Tag Archives: depression

Shaming

This… This is heartbreaking.

I don’t see anything constructive in these videos that parents take where they shame their children as punishment and then they post them online for EVERYONE to watch and laugh about. Isn’t it funny? Isn’t it just hilarious to watch a child be punished?

Cutting off someone’s hair as punishment seems especially cruel to me. Yes, hair grows back. Yes, it’s not like it physically hurts the child. But MENTALLY? Having your hair cut against your will is something that is meant to be demeaning and dehumanizing—even more so when you’re a teenager and your appearance is so important to you and your hair is your identity.

The incidents in history where women forcibly had their hair cut or their heads shaved just… I really hate that people are looking at this and other instances where parents are posting videos online where they do this to their children and laughing about it. There are other ways to go about disciplining your child that DON’T involve bullying.

Because that’s what these shaming videos are. They’re bullying.

It’s bad enough that other adults will bully children—that someone with authority over you will pick at you until you break—but to have your parent do the same? That formerly safe environment of home no longer feels safe.

Once parents publicly shame their children for bad behavior, it opens the door to the child’s peers for more bullying, and that will only make the situation worse. Because without that safe space of home, there’s no escaping feeling like a failure or feeling ugly.

Parents. Please. TALK to your kids about their behavior. Try—just TRY—to have patience with them. Don’t shame them for their actions. Humiliation is not constructive.

Apathetic Way To Be

The things that I take on
I soon shrug off
’cause I know no one
Will ever be content
With the way things are
Or with what they’ve got
So I’ve given up and now I’m just indifferent

-Relient K

So, I’ve reached that point.

I have a sketch that I started on the day before Christmas Eve. Today, I stared at my closed sketchbook for five minutes going over the merits of actually making myself pick it up and finish it. And I couldn’t bring myself to care at all about it. Instead, I left it on my shelf and went back to reading fanfic and not feeling much of anything.

Am I sad?

No.

I just don’t care.

It is so much easier to just sit here and do nothing. There is no risk of being told that I’m not experienced enough. There is no risk of me being dismissed as some ignorant thing if I stay in my room and keep to myself. Hell, it’s hard enough to write a goddamn post about this because I know—I know—that someone will read this and call me lazy. Call me a coward. Think I’m weak.

I am weak.

I know I am.

Strong people aren’t this hard on themselves. Strong people don’t feel such intense self-loathing. Strong people don’t sit in apathy and feel comfortable in it.

Today, in therapy (yes, I am getting help), I talked my way through where I felt I’d taken a wrong turn in life. In high school, I took creative writing classes and I loved them. I also wanted to do something with fine art, and my advisors all told me that graphic design would be my best bet to avoid being a sterotypical starving artist. This wasn’t said to me quite as explicitly as that, but… Being told that there is almost no market for illustrators put the kibosh on that kind of thinking. And everyone was telling me that graphic design was close to the same.

God, how I wish I’d taken that other turn in life. Gone left instead. Creative writing and novel writing… Perhaps the same thing would have happened. Perhaps I’d grow to feel drained and lifeless at the idea of continuing down that path like I have with my current path.

But maybe they wouldn’t have…

As it stands, there is no use in thinking of the “what ifs” and “if onlys.” It’s a fruitless exercise that just makes me feel lost and useless.

That’s not true. I was already thinking “what the fuck is the point” before the “if onlys” started. And “what the fuck is the point” has shifted quite easily into that dangerous state of mind. Apathy. The “who the fuck cares” point.

You’ll see me laugh, make jokes on Facebook and Tumblr… But it’s like being tickled. I can’t help but react. The reality is that the feeling fades very quickly and I’ve had lots and lots of practice at hiding how I really feel.

All this probably sounds a bit on the scary side of things (what with how such strong apathy is that dangerous precusor to acting on suicidal thoughts), but I need to write it out. Or put it out there. If anything, just to explain why I haven’t been around lately.

So… Yeah.

Setbacks

So, I started seeing a therapist.

It’s helping a little, but there is still quite a large part of me that looks long and hard at my life—at where I am at my age (28) and thinks of what a complete failure I am as an adult. I can’t help it. Yes, there are people who love me. Yes, I am receiving support that a majority of unemployed people my age aren’t getting. My parents are supporting me. I should consider myself lucky. I should feel a measure of happiness.

