I’m depressed. To be honest, I’ve been depressed for most of the last 15 years. I have had enough bright spots to remember what it feels like to be OK, but none have lasted long enough for me to find out what my life, or I, might be like without this constant 10 ton ball of misery weighing me down.
I was diagnosed with bipolar II at 14, and fought vehemently against being medicated. My mother eventually backed my opposition, and I became the only person I knew with my particular brand of crazy whose highs and lows weren’t mitigated by a terrifying cocktail of drugs. I swung hypomanic more often than not as a teen, and both ways in my early 20s. By my mid-20s I was spending more and more of my time in the depths of massive depressive episodes, punctuated only by increasingly manic (and dangerous) hypomanias. Sex, always my vice, had become a full-blown addiction, and 1 night stands and back alley quickies were often my feasible, if shoddy, substitute for actual social interaction. I moved in with an extremely violent alcoholic at 21, and left at 25. I moved directly in with another alcoholic, this one less physically violent and miles more sociopathic and emotionally abusive. My social anxiety kicked in full blast, and I withdrew almost completely. I hated his drunk, coked-out, unintellectual friends, and they hated me. He was charming to me (and everything else with a vagina) in public, and increasingly abusive in private. He goaded me quietly between sweet words and courteous gestures in public, and I responded to the goads. I looked crazy, he looked patient. I looked like a bitch, he looked like a saint. I felt crazy, and no one around me was disagreeing. I withdrew almost completely, isolating myself in an increasingly physically and emotionally abusive relationship with someone who hadn’t been sober a day in the last several years. Isolated, I became scared of the world outside. Alone with him, I could predict things, control the variables, arrange things to minimize the chances of the shit really hitting the fan. As soon as the outside world intruded things became less predictable, less controllable. Co-workers pissed him off or got him drunker than normal, friends took him out and introduced him to coke. I loathed him, and I loathed myself more for being with someone who treated me like that. Some days I hated that I would stay, some days I hated myself more for being someone he would treat like that. I felt too worthless to leave, and staying only confirmed my worthlessness. I didn’t think I could live without him, and I was 100% positive that I couldn’t live with him. He cheated on me, so I cheated on him. He called me everything I had never wanted to be, so I slept with whoever saw me as everything I did want to be. He hit me, I fucked our co-worker while he was out drinking. I was lonely, so I went back to sex, the only thing I had to trade for social interaction that didn’t make me ashamed of taking up people’s time. I wasn’t welcome at the party alone, but my pussy was always welcome, and I got to come along with it, the one woman posse of the head cheerleader. I was wanted, by power of association.
I left one day. I’m not entirely sure why, but shit had just run out. Getting woken up in the middle of the night and dragged out of bed by my hair when he turned back up drunk and angry after losing money gambling, getting called a liar every time I didn’t switch my memory to whatever version of events his blackouts left him with, being hit, never having a home where I felt safe, I was just done. I had gone back to school that September, and by February I left. Maybe I meant to go back, but I never did. I moved back into my mom’s place temporarily, and started trying to put my life back together. My best friend and my mom circled the wagons, and another very close friend who had cut and run years ago when he married turned back up in my life, newly divorced. I started to leave the house. A few weeks later I met a man, a brilliant, funny, interesting, sexy, SANE man. We dated, we fucked. We kept dating. I met his friends, they though I was smart and funny and interesting. I felt almost like people.
By March, the man and I were “seeing each other”, and tentatively discussing an actual relationship. He’d been burned badly in the past, so had I. I was happy, for the first time ever. I was making new friends, leaving the house, beginning to get more comfortable at school (which had been hell on earth). My mom got a pain under her ribs. The pain lingered for a few weeks, my mom made a doctor’s appointment. The pain was stage 4 liver cancer, and by the end of March my mother had 4 to 6 months to live.
By the end of April we had to take her to the hospital for IV fluids by ambulance, after 3 days of her not being able to get down water. The doctors changed their estimate to a week, maybe two. We took her home, and she fought back. She lived until the beginning of June, then began drifting in and out of a coma. She could barely talk the moments she sort of wake up, but once a day, leaning on both my stepdad and I, she somehow walked to the bathroom. A week or so later she stopped getting up. 4 days later she died in my arms.
The man, who is now my amazing boyfriend, stayed with me non-stop for the next week. My best friend and his mom made themselves my surrogate family. I moved in with the amazing boyfriend and his awesome roommate. I switched to part-time classes, and found myself much happier in them. I sobbed randomly very day. I still do. I can live with that, it makes sense, at least. It’s a sane thing to cry about, losing your mom.
The second-best friend disappeared. I’m not sure why, he was around, and then he just wasn’t. He was in love with me, I wasn’t in love with him. He said he wasn’t, and that I was his best friend. When I got serious with my boyfriend, he stopped being mine. I wondered if I had been a bad friend. I thought of every stupid or selfish thing I had ever said or done. I thought of days I had been boring to hang out with, too depressed or drained to really do anything other than sit and chat. I decided I had done something wrong. It was my fault in some way. The anxiety came back.
The depression came back too. Not just the misery of losing the person I loved most in the world, and my only protector, but this stupid, blind, pointless devourer of my life and hope. The boyfriend tries to help, and it helps a bit, but it doesn’t make it stop. He comforts me, but my attacker doesn’t leave. I’m not sure what has drawn it back, or how to make it go away. I have started to become isolated again, as I really don’t know how to pursue contact with the outside world. When I socialize on my own I’m fine, until I get home. Then the shame and anxiety kicks in, the lurking terror that they saw my unworthiness, my patheticness, my secret, core undeservingness. I don’t know how to fix this, but I have to, or I am going to die.