Before I begin, I just want to say thank you for taking the time to read my story. It's not easy to put it all out there like this, especially when you're just trying to be objective and factual. Yes I know that's my job as a journalist, but when you're dealing with yourself it can be hard to remain neutral.
Now for the continuation of my battle with depression...
I admit, I could have handled things better. I could have walked away from the drama, the lies and the hateful words. I could have said "Screw you!" and killed that bitch with kindness....
But I didn't.
Instead, I tried to fight fire with fire. I became petty, mean-spirited and ugly on the inside. Remember the movie "Mean Girls?" When Caddy's character started becoming "plastic?" No? Here's a video clip to remind you.
That was me. I was turning into Lindsey Lohan's character. I could feel people getting tired of me talking about it... about her. I could hear the frustration and boredom in their voices... but I just couldn't stop talking about it. The whole thing hurt me so much. It made me question myself, my beliefs, my inner strength and beauty until I became nothing more than an empty shell of myself. To put it simply, it broke me.
This continued for years. Yes, years. I wish I could say I was kidding-- but I'm not. I became paranoid by mutual friends of mine who still spent time with this girl. I was jealous. And I was spiraling into an even deeper depression. I completely isolated myself from all the friends I had made in Eugene. I stopped making an effort to see my friends in Montana. Hell, I missed out on several weddings... and more importantly, several opportunities to get positive encouragement from people who actually loved and cared about me. And what about my camp friends? Those relationships had been pushed into the attic.
I started surrounding myself with people from high school who weren't good for me. People who spread vicious rumors, called each other heinous things behind their backs, who were shallow people. And those personalities just continued to feed the monster of a person I had become.
Jason and I also started fighting more. Violently. Throwing tables, breaking mirrors, hitting and punching and kicking each other. We called each other horrible things and screamed so much our throats were raw. We hid our awful relationship behind half-hearted smiles when we saw family and friends... we faked smiles in our pictures during dates and trips together-- when not more than 2 seconds before taking those pictures, we had been screaming and yelling at each other. Thinking back on it, we should have ended things... but we were both too weak from the emotional beating life had given us.
This darkness I was in also took it's toll on my relationship with my best friend. There were very few people in my life at that point that I had considered a true friend. And Justine was definitely one of them. But because I had pushed everyone else away, and shut all of my other relationships down-- I leaned on her way too much. I had my Vulcan death grip on that relationship-- and I wasn't about to let it go. But I was also paranoid that she would leave me too. And I was jealous of her ability to bounce back from a horrible life experience and come out the other side a happier, better person.
My neediness and paranoia eventually led to a huge falling out with her. One that we've recovered from, but not fully. I'm honestly embarrassed by the way I acted and the things I said, still to this day. I'm not as open with her as I used to be. In fact, I'm not that open with anyone in my life the way I used to be. And it was with that realization that I knew I'd hit my emotional rock bottom.
--Admitting I Needed Help--
Admitting you have a problem is never an easy thing to do. In fact, hearing you have a problem, that you need help, that you're not acting like yourself is not easy to digest. It took me a while to really admit that I was in trouble and that ... gulp... I needed help.
And admitting the latter didn't come easily.
There were a lot of crying fits... and even a few times I thought about ending my life to get away from the pain. I never thought I would ever hear myself say that, let alone share it with the world. But it's the God's honest truth. I would do anything to get away from this sad, dark and lonely person I had become. ANYTHING.
Scary right? Believe me, seeing it written out like this is giving me chills...
It wasn't until Christmas last year, that talking to someone became a real option for me. Jason's sister, Jenny, is a therapist. She talks about her job all the time-- but for some reason hearing her talk about it that particular night really struck a cord in me. It got me thinking, Maybe talking to someone could help me. Before meeting Jenny, I didn't believe in therapy. To be honest, I thought it was for crazy people. People with real issues, not people like me who just had crazy friend trouble. People who needed therapy had real stuff going on in their life, big issues they were dealing with.
But then, wasn't I dealing with big issues...
Do violent screaming matches, lost friendships, unexplained fatigue, loss of enthusiasm toward life and thoughts of suicide count as big issues?
It took me another two months to muster up the courage to call my doctor and make an appointment to discuss depression. I finally had to admit to myself that I was tired of being sad. I just wanted Kerstin back. I wanted the light, the fun, the happiness back. And even after admitting that to myself, it was still hard to describe my symptoms to the doctor, without crying and feeling a tad bit embarrassed.
Through this process so far, I've learned there's nothing to be embarrassed about. People get depressed. And having suppressed some of my feelings over the years hasn't helped much in my case. But it's getting better. After about two months, I'm starting to feel more like myself. I'm getting out and enjoying life more. And I will say it's been very helpful even with my weight loss goals. It's much easier to get up and work out and eat better when you actually want to get out of bed.
But like I said at the beginning of this post yesterday, I am no where near 100%. I still have my days of sadness, and I still have issues to work through. But the point here is this: I am working on myself. I am taking control of my life, again. And I am refusing to let myself enter another decade half-assing my emotions, my career and my relationships. I want to be strong, independent, happy, healthy and driven again. It took me 4 years to get here-- 4 years of pain, 4 years of tears, 4 years of utter loneliness to recognize there was a problem and I needed to do something about it.
Part of why I wanted to share my story with you is because I believe it's part of my journey to a healthier and happier lifestyle. I can lose all the weight in the world, but that won't change my outlook on life unless everything else is in balance... emotions included.
I also wanted to share this story in case there were any others out there who are dealing with depression. You're not alone. And all of your feelings are legitimate. I know therapy doesn't work for everyone, and neither do anti-depressants. But the combination of the two are working for me-- and you never know until you try, right? I certainly didn't.
If you have any questions about depression or think you may be suffering from it, please contact your doctor. That's the best resource to begin your journey to getting better.