I am doing much better and I think it is because I hit on why I had a sudden case of depression. I'm a fairly introspective person and I am forever searching for the "why" to everything. To be honest, I think the world just got to me.
Let me explain..... when I was in college I hit my lowest moment ever with depression. I did try to commit suicide and I was hospitalized for 3 days at a local mental health facility and then at a hospital outside of Atlanta for two weeks. In addition to the depression I was suffering from PTSD stemming from sexual assault. I had had my low moments in the past, but for some reason that spring of 2003 was horrible. Constant flashbacks. Terrifying nightmares. Dissociation. And yes, I had even gotten to the point of not bathing. I cared for Hope -- but only the physical aspects. She was fed, clothed, bathed, and I numbly read children's books to her, but I was not emotionally present.
In my post-suicide attempt recovery I was talking with a therapist and trying to figure out what made everything so bad. She randomly asked me about my course work... some English classes.... and a Gender and the Global Environment class. She asked me more about the class and I explained that we discussed different issues each week: Bosnian rape rooms, female genital mutilation, honor killings, sexual trafficking, rape culture, forced marriages, domestic violence, and all of the equally awful discrimination and violence towards gays, lesbians, and transgendered persons. I cried and heaved and sobbed while I explained this class to her.... it was a great class and taught by one of my favorite professors, but it just really impacted me emotionally.
When I came home from class and looked at my beautiful, sweet, vivacious, and trusting toddler daughter and I couldn't fathom how I would ever be able to tell her how bad the world is... and yes bad things happen to boys but the world is just stacked against girls. I felt helpless and guilty. While I ate my eggs at breakfast somewhere in the world a woman was having acid poured on her because she is a victim of rape. When I complained about staying up until 4am to write a paper in the back of my head I felt guilty because ... hey... at least I wasn't forced to work in a brothel at the age of 7.
The world weighed on me. I could consciousness raise, donate money, protest, write, learn.... and it seemed like if one problem of gender-violence was addressed another popped up in its place (pssss... I won't go into my patriarchy + capitalism + heteronormative ideology means that if you are not a 1st world straight white man you're screwed...). What made this information all the more painful is that I know what it is like to be repeatedly raped, mocked, and physically hurt. That vulnerability, shame, and terror is unique. You may be able to feel sorry for people hurt by sexual violence, but once you go through it yourself ... let's just say you cannot even imagine what it is like and trust me, you don't want to. So I'm thinking about all the women and girls worldwide experiencing various types of sexual exploitation and violence and I'm taking the feelings from that nightmare I lived through and I'm multiplying it my hundreds.... thousands.... maybe even millions.
Does it make sense to you why I thought of giving up the world?
I think I've ended up in another place where the world was getting me down but this time it isn't sexual violence ... just the ever presence of death...first Piper died of cancer... and that just wasn't fair.... then a few months later one of my best friends was in a horrific car wreck. She is alright...but initially all I knew was that she had been life-flighted and I had this horrifying fear she would die..... then that tragedy in Aurora struck.
I was horrified that someone would walk into a theater and just start shooting. Why? It makes no sense and it hurts my heart. Then there are two things about the situation that bother me on top of the sheer violence and cruelty:
- Oh let's make it political..... the Left says this is a call for stricter gun control laws.... the Right says give everyone guns! Then James Holmes would have been taken out by the theater audience. Both sides are not functioning in a realistic world and the constant rhetoric is making me nuts.
- In America, we are HORRIFIED when someone invades our safe spaces (home, theater, school, bus, subway) and commits a violent crime. How many times have I read or heard about a bus bombing killing a dozen people in another country and no on blinks an eye? Oh because that's them over there not us... Does anyone care that the Syrian death toll is over 19,000? Humm... anyone? I have yet to met one dratted -- okay I know of one other person -- who is even aware of what is going on on the other side of the world.
Also, a note about the cutting statement: As soon as I published my last post I regretted it. I didn't want anyone to KNOW. I've oddly always prized myself on being a secret cutter. Oh, yea... I'm not one of those slice up my arms so everyone can see and I've mocked showy cutters for their lack of being able to handle the pain on their own. This is fucked up logic... it is like an anorectic mocking a bulimic or an alcoholic berating a heroin addict. I still have an unhealthy problem... it doesn't really matter why or how I do it.
It really bothered me that now I'd told everyone and I was open to judgement. But folks haven't been judgey at all. To be quite honest, I'd thought about "coming out" as a self-mutilator because I get tired of erroneous perceptions of mental illness. Yes, I am a 32-year old professional, wife, and mother of 2.5 kids and I cut. I'm not an emo teen weeping in the corner. Mental illness,depression, addictions, harmful behaviors reach across age, gender, race,nationalities and isn't limited to one type of person. . In fact, I function better when I cut.... I am as calm as a placid lake because I've physically handled my emotions. When I'm grumpy or snappish or critical it probably means that I am not cutting. I'm working on how to better handle my emotions and on dumping all of that guilt/punishment bullshit.
Now I've posted more than I meant (I tend to do that). I am still plugging along and I will be back to regular posting in August. I do feel much better and I feel that I am dealing with things constructively and that really gives me a sense of purpose and hope.
Thanks for being good people and listening!