This may all seem stupid at first but hear me out; I really can’t believe that I’m writing this thing.
I have to admit that I always hated reading people’s ‘recovery stories’. Instead of filling me with happiness and hope and all those fuzzy great feelings, they usually left me feeling even more empty and worthless than before, sending me right into great, dark pit with no emergency ladder to climb up again.
I guess that’s because when I was really depressed (I mean the worst wave, which hit me, more or less, exactly a year ago) the problem wasn’t the fact that I couldn’t feel anything. It was this awareness that I totally don’t care, that I’m not in any way scared of this numbness that laid right in the core of everything. I would read a story or two about people fighting their illnesses and overcoming all those things that kept them from normal life and I could just think: ‘Why?’
Why bother? Why would I even try to do this, when I don’t even see a point? When I can’t even imagine myself doing this?
It probably started a lot earlier but I didn’t notice, so, for me, the mark of my depression was the ending of the school year in June 2015. I got my diploma, went to eat out with my friends and then rushed home to change because I had some trial hours to work in the café near my house. I ended up fighting with my parents about my grades (side note: A+ kids, never try having an actual social life for a year and falling a bit behind at school. It will bite you in the ass later) and I guess it wasn’t that much of a big deal, but it threw me off balance. Then I – excuse my language – totally screwed up my work and when I went back home I closed the doors of my room behind me and just-
It will sound creepy, but I have no idea what happened later. All I could think of was the fact that I’m turning 18 and that I’m not enough again and that all I do is fail and I just burst into tears. And when I say burst, I mean it almost literally; I fell into such a hysteric state that I couldn’t calm myself. I’ve spent a good couple of hours just sobbing on the floor before I gathered myself enough to go to the bathroom to clean up. While I was washing my face, it hit me all out of sudden; there are five other people in this house beside you, all your closest blood relatives. And not a single one went to check what’s going on with you. You heard them calling you ‘crazy’ from downstairs, but not a single one climbed up the stairs, opened closed doors of your room and asked what happened.
This thought rooted in my brain, deep and good and it felt like a freaking freezing shower dripping down my back. I stopped crying all at once and until the end of this terrible summer, I didn’t shed a single tear more.
Depression is sneaky and morbidly intelligent; my depression felt like a furry, heavy thing sitting on my chest while I lay on my bed. It had dark eyes and weasel-like face and the voice of my mother. It sucked feelings out of me until I couldn’t even make myself hate it. Not even this was left.
I adjusted – in the worst possible way. I let it go, let it all go spectacularly and epically and so quietly that not even people living with me in the same house noticed. It was summer and it was hot and beautiful but to be honest, I don’t remember much of it. I was mostly sleeping or just laying in my bed. I didn’t eat, I didn’t wash my hair, I only came out late at night to wander barefoot on the grass in our garden and listen to the sound of parties blaring from the neighborhood.
It didn’t feel bad and it didn’t feel good; it didn’t feel at all. It was like existing in a bubble, glass wall separating me from everyone and everything. Two months, two damn, freaking months of summer holiday, my 18th birthday party – I lost it all. I could’ve as well not been there at all. I lost 5 kilos and a lot of hair and I didn’t bother to open my window even when it was really hot so I probably nearly suffocated myself in this little, stinky room upstairs. The best (ha) part? Nobody cared.
And I’m being completely serious right now; nobody cared. Not my grandma, not my parents. They did nothing about the situation, they didn’t even acknowledge it. I stopped talking so when I was forced to say anything my voice was all raspy and I had so much grease on my hair that it looked as if it were soaking wet; but no one from my closest surrounding did anything to help me. I guess that’s why it took me so long to break it; nobody was acting like there was something wrong going on, so why should I?
All my friends were out of town so when they came back, they called me up to meet at our favorite restaurant. As I said, up until this point I was aware that I’m not okay but I was too numb to care but when I walked into this restaurant and my friends raised their heads and looked at me.. that’s when shit got real. Because I got to watch their expression. I sat on my usual seat, smiled and listened to them and it all seemed usual but even though I actually washed my hair and wore nice clothes out of sheer habit, they weren’t fooled by it.
I’m normally second loudest in the group, but that time I didn’t say a single word besides ‘Hi’’ and didn’t even notice it before they pointed it out to me. Anyway, they obviously asked what’s wrong and I shook my arms and the topic was supposedly dropped, all until evening when one of the girls invited us all to sleep at her house instead of going back in the dark.
