If you want to call depression an illness, go for it.
If you want to call it a disease, that’s fine too.
Let’s not argue over semantics.
It doesn’t really matter what label you put on it.
Depression is no joke and it’s a big fucking deal.
And while there may be some people who are lucky enough to never have to deal with it themselves, I bet you’d have a hard time finding someone who hasn’t been at least indirectly affected by it.
There is usually only, at most, one degree of separation where depression is concerned.
So let’s say you are sitting down in the sludge of the rabbit hole and nobody knows.
You are afraid to tell anyone.
You think people will judge you.
Or not understand.
you might be right.
There may be some people who don’t understand.
There may also be some completely ignorant assholes who tell you to just suck it up.
You can’t just suck it up.
I get it.
And many, many other people know it.
Don’t listen to the ignorant assholes.
Listen to me.
Yesterday I wrote a post about unloading your Fucked Up Shit (FUS).
I have always been a sensitive person.
Ever since I can remember.
I know I’m genetically predisposed to depression. Then, things happened. Varying degrees of fucked up shit piled on fucked up shit.
Eventually you have layer upon layer upon layer and it just feels too heavy.
You don’t want to tell anyone because you are embarrassed.
Or you feel weak. Like you should be able to handle it.
Or maybe you feel like your depression, or the things that caused you to feel depressed aren’t major enough to warrant you wanting to curl up in the fetal position in a corner of your room and stay there.
Stop comparing your shit to everyone else’s shit.
Your depressed doesn’t need to be as severe as someone else’s to be serious.
If you found out you had stage one breast cancer you wouldn’t wait until it became stage four to get treatment, would you?
You would take care of that shit before it got worse.
So like I said before, I have always been a little extra sensitive.
And I had very little self-confidence when I was little.
I made a big deal yesterday about unloading FUS. Well, I’ve still got some that I’ve never unloaded.
I have never told one single person.
Not my parents.
Not my husband.
Not any of my eleventy-skillion therapists.
Because I’ve felt like maybe this FUS was my fault.
Or like it wasn’t fucked up enough to be FUS.
But it fucked me up.
And I have been carrying this FUS around for almost 40 years.
It’s time to unload.
So here goes.
Like I said before, I was an overly sensitive kid with very little self confidence or self esteem.
I was extremely shy.
And there was a person in my life who I pretty much worshipped.
She was only a couple years older than me. But she was everything I was not. Bold and seemingly fearless and outspoken.
I wanted to be just like her.
I idolized her.
One day around the time I was five years old, she asked me to take off my shirt.
I knew it wasn’t okay.
I knew it was wrong.
If felt all wrong.
But I wanted so badly to be accepted and liked by this person, that I couldn’t bring myself to say no.
I did whatever it was that she told me to do.
No matter how wrong I knew it was.
When she told me that she would never talk to me again if I ever told anyone, I sealed my lips shut tight.
I never told.
I so badly needed her to approve of me.
At any cost.
Over the next few years, the things she would tell me to do became increasingly explicit.
I knew they were wrong.
But some of them felt good.
And that really made me feel bad.
I had opportunities to tell someone. I came close many times.
But I never did.
Eventually, once she was old enough to start dating boys, the encounters stopped.
I was left in this limbo.
Happy that I wasn’t being manipulated into situations that I knew were wrong, but still carrying around tremendous feelings of guilt.
Always wanting to tell someone but scared to death I’d be told that it was my fault. That I should have said something. That I knew better. That I must have asked for it.
And then there has been the comparison of my FUS to other peoples’ FUS.
It’s not like I was molested by a step father or a priest.
Or held captive in a basement for fourteen years.
It doesn’t matter.
It fucked me up.
And I found out it’s an actual thing! It wasn’t just me.
It’s called child-on-child sexual abuse.
Then, about six years after all that ended, my baby brother was diagnosed with leukemia.
And a year and a half later, he died.
My family never talked about it.
I went to college and sought validation and acceptance the way I had learned to when I was little.
I let people take advantage of me.
I cheated on boyfriends.
Eventually getting guys to sleep with me became a challenge.
During the chase, I felt empowered.
Finally I was the one in control.
In reality, I was completely out of control.
And the next day, I would wake up feeling dirty.
I’d vow never to do that again.
And then, inevitably, I’d break the vow a couple days later.
More layers of FUS.
With each layer, I became more and more depressed.
Eventually one of the guys who I cheated on a boyfriend with got me pregnant.
We got engaged.
3 weeks before the wedding I had a miscarriage.
We still got married.
And then a year later we got divorced.
Around this time I started doing drugs.
I dove back into sleeping with anyone and everyone to make myself feel better.
But it only made things worse.
The depression got worse.
I got engaged again.
I was able to break it off before I made another mistake. But I went back to sleeping around.
Then, I ended up in an abusive relationship.
I wasn’t able to remove myself from it for quite some time.
A SHIT TON OF FUS.
I got out of that and started dating a guy who was extremely wealthy.
I moved in with him.
He was a major pothead.
I became addicted to smoking weed.
Yes, they say it’s not addictive.
It was for me.
I was a fourth grade teacher who was smoking pot almost 24/7.
Eventually, one day, I just started crying and I couldn’t stop.
I ended up in the nuthouse.
When I was released, my pot-smoking boyfriend dumped me.
More sleeping around.
Eventually, I met my husband.
We got married.
Very soon after the wedding, I got pregnant.
And then I got pregnant again.
I loved being a mom.
But I was still fucked up.
And one night, after a couple glasses wine,
and a huge fight with my husband,
I took an entire bottle of Xanax.
I don’t remember much of what happened after that.
But let me tell you something.
If you think admitting to someone that you are depressed or that you don’t think you can handle your life or that you cheated on your boyfriend or that you’re addicted to drugs or whatever else is embarrassing,
it’s not near as embarrassing as getting wheeled out of your house on a stretcher and into the back of an ambulance and then sitting in the ER — or the fucking psych ward — with dark black stains down your chin and the front of your hospital gown after you’ve repeatedly puked up the charcoal concoction the EMT’s made you drink.
I know hindsight is twenty twenty.
And I like to think that everything I went through I went through for a reason.
But I sure do wish I had shared that first round of FUS way back when.
It might have saved me a couple trips down the fucking rabbit hole.
Or at least that last one in the ambulance.
So don’t wait for Stage 4.
Say something now.
I just unloaded a 40-year-old dish of secret with a huge side of shame.
And I feel better already.
Now it’s your turn to feel better.
If you need someone to talk to, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)