Looking Back

Have you ever just sat down and thought about the past?

It’s a typical day, you’re going through the regular motions and then BAM! something happens, triggers a memory.  You start thinking about the week that has just passed by.  The phone calls from friends and family; workday occurrences; things you accomplished and the things still left on your to-do list; that walk you took to the park with your four legged friend.

Or maybe you’re thinking further back.  To your childhood perhaps?  Reminiscing on those long summer days spent outside; the laughs and shouts of your brother or sister, neighbor, or best friend; racing scooters and bikes up and down driveways and the street; games of hide and seek in the yard; daily explorations into the woods that spread out beyond the border of your dead end street.

I had one of those moments recently.  I wasn’t thinking about last week or my ever-growing list of things to do.  Nor those faraway days when I was a bright-eyed youngin’ spending all my free time running about with a friend.  I was thinking about last year (all of 2011 and most of 2012).  When I look back at everything I was going through, what I was feeling and thinking, I can’t believe how different my life is now.  It wasn’t that long ago, but it feels like a lifetime.

I suffer from depression.  I use the present tense because, even though I’m wonderfully happy and more functional than I have ever been, I still have my moments.  I could fall back into that dark place I was a year ago if I stop making an effort.  If I completely stop going to therapy (fat chance, I love, love, love my therapist, she’s hilarious) or if I stop taking my medication (though eventually I’m told I’ll be weaned off it, but that’s still in the slightly distant future).

A year ago my life was completely different.  I barely had a life.  I had friends, sure.  I joined a sorority at my college.  I went out and I did things, but I scarcely even noticed.   I wasn’t even there.  I mean I was there physically (obviously) but emotionally?  Not even a little.

I spent the majority of my time thinking about how much of a waste my life was.  I had no friends.  I wasn’t a fun person, an interesting person, a worthwhile person.  I was boring.  No one wanted me in the sorority or out at the parties or at their table in the dining hall.  This is how I felt.  I believed all sorts of negative things about myself.  I knew that I was nothing and no one.  It wasn’t true of course, but no one could have convinced me otherwise.

I was miserable.  I stopped making an effort to hang out with my sisters, or friends, or fellow creative writing majors.  I stopped leaving my room for anything besides class and food.  And then I stopped wanting to go to class.  I stopped wanting to go to the dining hall for breakfast or dinner because I felt awkward and uninvited at the table.

I hated myself.

I hated everyone else too.  I was stuck down in a bottomless pit of despair and self-loathing, and could see no way out.

I wanted to die.

At least I thought I wanted to.  But those thoughts frightened me.  I didn’t actually want to die, right?  Right?  There must have been a small part of me somewhere that agreed because soon after I started having those thoughts I sought help.  I had weekly meetings with a counselor on my college campus and when I came back home I began seeing a therapist and started my medication soon after that.

Over the past year therapy has thrown me a rope latter and I have slowly started to climb my way up and out of the darkness, and will continue to do so until I have, at long last, stepped out into the sun.

It scares me, when I think back to where I was a year ago, but it also gives me hope that life will continue to get better.

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4 thoughts on “Looking Back

  1. You definitely didn’t want to die. I’ve been in your shoes, even very recently. Suicidal ideation, as strange as it may sound, can seem somewhat comforting; you’re not really wanting to kill yourself, but I found when I thought about it, all those horribly negative thoughts and processes I was subjecting myself to seemed to slow down a great deal. Of course, I realized I needed therapy, and badly.

    Like you, I think about the past. I don’t want to go back and live in those days again, so every day is another day in which I don’t, and I won’t.

    Keep up the good fight, Kyla.

    • It’s true, thinking about killing myself did make me feel somewhat better. I viewed it as the solution to all my problems. You can’t feel the hurt or think about the negative if you’re dead, right? But thinking about it mostly made me realize how serious things were really getting, and that I needed help. And I know now that I didn’t really want to die.

      I believe that remembering the past is the only way not to repeat it. And I’m with you there – I won’t live like that again.

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting!

  2. Dorothy Rowe has written a great book called ‘Depression: the way out of your prison’. I recommend it if you feel like a boost between therapy sessions. And good luck with everything!

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