Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Storm Inside

"I wanna hide the truth
I wanna shelter you

But with the beast inside

There's nowhere we can hide
No matter what we breed
We still are made of greed
This is my kingdom come
This is my kingdom come"
-Imagine Dragons

Most people think anxiety and depression are phases, and for some that can be true. However, for me, I face a chemical imbalance. I struggle with demons and disorders that have become beyond my control.Some people know about what I battle daily on the inside, but very few know the severity of it. 

In the, almost, twenty-one years that I have been alive, I can't really remember a time that I haven't struggled with the thoughts in my mind. I grew up a lot quicker than most, and unfortunately, in that, I lost a my ability to know how to relax, and let things go. I learned to worry at a very young age... I was worrying about things that children that age shouldn't even be thinking about. 

I was born into what I would call a very confused, and unhappy family. Alcohol, drugs, divorce, significant others who meant more, domestic violence, threats, etc.. How do you learn to cope with such things at such a young age? Luckily for me, I had an older sister who sheltered me from the bullshit the best that she could, but in the end- it was all still there, and I knew that. 

I grew to feel unwanted, and unimportant due to all the arguments I'd overheard and all the things that were said to me. Though, those feelings got much worse once my sister wasn't there to protect me anymore. I didn't have anyone to shield me from what was being said. There I was, right in the middle... Knowing and being told things were my fault. Being ignored by one parent, and bailed on by the other. Living with mom's alcoholic boyfriend,who wanted me put up for adoption or dead. By that point, I had lost my place and had nowhere to belong. 

I found myself turning to journaling to release my emotions. I don't think anything has been more heartbreaking than rereading those journal entries from my 13 yr old self begging God to end my life because I didn't have the strength. No one should ever feel pain to that extent, especially not a child. But back then, NO ONE really knew. If they did know, they didn't understand. There came a point that I couldn't even leave my room once I got home from school because "he" didn't want me in the way...I was given my meals through my door, and when I was done I had to text my mom telling her that the plate was on step for her. 

By then, Mom had turned to bribery to try to make up for everything I was going through. Which in turn, I began to be called spoiled. Little did those who called me such know, that I would've given up EVERY single thing that I was given for a simple "I'm proud of you", "I love you", or "I'm sorry"
For years, I felt I was my mother's mistake, for that's what I had been told, and I was no stranger to being called a little "bitch". 

As far as my dad goes, I have SO many rotten, haunting memories. From punching my mom, being questioned for his arrest, watching him pull out knives and threatening people I loved, restless nights of worrying, not talking for long periods of time, to drunken phone calls. I never felt as though I was apart of his life, or at least not a part that ALWAYS mattered. 

I honestly just wanted to belong. However, that's tough to do when it feels as though, not even your parents want you around. I had become a very angry person, and I chose who I let that show to. To others, I had learned how to fake the best smile. Soon, journaling my pain turned into writing poetry about it, and with that, I had my outlet. Granted, the pain was still there, but the feelings weren't exactly bottled up anymore. I could just sit down with a notebook and pen, write my heart out, and cry. 

I'd have good days, and bad. Days where life wasn't so horrible, and days where I wished I had never been born. But one thing never changed, I HATED being home. I got away anytime I possibly could. Friends made for a distraction, especially the ones that were completely oblivious to how I felt. That's when dating came into play.

I was looking for LOVE, desperately. I took relationship EXTREMELY serious and to heart. But unfortunately, even though all I ever was to be loved, I didn't know how to be loved... or how to love. I allowed guys to do and say things to me that I would honestly hurt them for doing or saying to Marleigh. I put up with exactly what I knew, what I had always been subjected to. Strangely as much as it hurt, I saw nothing wrong with it. Even though I swore I would never put up with such things,it seemed to be that's just how love worked, or that was all I was worth. 

I allowed myself to be put down to the point that I LOATHED every single quality about myself. I was back to the place of finding myself ugly, stupid, fat, unlovable, crazy, and unworthy of life. I turned to starving myself, obsessively weighing myself, the occasional cut here and there, scalding my body with water in the shower, anything I could that would take my mind off of the mental pain. The pain of feeling as if I was never going to be good enough for anyone, not even myself. 

