After my last post, Into Temptation, a friend mentioned how we need to be careful to not let our weaknesses and failings depress us. He's right; while weak is not a place which ought to be sought out, it also shouldn't cause us inordinate pain to realize and acknowledge our weaknesses. Unfortunately, though, sometimes it does. Even more unfortunately, the way our society mocks and belittles those who are "weak" or "failures" is often a huge stumbling block for those who really do need help, whose issues at whatever time in their life are just too much for them to bear alone. All too often, people are met with "Toughen up! Quit being such a pansy! Just grow up, will you?", when what they really need to hear is "How can I help? Is there anything I can do?", or, even better "It's okay. I understand." What's more, I think, is people need to hear the stories of others who have made it through, who have been able to face the ridicule and ask for help. I know how important those stories are, first hand, so tonight I'm going to tell a bit of mine.
Hi. My name is Jennifer, and I need help. This is my story. I mentioned a few of my struggles briefly in Please! Just LISTEN! back in February of 2012. This time, I'll go back to the beginning.
The first time I remember being really depressed, I was around 16 or so, I guess. I was a lazy home schooler, unmotivated, and feeling like there was nothing to live for. My friends, the first ones I'd had in a real long time, were all prepping for colleges, and I was stuck in 8th grade (one of the grades, anyway), simply because I refused to do my work. I felt like a failure, like I would never amount to anything, like life was not worth living anymore. I felt alone, because I didn't know who I could talk to that wouldn't give me a "You're just being silly" kind of response. I felt abandoned, because I cut myself off from people. I wanted to die, to just have it end. And I probably would have, had it not been for Church teaching that unrepentant suicides go to Hell. I know many find that to be a harsh teaching; but for me, it was a saving grace. In that period of darkness, I was, in a sense, already in Hell, and God granted me the grace to understand it. Most people think of the fire and brimstone aspects of Hell, and overlook the being eternally separated from God part. Eternally separated from God, means eternally without hope; eternally feeling abandoned; eternally loathing both the self and God; eternally desiring the end, but there will be no end, no escape. Hell is a lot like being trapped in an eternal depression. I decided that was not something I wanted to risk, so I blundered through the blackness and found the light eventually.
Spring of 2008, the blackness came back, though without the suicide aspect. I was more angry this time, but still depressed, and feeling like nothing was worthwhile. Thankfully, I had friends I was comfortable talking with, and they helped immensely, though it was still rough on everyone. But it would have been so much worse without them.
Fall of 2009 the darkness and anger came back with a vengeance. Spring of 2010, it turned to tears, oh so many tears. Things improved fitfully through the next year, only to relapse the closer August of 2011 drew. August 2011 through sometime in 2012 was really rough, and it's a wonder Code Monkey has stuck with me through it all. 2013 was mostly alright, but Summer of 2014 brought with it a rage I have never known before, and last week brought an episode of depression a depth of which I have not felt in a long time. And it was then that I knew I needed help. That there was no way I was going to be able to really beat this on my own; otherwise it would no longer be a problem. That my only options were give up, give in, and claim victim, or dig deep for what little strength I have left, and do whatever it takes to reclaim control. I'm choosing control, and it is knowing the stories of others who have made it through that gives me the hope and inspiration I need to ask for help.
I'm in the process of working on a game plan, and once it's all figured out I'll share it with you, in hopes that others might garner inspiration as well, if they need it. I know I haven't been taking care of me very well, so many of the changes will focus on that. In the meantime, I leave you with a book that my midwife recommended for me, The Mood Cure, by Julia Ross. The basic premise is that our neural mood pathways have been crossed, and need to be reset, then maintained, and it should help. It involves a change of diet, and the addition of supplements, which I know I really could use anyway. I will be writing a book review, with an update, when I get past the reading stage. A friend has also recommended counseling, which I will be looking into as well.
There is hope; together we can get through this. My name is Jennifer, and I need help.