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.