All I can feel is empty. Like I shouldn’t be here. I’m a mooch. I can’t get work because this headache (I still have a headache after that concussion in January) and the severe depression make it difficult for me to get out of bed each morning. It probably sounds like an excuse to some people. In fact, after reading comments on articles written by people who still live with their parents, I feel like I am one of those people. A drain. I don’t contribute, so I have no worth.

And so returns that old friend, Self Loathing. The oily sludge that slithers across the back of my neck and digs it’s thin tentacles beneath my skin to take hold. To remain close and whisper horrible things to me. “You’re just a waste. Things would be better for everyone if you would just go away. Does anyone even really need you?”

For a disgusting sludge monster, Self Loathing certainly has a seductive voice.

It’s going to be hard to pry Self Loathing loose. Its hold is deep and I’m weak. Sometimes, most of the time, my weakness worries me.

I’ve tried to apply for disability. I don’t qualify. I’ve tried to apply for Medicaid. I don’t qualify (I would if I had a child). Seeing those rejection letters… To put it in a succinct version of their terms, I do not make enough money for them to help me. I am too poor for financial aid. I am too poor in general.

And so I live with my parents. I go to therapy every week any pay for my appointments out of my parents’ pocket.

And Self Loathing twines its cold, greasy tentacles further beneath my skin and squeezes my spine. “Just do it, Jenn. You’ll save a lot of people a lot of financial trouble. Sure, they’ll mourn you—but will you really care? It’s not like you’ll be around to see it.”

God, I need to talk to my therapist.

I’m Not Okay

Old Man in Sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity), Vincent van Gogh (1890)

Old Man in Sorrow (On the Threshold of Eternity), Vincent van Gogh (1890)

I’ll start by saying that I’m going to be incredibly candid in this entry. I wrote a few things down as they happened, and I’m just going to paste the text in here. It’s easier.

November 16, 2014

I’ve done something today that I swore I would never do again. I set everything up on the bathroom floor—Q-tips, Peroxide, bandaids, disenfectant cream… I pulled my sweats down, cleaned off my pocket knife, and started cutting a line in my thigh. Not fast—I scored a line and went over it again and again until I had a deep enough point to start flicking through the tougher layer of skin. I spent fifteen minutes just digging away at myself, cleaned the wound, slapped a bandaid on it, cleaned my knife, and went into the spare room to go through some boxes that needed going through.

As I tested the bristles of old paint brushes and tossed aside dried out bottles of pro-white, my thigh stung. And I felt nothing else. I moved like a zombie until I had all the good supplies organized and put away in proper places, then I curled up on my bed and started crying.

I am a failure.

I have bills that my parents are paying for me. My mother is angry with me for not finding work. I am angry and disappointed with myself for choosing to be an artist when there is no real way for me to make a career of it. The work that I see when I check the Internet is for unpaid internships and one-time-only jobs that pay terribly.

Why did I do this to myself?

Why did I ever think that art could be a career where I’d feel fulfilled and useful?

I want so badly to give up. I want so badly to just kill myself and leave this feeling of failure behind in nothingness. What stops me from actually doing it is the knowledge that my mother would be devastated. That my very good friend would feel horrible. That they wouldn’t understand why I did it.

I can’t stop crying.

I can’t take this. I hate myself so much. I hate the decisions I’ve made. I hate my materialism. I hate that this self-loathing is so crippling that I put things off—because why bother? Why bother when, in the grand scheme of things, nothing I do matters? I am just here for debts to be made. I am worthless.

I made an appointment with a therapist.

November 18, 2014

I realized today that I don’t have enough money to pay for therapy. And I had a complete breakdown about it. I called the counselor’s office and explained to them that I was uncertain about what I could do about this. There was a lot of crying on my part, and I must have sounded hopeless to the receptionist. I certainly felt it. After a few questions about where I was mentally, I admitted to cutting myself and that I felt like I might be in a dangerous place mentally. She asked if I thought if I needed to be hospitalized and I said that I thought I might. After saying a few things I can’t remember, I hung up and went downstairs, completely freaked out about everything. Mom had me call them back and confirm my appointment and then someone was a the door.

