Heal over Time is an inspiring blog that I follow as often as I can. Lilpeanut is very candid about her experiences with the loss of her daughter, and dealing with depression amongst other things that make us human. Her story is very sad, but it’s very heart warming to see her doing things that’s good for the soul, things that help you heal. Her pictures are wonderful, and I’m completely in awe of this writer for her bravery sharing her stories with the world.
I’ve shared mine about Deafness and gaming on this site, but that was as far I ever got. I know that it wasn’t easy for Lilpeanut to do it, but it was also far too important not to share her stories with everyone. That is the same reason why I decided to write about this thing called depression tonight. It’s important to me to pass that message on too.
I’ve always struggled with depression, and I’ve been told that it’s something I’ll have to deal with for the rest of my life. My grandmother, and my mother suffer from depression, so this is my fate as well. My teenager years were horrible- I didn’t know why I felt so lousy all the time, I didn’t know why I cried to sleep on a nightly basis. My life was great- I had a wonderful family who loved me to pieces, and I was friendly with everyone in high school. I had a boyfriend who I was steadily dating (we ended up dating for 8 years!), and I was headed for a good future.
I didn’t know why I was so sad all the time despite my perfect life. This insidious illness started unravelling my life when I was 15 years old. Suddenly, I was breaking down in tears over the littlest things or I was walking around in a rage because something didn’t go my way. I started to withdraw from the world, delving into writing countless journal entries about how miserable I felt. I couldn’t sleep at night because I was having nightmares, and it was next to impossible to get up in the mornings. The changes that happened within me were noticed by people who loved me, my family and friends voiced their concerns to me that there was something wrong.
Of course, I dismissed these concerns, “Oh, no, I’m fine, I’m just stressed.”
I didn’t want anyone to know how weak I really felt, so I tried to hide everything. I hoped it would go away, but I didn’t realize at the time it was there to stay. It instead became much worse as I got older. The emotions I felt became overwhelming, all-powerful tides of emotions that I battled every day to stay sane. I started to drink, and I can honestly affirm that I became an alcoholic at that age, because it turned into a problem. I was sneaking alcohol into school, and drinking harder when I was out partying with friends. I did things that I’m not proud of, because I was completely careless and drunk. People tried to talk to me about it. I scoffed at the idea of being an alcoholic and thought, “Who becomes an alcoholic at 16? It’s not like I drink everyday..”
I also dismissed these concerns, because I couldn’t accept that I needed help. My depression got so bad that I also started cutting myself and I was having suicidal thoughts. I don’t like to talk about this, because it’s painful, and I feel embarrassed about it. But it’s important for you to understand how severe it was for me. I’m very insecure about my arms, because they have scars all over them. My legs also have cuts on them, although not as bad as my arms. These scars are there forever, and every time I look at them, they remind me of painful feelings that almost took my life. I’m okay with people knowing about it, because it doesn’t define who I am and these pale, white lines are only remnants of my past.
It wasn’t until I was 17 that I finally decided to start seeing a counsellor. My mother pleaded endlessly to get me to go, “I’m so afraid you’re going to die,” she said to me. I finally said I would go and agreed to seeing him for a while. He explained to me that he could help me learn how to deal with my emotions, and suggested that instead of doing destructive things, use that energy to create. I started taking art courses, because I had innate creative talents, and it turned into the perfect medium for me to express my feelings. Whenever I felt raging anger, or that I was drowning into sadness, I would paint or draw things. I also started writing online- I made my own website and turned it into a journal.
This was way before Livejournal and Blogger came out, before blogging became popular and mainstream. I used to have to create an html file every time I wanted to make an entry, and I kept a master list of links to these entries that I manually updated every time. I recently visited this old website, I wrote for three years before closing it down! Anyway, as I learned that I could keep my emotions under control, I started to feel better, and were on the road to recovery. These years were very destructive, and it pains me every time I think about how awful I felt.
I still experience bouts of depression, some episodes more extreme than the usual blues. I tend to withdraw when I’m depressed, I take a few days to myself and completely isolate myself from the world. When I do this, I sit around and read, or make something on the computer, and I don’t go out at all. My emotions aren’t as extreme like they were when I was younger, but it’s all the same, sometimes I can’t sleep at night for weeks at a time and I don’t eat as much as I should.
I also got my drinking problem under control a few years ago, because I recognized that it was a major contribution to my depression. I finally admitted to myself and everyone else that I was an alcoholic. So I quit drinking and stayed sober for a year to get myself back on track. I only drink in moderation now, having a beer or two with friends once in a while. I’m very careful not to go back to that, because it’s not something I ever want to go through again. I’m happy to say that I’ve had this under control for a few years now.
But last year were particularly a bad year for me, because I lost my job that I worked at for several years and were dealing with legal problems that also prevented me from getting a new job. A lot of things happened last year, and it brought me down on my knees as my life literally came to a halting stop.
