I was driving to work this morning. Just a typical day. I had found a CD (yes they still exist) from who knows when, Now 5. It was nostalgic. I was jamming hard to some of these hits. Some I passed quickly. EWE at some of the hits back then. I came across Lucky by Britney Spears. The song refers to a celebrity that from the outside has it all and on the inside, she’s just sad.
“If there’s nothing missing in my life, then why do these tears come at night? Lost in an image, in a dream, but there’s no one there to wake her up. And the world is spinning, and she keeps on winning but tell me what happens when it stops?”
I realized at that moment that I have struggled with depression since I was a child.
It took me this long (and no it doesn’t matter exactly HOW old I am) to realize it. I remember talking with someone within the past year about anxiety vs. depression. I had mentioned that I had not been depressed, only anxious. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, which turns into PMDD during my PMS time. I honestly believed until today that I had not been depressed. I’m a halfway intelligent person. I love learning and researching. How could I miss this? How could I be so close minded to the fact that I struggle with depression?
I believe it’s because I am genuinely a happy person. I enjoy the small things. I can feel amazing just by looking outside at nature. I had it in my mind that to feel joy must mean that I couldn’t possibly be depressed. I can find the silver lining in situations.
I was wrong.
I remember constantly thinking as a child that I was never good enough. I felt I came from a home that was too financially unstable. I always felt like my friends weren’t really my friends. I was only a cheerleader because I was small enough to easily throw around (which isn’t exactly wrong). I remember feeling inconvenient to everyone I was around. I remember feeling like I just wanted to go away. I had friends that felt the same as me, maybe even worse. I learned bad habits from them like cutting myself. I remember sneaking into my kitchen, past my family, taking a steak knife out of the drawer, and I would cut. I would cut very lightly. I would go back to my room, only to later return and do it a little bit more and a little harder. I would wear high socks and long sleeves to school the next day. I found myself trying to balance being cool, being confused about life, being sad enough and being funny enough. I traveled through my schools friend list (before social media existed), trying to find MY people. I appeared to get along with everyone and didn’t really have enemies. I found no comfort in friends. I felt like the friendships I had, I was trying so hard to keep them, were more like a job.
I was EXTREMELY small and always had to defend my eating habits. I didn’t have an eating disorder, I just had small genes. I didn’t mature until years after everyone else did. I looked like I was 10, until I was 17. I had braces for 4 years, and contraptions similar to car engines (pistons and such). I was picked on for my size but no one did it hatefully. I didn’t have a real boyfriend until I was 17, while my friends spent countless hours talking about theirs and the places they went and the things they did. I dove into heavy metal because the lyrics explained the pain I felt inside. I would listen to it at the highest volume, screaming the lyrics while my soul was tired and hurt. High school was not fun for me and depression, it seems, caused the majority of the chaos in my own head.
I guess I have, over the years, started putting things together. It started to really hit home when I was going through a box of memories. I found journals after journals that were filled with depressing poems and scratches of anger pouring out through my beautifully colored pens (obsessed with office supplies to this day. I still pushed it to the side, making jokes about it.
Of all things, of all the music genre’s I listen to, my ride to work listening to old school Britney Spears did me in. The song came on and it took me back to school. All of the feelings came rushing back. The loss of innocence. The immense pain felt only on the inside.
I take this as a God moment. He ever so gently guided me into my own self-realization. I was, and can be, depressed. I can enjoy life. I can rejoice life. I can be depressed. All in one.
It may not seem like a lot to you but for those of you in recovery, admitting is the first step to a beautiful life ahead.
I am thankful for this realization.
P.S. In the midst of this life I was miserably leading, is when I began dabbling in drugs and alcohol. When they say substance abuse is only a symptom, a surface issue, to the real problem, they mean it. Reread this if you need to understand the why? to me using and abusing substances. My story isn’t an exact match to every alcoholic/drug abuser, but there will definitely be some similarities.