They called the cops on me for a wellness check.

The officer spoke to me for a while and, seeing that I was with my mother and not alone, she gave me her card and wrote some information on the back about mental health resources in the county area. She and her partner left and I felt like a complete asshole for scaring my mom like that.

November 19, 2014

I went to my appointment. This new therapist is nice and seems to listen to me—she thought that my other therapist spending an entire session looking on Craigslist for jobs I might be qualified for was inexcusably rude. I go to see her again next week.

November 21, 2014

I have $17 in my bank account. They charged me $5 for having an account at all.

I can’t do this anymore.

I cut myself again today. I used an X-Acto knife because it’s sharper. It didn’t hurt enough.

God, I hate myself so fucking much. I’m a failure. I’m broke. I have a spending problem. I can’t live on my own. I just want to stop. Stop everything. I don’t deserve the people who tell me I’m worth it. I’m not worth it. I’m nothing.

I’m just taking up space that someone so much more accomplished and competent could occupy.


I see my therapist again on Wednesday.

On Suicidal Ideation

To call someone a coward for taking their own life is cruel. To tell someone they should just kill themselves is cruel To not consider the internal suffering someone has and then call them selfish for taking their own life is cruel.

Though the loss hurts deeply, one must consider how much pain this person was going through to lead them to the point where the only way out of it would be to take his or her own life.

I once had a plan. I was going to take an entire bottle of pills and fall asleep, never to wake up again. I kept thinking about this plan. I started to seriously consider going through with it a while ago, and decided to call a suicide hotline instead. I spent about an hour talking to this stranger about what I was going through—my depression, my recent head injury and how I didn’t feel like myself anymore, my constant headache, my apathy toward things I used to love… He talked to me long enough that I realized what a bad idea suicide was.

But, despite knowing that, the thought will still run through my brain at random.

It doesn’t have to be triggered by anything. Sometimes, I’ll just be sitting in traffic and I’ll think: “People would have it so much easier if I wasn’t alive.” The fact that I want to kill myself has nothing to do with feeling sad for myself. No, it’s the absence of any feeling towards myself at all. I don’t care what happens to me. Because I don’t matter. Not in my mind.

I think about how much easier people would have it, and then I think about how they would miss me when I’m gone. That usually stops me. Usually. This other day when I called the hotline—nothing was working. I was going to go through with it. As I sit here and write this, I have to ask myself: what was it that made me call?

I suppose a part of me had some genuine curiosity about what someone says to you on the suicide hotline. And, while I wasn’t in the frame of mind to retain information, I do remember thinking that they needed better hold music.

Having dealt with suicidal ideation on more than one occasion, I can empathize with those who go through with it. Hopelessness and that loss of control are powerful and draining. You can put on a front of being a carefree and happy person, but that one part of you that feels nothing doesn’t go away. People think you’re fine when you have your good days. They think you’re over it. But the reality is that you aren’t over it at all. It lurks. It is the slimy mass of self-hate that is latched onto your back, burdening you and draining you at the same time.

And when you hear people say things like: “this person was a coward” or “this person was selfish” when suicide is discussed, it simply helps to validate those feelings you have about yourself. That you are a coward. That you are selfish. And it leads to having those thoughts again—that the world would be better off with one less selfish coward.

Suicide is not about your feelings. Naturally, you will feel grief and so many conflicting emotions about it, but you were not the one who felt so lost that the only way to stop feeling like nothing at all was to kill yourself.

Stigma

Screen shot 2013-11-26 at 2.07.08 PM

To start, let it be known that I have depression. Technically, it’s “Major Depressive Disorder,” but, whatever.

Here’s the thing about depression: It’s not “being sad.” Depression describes the sensation of utter apathy toward everything. Eating, drinking, watching your favorite television show, writing, drawing, being awake—everything. When I’m in a depressive episode, I just want to sleep and ignore the world. If I miss my medication, not only does it make me feel like my skin is about to crawl off of my body, but I feel like nothing. I feel like, not only do I not matter, but nothing around me matters. I simply exist, and I loathe myself for taking up any amount of space.

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