I was completely alone for that entire year- I couldn’t socialize because I couldn’t afford to go out. I talked to my family and a couple of friends- that was it for my social life. I couldn’t work at all because I was legally obligated to tell potential employers about my legal problems, and it didn’t help that I didn’t have a vehicle- I couldn’t afford to get a used one so I could work.
I truly felt that there was no hope. I had no aspirations, I lost all motivations to return to school like I originally was planning to. What’s the point? Things were happening, one awful thing after the next one, it felt like everything were just getting worse and worse with no end in sight. I was able to deal with everything because I had my outlets, unlike when I was 15 years old- I’m 28 now. I threw myself into misspewpew.com, and poured my soul into painting, because I was feeling so hopeless. I needed to do something. Anything to help me through this hell.
I started to feel the illness rearing its ugly head. This time around I recognized that same face, the same one I saw when I was younger and I knew that this would be the end if I didn’t do something about it. It felt like the rug got yanked out from under my feet, and that I was falling into a dark, bottomless hole that threatened to consume me again.
It got to the point to where I had my first suicidal thought, and it frightened me that it even crossed my mind.
No! I don’t want to die. I just want to be happy. I want all those problems to go away. I would silently pray every morning, every time I got up, I would ask the universe for a better day. I wouldn’t give into this illness, and it turned into a raging war that lasted for more than a year. I forced myself to get up every morning, and do something constructive, even though I didn’t want to, I knew that this was the only way I could stay sane.
I worked at making amends with people who I hurt in the past, and tried to make things right with everyone. I asked for forgiveness, and tried to navigate rocky waters toward becoming the person I wanted to be- trustworthy and honourable. I asked people for help, and explained that I was not well. They tried to help, and I know it wasn’t easy having to yell at me when the push came to shove (thank you by the way!!).
I was exhausted of feeling so sick all the time, and feeling so crappy. I hardly ate and it was so difficult to sleep. I felt like I was slowly dying, my soul slowly being ravaged by this devastating illness. I fervently believed that this was only temporary, that I would get through this. I hoped that there would be a light at the end of the tunnel. I wanted to live.
My prayers were finally answered when my legal problems got resolved in February- nearly a year later. The light I had been searching for were finally here, although just out of my reach still. Suddenly, I had hope again- I was free now. I could travel again, I could go back to school and I could do whatever I wanted to. I could work again! That’s exactly what I’ve been doing ever since, I’ve applied to return to finish my degree in Media and Digital Technology at my college. I’m due to start this September. It’s like the universe have bent to my will, returning everything I’ve ever wanted back into my life.
I was finally able to get a new used vehicle and I was able to start working almost right away after my legal nightmare ended. I have since started a film group called 5×5 Films, where I’m so incredibly honored to work with wonderful friends in making films. I have plans to travel to different places in a couple of months before I start going to school to finish my degree. I have everything I could ever ask for, and it’s all I need- my family and friends, who have also become like family to me. I’m so grateful for people who have been there for me through my difficult times. Everything that happened last year were just the catalyst for what was going to come my way this year.
I made it through!
I’m so happy now. Everything is finally okay again. It’s sort of why I haven’t been writing posts lately- I’ve been so busy! I have missed writing, but I just don’t have the time right now. I quit raiding, because there were other things I wanted to do. It is unfortunate that my raid team had to disband- some of our raiders had similar feelings too, so we decided to stop raiding. Everyone was burnt out, and post-expansion blues happened. I still play WoW at night sometimes when I’m bored and have some time, I’ve finally gotten my priest, Miriamerle to 85! I’m definitely due for another post delving more into this, so let’s get back to what I was talking about.
I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason- all of the above happened to me because I needed to grow. But the depression I experienced were very real, and it threatened to take my life. It almost destroyed me again, and I came out stronger. I’m here today to tell you that there is always hope, even when you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
You are never alone. There are people who care- reach out to them and they will help you. Even as grim things might be, it’s never permanent.
I offer my deepest sympathies to people who grieve together as families and communities when someone decides to take their own life. It doesn’t make any sense at all when that happens. I’ve experienced the aftershocks of this tragedy recently, that was what prompted me to write about this. When I found out, everything came rushing to me as I remembered my own sorrow when I struggled over the years with my depression. It still hurts.
It was important to me to get this message out to other people in the hopes that it’ll help someone one day. That my story, along with countless other stories by other people would be inspiring enough for people to get the help they need.
You don’t need to go through this soul wrenching illness alone, and continue to suffer. You deserve to be just as happy as anyone else. Talk to someone who you trust, and that’s the first step you can take to start your road to recovery.
Thank you, Lilpeanut for lending me your strength through your words to do this for myself.