Between the years of a toxic home life, and toxic relationships, I finally cracked. I broke down and I spoke to my doctor. Granted, I only told my doctor that I was depressed over my Mimi's death, which in part, was very true. I was too ashamed to tell her the truth, afraid that she'd see so much wrong with me, as I did myself. She prescribed me a medicine, that I still take to this day, and suggested therapy.

Therapy? I didn't want to go... Then that would really mean there WAS something wrong with ME, it was bad enough I was on medication. It also didn't help that I had people close to my heart who treated me like a nut, and if I got the slightest bit upset, their response always was "Have you taken your meds today?". So if they treated me crazy then, what would they do with me seeing a shrink? That or I had my some family that liked to tell me that I only wanted attention.

Yes, positive attention would've been nice. But, I wanted something so much more. I wanted to be able to turn my mind off, to have balance in my thoughts, to act my age... I wanted to love myself, and I wanted to love life. Those are all things, I still want today. S

ome days my mind creeps back into the darkness. My mind constantly obsesses, and worries. It truly takes over my life, and I can't help it. After awhile, I get overwhelmed and that is what brings all the darkness back. The feeling of a failure, the pain of the past, and utter fear of the future. 

The other day, something gave me strength, that in prior years I would've called a weakness. I made a phone call to help change my life. I called to make my very first therapy appointment. I need to be a better me now, not only for me, but for my daughter. I never found myself worth helping, but I know I need to help myself to help her. 

Therapy and medication may never change the past, or take everything away, but I have hopes that it can teach me to manage, and maybe even how to relax. Life is only so long, and you only get one. I don't want to waste the one I have in the nasty cycle that I've grown up in. I want to break that cycle, and I want my daughter to never feel the way I have, especially not because of me. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Where My Demons Hide

Some people judge depression and anxiety as a phase, and for some I believe it can be. However, I battle with something much stronger than a "phase". From my earliest memory at the age of four, until now, I've struggled with the thoughts in my head, and the way things around me make me feel.

I was born into what I would consider a very confused and unhappy family, one that subjected me to things that most shouldn't have to witness, especially starting at such a young age. 

-alcohol.verbal-mental-emotional-physical abuse.drugs.having significant others chosen over me. feeling unwanted. feeling hated. abandon. neglect. bribery. . my list could go on-

I'm gonna try to start way back at the beginning, forgive me if I ramble or lose you. 

We'll start with my Father:

At a very young age, I was subjected to violence, alcohol, and so much more simply from my father. My earliest memory is coming out onto the porch just in time to see him hit my mom. He was a very unhappy man when I was younger... At age 5 or six, I was questioned for his arrest after abandoning me in an apartment with my Mimi, who was having a severe allergic reaction. . . I vividly remember being in my white RUGRATS pajamas, standing with my mom while an African American police officer questioned me about my "daddy". Meanwhile, they had him propped against a police car, taking a breath-a-lizer test. My dad went to jail for a little while, and once he got out he started dating again. I remember locking myself in the bathroom when him and his girlfriend's would fight... I didn't really see him often at that point anyway... he was kind of in and out of my life. But then he met, Susan, the woman he later married. They both drank way more than they should have. They fought worse than anyone I've ever seen. Throwing beer bottles, threatening, having the cops called.. I remember locking myself in their bedroom to call my step sister to warn her not to come over because Dad had pulled a knife out and went outside with it... Through all of this, and so much more, somehow I always found it in my heart to forgive my dad... still to this day I have SO much hurt and anxiety over the things he has done, and continues to do. 

