusations louder than the whispers of a self-worth mantra I struggle to recite. I need to remember the kindness she once had for me, but she’s so damn mean.
Mean to me…
I’m so mean to me.
This is my depression story. My story isn’t unique, but it is mine.
I’ve struggled with depression most of my life. The dialogue isn’t new, but until recently her tactics were more brutal. In the past she sought to steal my life from me. I’d eye the butcher knives like a seductive lover—a song being sung just for me. Her violence made me very aware I’d never have a firearm in my house, for no other reason than I feared what I would do to myself in a downward spiral.
Now she just beats me down to the point that nothing I attempt comes to fruition. I give up and hate the woman I used to love.
I’m trying to find a path away from the brutal teardown I’ve offered myself. It will be a process that isn’t helped by the seemingly endless things I’m juggling.
I hate this level of vulnerability, admitting that I have something I’m ashamed of—my inability to be honest with myself. I hate saying that I needed help—that it took my doctor saying “Let me help you.” for me to stop listening to myself and the abusive dialogue I whispered in the quiet moments. Apparently, I’ve been this way for awhile. I may have been this way for years, hiding way my self-abuse with smiles that weren’t quite real; laughing, but not really knowing the joy it should bring.
I’m taking this step, this very vulnerable step, to say I’m trying to change the dialogue I have with myself. I’m trying to be kinder to myself. I’m going to be on medication as well. I’m not exactly proud of needing this level of help. Yes, I’m aware that is the negative stigma associated with mental health talking. It’s a dialogue I need to change within myself. I need to be able to say that my needing help isn’t a bad thing. I’m not there yet.
I still feel like a failure because I can’t shake off the “blues”; that I’m too weak to be able to deal with a few rough patches. I’ll get to the point one day where I can meet my gaze in the mirror, smile, and genuinely mean that being able to accept the help offered to me is a good thing.
One day I’ll get there, but today is just about the first step…taking the help that is offered.