Growing up an only child, it came natural to me, the feeling of loneliness. In 1992, my mother relocated us to Queens, New York. We lived in a house of many family members so although I was hardly ever alone physically, those feelings never ceased to leave. I had a rich imagination and an affinity for books so solitary play and reading became my escape.
Then I got older. Compaq was introduced to our household. AOL (America Online) mailed the household CD’s that offered 4,000 free hours for one month! Dial-up tied up phone lines and caused many feuds between the teenagers, adults and children in the house. I remember the evolution of Internet in my life. It went from playing online games on Nickelodeon, chatting on AOL Instant Messenger to looking for chat rooms, and making a virtual “diary” webpage. I had something I wanted to tell the world, and I would do it…given that someone would listen. Looking back at my prepubescent years and teenage years, I cried out a lot. Not with my voice but in the only way I knew how to express myself. I wrote.
Writing was an escape. It kept me from feeling lonely. I talked about my reality. I released anger. I had some hateful prose during my teenage years. Life was unfair. I hated my mother. Nothing I did was ever enough for her. If I got an A, she asked why not an A+.
Then I got a bit older. I made a promise to myself at one point that I wouldn’t write anything else unless it was positive. By then, depression had already invited itself into my life but I didn’t have a name for it. It’s not things we sposta say.
When I applied the thought of depression to my life I could always identify my symptoms but my circumstances never seemed to warrant the heaviness and depth of depression. To say I was depressed meant I wasn’t grateful for my blessings. That I was putting myself in a class with people with real life issues. The guilt trip made me feel like it was something I could never say out loud.
Although I’ve only recently come to terms with “claiming” this disease (because if you don’t claim it, you don’t got it, right?) I still think about my circumstances and can’t help but think I’m ungrateful. Depression is so sneaky. It’s a mental battle yielding physical ramifications and it always ends up having you blame yourself for how you feel. I no longer believe it’s something that can be prayed away. I’ve been living with it long enough to say that it doesn’t go away. I have high days, I have low days. One just learns how to cope. And hopefully, applies those coping mechanisms efficiently enough so as not to cause too much ruckus. The ripple effect hopefully is small, and life continues.
And life will…