Next is my mother:

Mom dated a lot. Her men came first, that was a rule my sister and I knew well. I remember always wondering what made her boyfriends more lovable than me. . . Mom's first boyfriend that I can remember, Joe, was the first man to hit me. He smacked me hard enough, that the print was still there when I went to dad's for my Christmas exchange with him. Dad flipped, and it almost progressed into a fight after a few threats... Joe always wanted me to call him daddy but, I refused, which of course pissed him off. . . Luckily, one winter, he left mom for another woman..The guy to follow, Dave, became the first person that I grew to HATE. He was an alcoholic who hated kids... He would write my mom notes begging her to give me up for adoption. He HATED me, and he made sure I knew it. When I was ten, He came into my room and told me I needed to make a decision, either I accepted him as my father, or I got out of his house. Neither of which happened, of course. .. My sister tried her best to shelter me from him, I spent most of my nights sleeping in her bed, out of fear. We're talking about a man who would down a thirty pack in one night, a man who called me "that fucking kid", a man who told me he wanted to "punch my brains out against a brick wall" because I wouldn't hug him. . . a man who wouldn't allow me to watch tv upstairs... That man became the reason that I had to be in my room by four o'clock, and mom would open my door and hand me my plate of dinner... I ate alone.. would return my plate to the step and text her that I was done. At that time, my room was the refurnished basement, I spent many night curled up in a ball listening to his drunken complaint about everything about me. . . That's when I first turned to journaling. . . I began journaling about how unwanted and unloved I felt... those entries turned into entries that begged God to end my life because I couldn't find the strength to do so. . . Nobody should be made feel that way... especially not a 13 year old. . . but no one had a clue how I felt. . No one seemed to care quite honestly. Mom didn't quite know how to handle me, or what to do... she wanted to be loved. She began to buy me whatever I wanted thinking that would make me happy. . . people began to call me spoiled. .  but they had no idea that I would've traded everything my mother had bought me for just one "I'm proud of you". . I never have felt good enough for her. . . She took her frustration out on me, calling me a " bitch" and a "mistake". . . My self hatred grew more with those words than anyone would ever know. I put up with that environment and abuse from age 7 until I was 17. Mom finally found a new man to move on to. Luckily though, since then, our chapter has gotten a little better, and more so after Mar was born. However, the mental damage is still there.

Then there is my ex:

At first everything seemed perfect, but that's how it usually is, right? It didn't take long for things to take a turn. The emotional abuse I endured drove me over the edge.Then the cheating began.. I became constantly anxious, found even more flaws in myself, I didn't want to eat, I weighed myself obsessively, and I revolved my whole world around him. I was constantly worrying about who he was texting, who he was really hanging out with, if he was cheating again. . . I could no longer turn the anxiety off. I had no friends, and I felt I had no where to turn. I found myself in a place of wanting to die again. 

 Unfortunately, at that weak point, I got even weaker.. I lost the only person I held on for, my Mimi. I became numb, I hated everyone and everything, with the exception of my boyfriend at the time. That is when I finally had enough of the pain, enough of the anger.. I wanted to live and be a better me.. I went and talked to my doctor, who prescribed me the medicine I still take today.

I got better for a little while, was able to push it all to the back of my mind, and the medicine could give me a fake "happy". I was covering my problems, not dealing with them. Don't get me wrong, the medicine is and was a big help, but it does not solve the issues that are still there. The feelings that I still need to come to terms with. Everytime things get stressful, I'm overwhelmed and flooded by everything. Every thought and feeling; all that hatred; all that failure. The constant worrying, and fear. I'm overtaken by my mine. I obsess, and I have no control over it. I make plans, and lists for EVERYTHING, obsessively. I have a mind that I can't turn off,I can't sleep, and I don't KNOW HOW to relax. I just can't...

Though with all of this, even though I have no idea where to begin after this, I took a huge step. . . I finally got in touch with a therapist. 

For those of you reading this,
If you feel this way, you are not alone. 
If you don't understand, don't judge. 
If you don't know what it is truly like to have a mental disorder of any kind, do NOT treat a person like it's something they can just turn off, they can't. . .  It's not silly, it's not funny, it's not for attention. .  it is serious. Getting help through medication, therapy, or both is nothing to be ashamed of, and it's certainly nothing to be made fun of.