I’ve suffered from depression for as long as I can remember, I was diagnosed at the age of 8, next year will mark 15 years of clinical depression. My parents never believed it, they refused to pay for medication or therapy, convinced it was an act. I can only imagine that admitting I had a problem would mean admitting they were the most likely cause. I don’t have bad parents, they try, I think. My mom has never really been there, 22 years old and I can’t remember once getting a hug, or a kiss, or so much as a reassuring word from my mother. My dad is an emotional roller coaster, one second he could be joking around and poking fun, the next he’s upset and screaming, sending me to my room or spanking me because I didn’t respond well to his joke. At the age of 12 I tried to hang myself… the rope snapped, no one ever knew. My dad continued to berate me over the smallest things. Words like worthless, disappointing, failure, and loser became the truth I saw about myself. To this day they whisper at the back of my mind, they fill me with doubt and convince me I’m not worthy of love, or forgiveness, or kindness, convince me that people hate me, that I am and will always be alone. That doubt has stopped me from doing so much in my life, which only gave me more regrets and more doubts.
In eighth grade I found out that my only friend in the world, the only person I could turn to, the person I looked up to and loved more than anyone, had killed himself. I had never even known he felt that way. He had always been the kindest and happiest person, I had never felt worthy of his friendship, and now I never will be able to tell him how much he meant to me. I felt so betrayed, so hurt, so utterly alone, I washed down a bottle of pain pills with a six pack of beer I stole from my dad… I became violently ill. After that I shut everyone out, I burned every bridge I could. I yelled at people, called them names, threw things, hit people, everything I could to be left alone. I hated being alone, but I never wanted to feel the pain of loss again.
One morning my freshman year of high school, I told my mom how I felt, told her how I wanted badly to hurt myself, how I wanted to die. She didn’t believe me, she was convinced it was an act. I begged and pleaded for her to believe me, the I wasn’t lying. She responded by reaching in a drawer, pulling out a steak knife, slamming it down on the table and yelling “JUST DO IT THEN!” I just sat there, and that was all the proof she needed. I didn’t cry, I didn’t scream, I sunk into myself, built up walls around my heart, I put on a mask. My mask, the face that has all but become my true face. No matter how I feel I can put on my mask and appear perfectly fine, even to those that know me best.
High school passed relatively quickly. I never dealt with any drama, mostly because I never really knew anyone, never really did anything. I never did any clubs, any sports, anything. I went to school, went to class, talked with people as little as possible, then went home. After skipping graduation so I didn’t have to see any of the people I had met I decided I wanted college to be different. I got into U of I for mechanical engineering. I went down, moved into my dorm and did my best to make friends. And to my surprise I did. I quickly became close friends with a girl, we did everything together, we went out to eat, went on walks, spent long amounts of time just the two of us in her room. I was so happy. Everyone was sure that we were dating, I at one point got questioned on the matter while hanging with a group of guys. I was sure we weren’t and said so. Still, I let a little part of me consider it. So I asked her, she said we were just friends. I was fine with that and thought it would be the end of it. A week later, after her blowing me off several times, I was informed that she had told everyone in the dorm that I was stalking her. And worse everyone believed her, even those I thought I was good friends with. I sunk into one of the worst slumps of my life. I hid in my room, I didn’t eat, barely slept, never went to class. To make matters even worse, a month after that I received a letter from the deans saying that a complaint had been filed against me. Someone had accused me of threatening to stab them. After meeting a few times and getting to know me the advisers decided it was a bogus claim. But the damage was done, now everyone at my dorm, including my own roommate, believed I was stalking this girl and that I had threatened to stab someone. I started going out and walking around all night, then sleeping all day. Never eating in the mess hall, avoiding everyone like the plague. Christmas break came around and I was worse than ever before, but I put on my mask and smiled and told everyone I had done well. In early 2011 I put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger… my only saving grace, my own stupidity, I had put a full clip in the gun but hadn’t chambered a round. I tried to work up the nerve to pull the trigger again, but I couldn’t.
