When I rack my brain to remember the last time I didn’t have depression I realize that I was 18 years old.
Up to that point I was talkative, spirited, lively, bubbly and had so many plans for my bright future.
I never missed my commitments, parties, school, dances, sporting events or any of it because I never wanted to miss a moment.
When I fell in love for the first time I fell hard and it was with a boy I had been best friends with since the age of 12.
All of the love I felt for life I put towards him and making him feel special, handsome and filled with affection.
He experienced the loss of a parent at a young age and he was not the easiest to reach on an emotional level, but that didn’t stop my efforts or making me want to fill his void of pain with love.
That’s what young love does. You enter in with all your walls down, not a fear of the world in getting hurt because it’s the first time and it feels like a high that you have never experienced.
I baked him cookies when he lost his sport games, cheered him up if he was having a bad day, helped him come out of his shell and be silly and made sure he knew he had me by his side.
He was the person I went to when the physical abuse happened at home, I would run to him and he would tell me that everything was going to be alright and that one day we could get married and he would always take care of my heart.
I believed him because I thought what we had was true love.
When I went off to college two things happened to change the course of where I thought my life was going to go:
- He became jealous, emotionally and physically abusive
- I fell into a deep, dark, major depression
After the physical abuse happened, everything was different. It was like I completely lost myself, I became hollow and started to use drugs and alcohol to escape the pain and the shame.
I ended the relationship because my head told me it was the “right” and “respectful” thing to do for myself. I say that because when you are abused as a child, you forget that you are worthy of not being hit or hurt.
In the next week after I ended it, I was in a drunken fog and all of sudden felt a desperate need to get him back, even though it was wrong, I would make it ok and forgive him and we could move on.
But he avoided my calls and told me never to speak, write or contact him ever again.
My heart exploded and a sadness came over me like I had never known. Although it wasn’t respecting myself, I felt like I would die of a broken heart if he didn’t take me back.
He kept that promise of never wanting me in his life again and it took me a very, very long time to swallow that pill.
More than 20 years after this happened, I had a moment of absolute clarity and understanding of my brokenness and devastation.
It wasn’t HIM that I missed and longed for and wished to come back to me for all those years preceding the breakup, it was ME, the old me, the carefree, loving, bubbly girl I was before my depression struck me at he same time as we had our chaotic split.
When I was with him in my earlier years before college, I wasn’t depressed, I was confident, I showed up for my life and didn’t think about wanting to take my own life.
I longed for the girl who didn’t live in the dark most days, the one who wouldn’t skip a day of school because I worried I would be missing out.
Sure he played a part of breaking my heart, but we all go through things like break-ups and walk away and find peace again eventually.
It was just that I walked away from that broken heart, fell into a dark hole of mental illness and never came back out the other side the same girl I was before.
I will always miss how easy it used to be, how free I felt, how unafraid of my mind I was and how life didn’t feel as though I was walking through cement most days.
But that is my path and many amazing things have come to me which will always make me grateful for unanswered prayers.