There was a dark corner in the living room where the dark heavy book case was. I used to squeeze myself between the bookcase and the wall. Here, curled up in the dark, I dreamed of running away. Sometimes I wished I never had to come out of my little corner, maybe if I squeezed myself small enough, I could disappear, just evaporate into the darkness somehow. Either way, I was sure no one would miss me. They might not even notice I was gone, except when they started to fall behind in housework.
I thought about death so much that I didn’t realize that wasn’t normal. Didn’t everyone wish they had never been born? Didn’t everyone think that the world would be a better place if they didn’t exist?
Maybe God wasn’t as displeased with everyone else as he was with me. I was so sinful it was pointless to try and redeem myself. I couldn’t look in the mirror, I was too ugly and worthless.
Sometimes I held a bottle of pills from the medicine cabinet and thought about swallowing a bunch of them. Or maybe jumping off of some high place like a highway overpass would be a quicker way to go. I read a news story of two teenage girls who committed suicide by hiding inside garbage bags on the railroad tracks. They died when the train ran over them.
I wished that I could be as brave as them.
I wrote a will in my journal. Bequeathing all my toys and books to my little siblings and cousins. I told myself that the will was just for fun, but deep down I wanted them to know I had loved them if I wasn’t around to tell them anymore.
More than once, I tied a plastic bag over my head, and sat with my chest heaving as the air in the bag ran out. A strange thrill would rush through me as my vision started to go black…
But I couldn’t go through with it. I always ripped the bag apart before I passed out.
When I got my driver’s licence I fought the desire for death again. Every time I approached a long curve in the highway, I would look to see if a truck was coming the opposite way. Staring at the Semi coming towards me, I gripped the steering wheel with both hands, fighting with my mind. It would be so easy to let the car drift into the lane of oncoming traffic. A quick swerve into a two-ton truck would be sure to end it right? It was a relief to park the car when I arrived at my destination.
The depression didn’t magically end when I got married, I had the husband and children I had always wanted, that I had been told I was created for, but the urges still surfaced sometimes. Post-Partum depression hit pretty hard, even though I refused to admit it. I would find myself in the kitchen staring at the knife block, how hard could it be? Wouldn’t my husband and my baby girls be better off without me?I found myself struggling with bizarre and terrifying thoughts of harming my new baby, something I could not rationally imagine ever doing to my beautiful children. I didn’t want to acknowledge where the nightmares and depression were coming from.
I told myself what I had told myself for years. I was bad. I was sinful. I wasn’t praying enough, reading my bible enough, seeking god enough. These thoughts, this depression, was all my own doing.
Two years ago I started unwrapping the onion for the first time. Digging through the past, the self-hatred, the anger, the messages that told me I was worthless.
Now instead of dark weeks and months with the random good day thrown in here and there, I have weeks and months of good days, with a random down day thrown in here and there. Now I am learning what it means to love life. I know what unconditional love is. Sometimes when I walk past a mirror, I actually look, and I no longer hate everything I see. This past spring was the first time I had a baby and didn’t have massive Post-Partum Depression. Even on my down days, that grip of death is gone.