It was three A.M. and we were all slightly buzzed from all the vodka we drank in her backyard, when we started to talk about families. And they all had so many nice stories; American movies stories with moms braiding hair and being daddy’s little girls. I listened to them from my sleeping back, feeling something rising in my chest, thrashing there, pressure making me unable to breathe.
And then I opened my mouth and started talking.
By the end I was shaking from crying, two of the girls were hugging me and I had spit dripping down my chin but god, not only I could breathe – for the first time since the beginning of the summer I could actually feel things. It was almost as if I was sitting in the darkness for so long that when the light was on all I could do is close my eyes and watch fireworks exploding inside my eyelids. I was almost high on this, on this feeling of everything all at once.
I’d love to say that evening and that literal flood of words that spilled out of me – that it fixed me. Unfortunately, life’s not like that and it didn’t. It was not a moment that solved the problem, it was not a moment in which I slayed the monster. But it was a beginning; it was the point in which I realized I just can’t go on like that. I can’t. Knives seemed to lure me then; ropes seemed to curve into smiles. Shadows started to speak to me.
I realized I wanted more. Not deserved – I’m still not sure I deserve anything- but want.
Just as I don’t know when it began, I don’t know when it ended. To be honest, I don’t think it really did. I still have bad days and even really bad days, but don’t we all? What’s important is the fact that I’m here today to type these words.
As I said, I hate recovery stories. Like, no offence guys, really, this is just my personal thing. I don’t find them inspiring; they didn’t save me, I had to do this myself. They didn’t even serve as cataclysm for me. Today, when I read them, I mostly feel a bit irritated at the back of my mind and a bit jealous – and I have absolutely no idea why. The thing is, I managed to bury that summer so deep inside me, that I never felt any need to share it… up until now.
Recovery stories are not my kind of tea. But maybe they are yours. And even if they’re not – I hope you will read mine anyway. My story doesn’t end with a handsome husband and a long, honest conversation with my parents or figuring out where I belong in life and realizing my self-worth.
While I’m writing these words I’m listening to Sleeping At Last, wrapped in my blanket. Tomorrow is my first day at work in a different café. I graduated high school two months ago, aced my exams and I’m going to the university on the other side of the country to ‘find myself’ or something. My dog is the loveliest, fluffiest golden retriever alive and we cuddled a lot today; I’ve spent good hour today laughing so hard my stomach still hurts.
It’s not a perfect life, but it’s good. It’s good even when it’s terrible, because now I know how it’s like when you’re dead alive. It’s good because it’s mine.
My recovery story doesn’t end because I still, in a way, haven’t recovered. But it also doesn’t end, because I’m still living. Who knows how it will go?
If I hadn’t made this decision to speak up a year ago, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here now. I wouldn’t have learned all the lines to ‘Schuyler Sisters’, figured out my bisexuality or watched Stranger Things. I wouldn’t have read so many books, wouldn’t have had my first kiss or my first heartbreak and – honestly- wouldn’t have lived through the best year of my life.
If you’re reading this and you went through the same thing as me –congrats. We rock. I hope somebody helped you, but regardless of that, you saved yourself. You deserve all the credit for this alone.
If you’re reading this and can’t make yourself care… I’m sorry, but I can’t do shit for you. But you can, even if you don’t see a point in this. Just open your mouth and scream, scream until someone listens, scream until you are helped and they throw you down a rope you can grab onto as they pull you up or a ladder you will use to climb up. You probably don’t believe me, but you are worth more than this dark pit. It owns you; the darkness, the numbness, the weasel-face creature owns you, sucks your very soul from you. On the outside, the world will try to break you in a million different ways, but at least you own you and nobody else.
It doesn’t get perfect, but it does get better. Why you should at least consider believing it?
Well, first thing you should do is try to remember. Remember bad things and good things; sweating during the jog on the treadmill, buzz of the blood in your ears when you get really, really angry, how first frost of winter smells, how it is to smile so widely your cheeks hurt. And then answer one simple question; do you want it back? Look at yourself and say it out loud:
‘Do I want it back?’
If you say ‘no’, I’m sorry.
But if you say ‘yes’ consider believing me. Please. That’s all I ask of you.
Consider believing me.
Nat(alia) is a nineteen year old Polish college student, bookworm, fangirl and a lone wolf. Despite many people’s claims, she’s also a living proof that you can love dogs and cats, chocolate and vanilla and girls and boys equally. You can find her on Tumblr and Facebook.