Not long after that I found out I had failed out of university. I wasn’t surprised. I started going to community college and living at home. Back under the same roof as my parents. I barely tried, there hardly seemed a point. My life was pointless. I went through every day wishing that I would be t-boned, that I get cancer, that I would just cease. I continued to shut everyone out. I stopped going to class over the smallest of things, I missed an assignment, I scored low on a test, I would’ve been late, or I missed a day. Life slowly progressed. I barely managed to pass on class out of three or four each semester.
The fall semester of 2012 is when everything started changing, that semester I met three girls, Sam, Stacy, and Emily. All of whom I quickly became good friends with. The semester progressed and I was passing all three of my classes, it was a miracle. I tried to pursue Stacy romantically, she rejected me. She then went on to accuse me of bugging her at her work, the public library where I spent most of my free time reading. I had run into her one time and simply said hi, apparently enough for me to be cornered by the librarians and asked to only come back with adult supervision. Once again I had been betrayed by someone I thought had cared for me.
Despite this I was determined to have things be different. I continued to hang out with Emily and talk with Sam. Soon me and Emily started dating, my first relationship. The next semester came along and me and Sam still had classes together, we continued to be good friends. Fall of 2013, a year after meeting her Sam told me she found me creepy and didn’t want to talk to me anymore. I was devastated. One of my only friends, and she had thrown me away like I was nothing.
This year, 2014, has been one of the longest years of my life. January went by without much incident, but in February Emily broke up with me, I was beside myself, I didn’t know how I would go on without her. In March I got my first job, slicing meat at a deli. In April I turned 22, an age that hit me like a brick wall, I felt like I had wasted my life, that the last four years added up to nothing. In May I met Mary. In June I kissed her. In July I went to the renaissance faire for the first time in my life and found my home, a place I was accepted, where I belonged for the first time in my life. In August I started my second job, clean up in a market, while still working my first job, there I have made several good friends and been reunited with some old friends I thought I had lost forever. In September I found out that after months of kissing, holding hands, hanging out, and getting to know each other, Mary had no interest in me and had only been leading me on… I don’t know why, I’m not sure I want to know why. In October I worked at a haunted house, I loved every minute of it, it felt so good to be among people that accepted me without question or hesitation. I belonged for the second time in my life. In November I decided to try a dating app, not long after that I ended up being stalked by a girl, she found me on facebook, somehow got me cell number and berated me with texts and calls, ranging from loving to controlling to angry, all of which hurt my already damaged psyche. I managed to block her on facebook, and had to block five different numbers that she would call and text me from. I was just about done with dating as a whole. In December I met a girl on that same dating app, we hit it off. We liked the same things, enjoyed talking with each other, could joke easily, she was perfect. About a week into knowing her I found out she had lied to me about her age. She had told me she was 19 but I later learned she was 16, I never did anything with her and am glad I didn’t. We hung out once but only talked. I’m still kinda heartbroken over that. I don’t know how to feel to be honest, part of me feels betrayed, but a part of me doesn’t care. It doesn’t help that I still have those words whispering in the back of my mind telling me I deserve whatever pain I receive.
This year has seen me grow so much more than I thought possible. I have been knocked down like never before and have managed to get back up and keep going. I have found places and people that make me truly happy. I have been lead on, lied to, stalked and left. I still often feel like my life is pointless, like those around me wouldn’t notice if I was gone, or that they may even be better off if I was. I still contemplate my own death, I still wish sometimes that something would just end my existence. I don’t know how to love myself, I’m not even sure how not to hate myself most of the time. I don’t want to be sad anymore, I don’t want to just sit by and let myself feel like this. For the first time in my life I feel like I’m meeting the real me, like I’m finally becoming whole. I don’t know what 2015 will bring. Probably plenty of heartache, lots of sorrow, hardship, pain, suffering, but also joy, friendship, happiness, growth, change. I hope I can continue to get better, I hope that at this time next year I am a man reborn. I hope that my story has a new chapter.