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Depression

February Fourteenth, Two Thousand Eighteen

February fourteenth. The day my Dad celebrates his birthday. The day J and I were supposed to celebrate being in love. We had plans to go to our favorite pizza place. But February fourteenth wasn’t what it was supposed to be.

My Mom showed up at work around ten. Immediately my heart sank. She said she had news that I wouldn’t want to hear. The first thought that crossed my mind was that she had cancer. What happened to Leah? Did Leah get hit? My heart was beating out of my chest. I left work.

My Mom said that my ex’s mom called her this morning with devastating news: Ben had taken his own life. It felt as though I got punched in the stomach while getting struck by lighting. I couldn’t breathe. The first words out of my mouth were: No he didn’t. You’re lying.

I was in utter disbelief. Shock. I spent seven years with Ben and not one day went by where I thought he would do something like this. He was the most positive person I ever knew, always seeing the good in the situation, always telling everyone things would be okay.

After the initial shock, there was anger. How could he? And I know we had been divorced for over a year at this point, but how could he leave me? How could he do this to everyone he loved? What had been on his mind that was just too overwhelming to have to come to this?

It was hard for me to think this way. I felt immediate guilt because I have been that low. I have prayed to God again and again to take me, to just let me die. Yet, I’ve never gotten to the point where I would really take things into my own hands. I felt guilty because I knew how it felt to be so overwhelmed, yet I was angry at Ben for getting that far.

My Mom and I drove to the beach. I wasn’t crying at this point anymore. The tears had given way to a dead void. I felt uneasy, like I wasn’t sure where I was. I had to keep reminding myself that Ben wasn’t here anymore. This is real. Ben’s dead.

The truth hits hard.

Ben and I were best friends. Even after the divorce and the fights, we stayed friends. We talked here and there about our new adventures, our new goals, our new lives. The last time I talked to him, he was telling me about the farm he was starting, clearing trees, using the tractor to plant cover crops. He told me about his ideas to have a farm stand full of inspirational quotes and stories and said he might need some of my art work for the walls. He sounded excited, full of hope. Where did it go wrong.

The hardest part of everything (and it always will be) is that I will never know why he did it. I’ll never get my questions answered. And I’m not even sure if anyone knows. That’s the sick thing about suicide. No one knows you are struggling until it’s too late. I wish he had reached out to me. I would have been there. Ben had always been there for me no matter what. Even when he was angry at me, he would drop everything to help. I just wish I could have returned the favor.

Being one that has suffered through years with suicidal thoughts, and now being on the receiving end of the consequences, I’m not sure how to feel. My emotions are all over the map. When you’re down that low, yeah, taking your own life feels like the only way out. It feels like it’ll solve all your problems. But it’s selfish. Sure, you’ll solve all your problems but you’ll leave them all behind for your loved ones to deal with for the rest of their lives.

But in Ben’s case, it’s especially hard, because he was never selfish. It was one thing I both loved and hated about him. He was never freakin selfish. He was always looking out for others and their well being. He never thought about himself or what he wanted. He put himself last and catered to everyone else first. The suicide was the first selfish act I think he ever did.

All I can do now is hold on to the hope that he’s happy now. That he’s at peace. I’ll see him again one day and I’ll get my answers. But for now, I need to stop taking my life for granted and be as happy as I can be because that’s what he always wanted for me. I’m better because of him and there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him and thank him for teaching me how to love.

Til we meet again.

Depression, Life, Personal, Uncategorized

It’s Always About Attention

I’m addicted to my own sadness.

This is mad right? Crazy. Why would I want to be sad. How could this be an addiction?

Being sad puts me into a position to be cared for, because let’s be honest here, I crave attention. When I’m not getting the attention I want, I do one of two things: become angry or become sad.

Being angry causes other people to pay attention to me. They wonder why I’m angry and try to calm me down or figure out how to help. Being sad causes people to pay attention to me. They wonder why I’m sad and try to help me be happy, they tell me good things about myself; cater to my needs.

Being sad also puts me in a position of the victim, which in some messed up way, allows me to feel like I need to be extra cared for. People feel bad for someone who has depression, who looks sad, who is a victim.

So it makes sense to want to play that part.

Why would I want people to feel bad for me, though? Attention. It always comes back to attention. Although I find this to be confusing as well, because as much as I crave the attention of others, I hate being in the center of it. A quote from Blackout by Sarah Hepola:

“I’ve always been mixed up about attention, enjoying its warmth but not its scrutiny. I swear I’ve spent half my life hiding behind a couch and the other half wondering why no one was paying attention to me.”

Perfect.

Maybe it stems from my childhood. Although I think I had a normal one, obviously there was a lack of attention or love from somewhere. I know that as I got older, around seven to ten, my Mom started giving her attention to the neighborhood kids whom she babysat for. I didn’t like this. I acted out while they were around, being mean and grabbing at my Mom. I felt left out, like she was dumping me for these new children.

Maybe that’s where my attention-seeking behavior began. Scratch that, I know that’s where it started.

That, and the whole other fact that my Dad didn’t have any interest in my life, besides wanting me to be normal and be a good golfer. Like my brother.

Fighting for attention with my brother was another issue. One that, along with many other probable causes, led to my eventual downfall into anorexia, depression, and anxiety.

I wasn’t getting the attention and care I so desperately needed, wanted, so I concocted my own seemingly awesome plan: Stop eating and maybe people will figure out that there is something wrong with me. Act depressed and then maybe people will care.

But I soon realized this was not the type of attention I wanted. Actually, I wasn’t getting love at all, but anger. My Mom, angry that I was losing weight. My Dad, angry that I wasn’t being normal. My brothers, angry that I wasn’t the same happy kid I used to be.

As much as I hated the angry attention, it was still attention, and I clung to it with all I had. My fragile self thrived on this.

So when the anorexia was fought and I started eating like a normal person again, this attention stopped. Panic arose inside and that’s when the depression took over. Thoughts of killing myself became the new course of action.

Because it’s easier to hate yourself than to love yourself. And it’s easier to feel sad than to search for happiness. And it’s easier to gain other people’s affection through your own shitty-ness.

Being a depressed mess also makes you feel like you’re special, even if it’s in a fucked up way. I don’t feel any sense of uniqueness from being happy or looking on the bright side. Yet bringing myself down, contemplating suicide, and having a negative opinion about everything makes my insides feel special. I’m more fucked up than you. I’m more special than you are.

Sad.

These days, I can’t stand when people say their eating disorder isn’t about attention, because it is. Just be honest. You’re craving some form of attention, affection, care, love. And if it’s not an eating disorder than it’s depression, alcohol, drugs, whatever.

When we hurt and don’t want others to know, we turn to alcohol or drugs or food in a desperate search to not only cure our aching minds, but also in a hope that others WILL notice and in turn save our drowning souls.  

I’ve found, since losing the anorexia persona, depression is a lot harder for people to notice. I keep up a pretty good facade, in an attempt to appear normal, yet on the inside wishing I could let me guard down; fall apart. Because then people would realize something is terribly wrong, and help me. Feel bad for me.

Attention: it’s a devil’s game. 

You’ll never win.

Anorexia, Anxiety, Depression, Life, Personal