They tell you that the first step to recovery is admitting the problem exists right? So I guess here is my first step. Here is the truth, probably the most honest thing I have ever written. Here is my confession.
I’ll start with something simple. I have depression. I’ve had it for years. So long, in fact, that I don’t know who I was before I had it. I don’t want to say that I’ve been “battling depression”, because I haven’t. Not really. I’ve simply had it, ignoring it for a long time, pretending that I was perfectly healthy and nothing was wrong. I lied to my friends and family, I lied to my partners. I lie to my daughter every day when she asks if I’m happy. I lie to everyone by saying “I’m okay.” Because I’m not. I haven’t been. I pushed aside my sadness, blocked it off so I wouldn’t feel it, surrounded myself with perfect little stories that I told myself before I went to bed and before I would get up in the morning. “I’m okay. I’m strong. I’m happy.”
I don’t know when it started. And to be honest, it doesn’t really matter. This isn’t a story about my life or any hardships I’ve encountered that I can pin it on. This is a confession, plain and simple. Instead of facing what was wrong with me, I ignored it. I had reasons for it once. “I’ll focus on something else for now, I’ll get better eventually.” And then “eventually” would come around and I would keep pushing it back. “Soon. Soon I’ll fix it.” It never got fixed. It never even got close to being fixed. If anyone asked I would tell them “I got better” or simply “I’ve never had it.” People would turn to me in the hopes that I would help them, praying that I would have some answer for how I got past the struggle. And I would lie some more. Give them my best advice and hope they didn’t dig deeper. Hope that in some twisted way, lying to them would help them. And then my reasoning changed to “You have to be strong for these people. You are expected to help them.” And it continued until I couldn’t handle it anymore. It continued until I had no idea who the person getting up in the morning was. I had no idea who I was. And honestly I was terrified to find out. I was so damn afraid that if I looked past this face that I painted for anyone looking, I would find nothing. No dreams, no goals, no likes or dislikes, no passions, no thoughts. Just. Nothing. So I kept on lying and changing to suit who was around me. And I’m tired. I’m so exhausted that I don’t leave my house. I don’t talk to people. I don’t put effort in. I’m struggling to make it through each and every single day. It’s a hassle to simply move my face to form an expression.
I have an addiction. I’m not addicted to drugs, or alcohol. I’m not addicted to sex or self-harm. I don’t even want to call it an addiction, but it’s destroying everything good in my life and I can’t really put any other word to it. I’m addicted to pushing myself and my problems to the background and giving 100% to anyone who needs even the slightest bit of assistance. This sounds like a silly thing to be upset about until I realize just how much of my life I have thrown away for it. I have been emotionally and sexually abused for it and I couldn’t even say it was abuse because I told them to use me. I have been in debt for it, I have been homeless because of it. My daughter was homeless because of it – twice. I have been heartbroken because of it, I’m completely and totally alone because of it. I look at people around me, see that they need help and have the overwhelming urge to make them my whole world so that they don’t hate the person that they see in the mirror. It started off as a good thing; people would tell me I was selfless and kind; “You do so much for everyone and ask for nothing in return.” It became the only thing I knew and so self-destructive that when I had no one around me that needed help I would have panic attacks because what was I even doing with my life? What good was I to anyone? Why did anyone even keep me in their life?
So I started making problems. I would listen, and find something, anything, that someone was upset about it and I would try my hardest to ‘fix’ it. I ended up doing more harm than good; I got it into my head that no one needs you, you fuck up everything you touch, don’t try, don’t put yourself out there, and don’t bother doing anything. At all. Ever. All this because I refused to even think about helping myself. I refused to even think about fixing the real problem. I hate myself because of this. I hate everything I am and everything I say and everything I think.
Someone told me once “you’re my hero. I look up to you so much.” and at the time I was so damn happy. It was everything I ever wanted, to be needed and to be the one that people turned to for support. Now I hear it in my head and it’s a kick to the gut. I am a carefully constructed false idol of recovery.
I have driven every single person I’ve loved from my life and I refused to believe that I was to blame for it because “all I’ve ever done is help people, what did I possibly do to make you hate me?” Now I understand that I can’t keep pretending I’m not at fault. I can’t keep pretending that I’m a healthy addition to someone’s life because honestly I’m a poison to every single person I’ve ever been around. And that is probably the hardest thing I have ever had to admit. I wanted to be someone that mattered. If anyone needed help I wanted the first thing that came to mind to be my name. I wanted to set a good example, to be the kind of person that other people would learn from and aspire to be like. I wanted to be the kind of person that I would be proud to see my daughter grow up as. Now I realize that if my daughter grew up to be like me, it would be heartbreaking and sickening. Now I realize that I can’t keep going like this.
I don’t want sympathy. I don’t want people to look at me and think “Oh that poor girl”. I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to lay down their life to help me.
What I want more than anything is to finally get better. I want to not have to lie to my daughter when she asks me if I’m happy. I want to be able to tell people “No I’m sorry but I really can’t do that right now” without feeling like they’re going to go and kill themselves because I wasn’t there to help. I want to stop feeling guilty. I want to be okay with who I am and I want to be able to accept the fact that sometimes life is a fucking bitch and all I can do is do my best. I want to feel like my best is my best, and I don’t want to have to push myself to do better than I am physically able to. And admitting that there is a problem is the first step to recovery.
So here, for the whole damn world to see – I am not okay. And that is okay. I don’t have to be; I just have to know that as long as I keep on trying and keep reminding myself, one day I will be “okay” and I will look at myself with pride instead of disgust.