Thursday, March 19, 2015

Forgiving The Bullies of St. Callistus - #1000Speak

When I first started this blog last May, I recounted some humorous childhood anecdotes in a series of posts. The stories are funny to me now, but as a small child, they were anything but laughable. The reality is, I suffered a lot of misery in grade school and junior high. At the time, it hurt me deeply and it made me cry. I say “it” when I should say “they”.

They hurt me deeply. They made me cry. It wasn’t a “thing” that made me suffer. It was other children, specifically other little girls.

For years, I used to say I got picked on or made fun of in school. I didn’t have another name for it. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I realized that I was in fact bullied all those years ago.

In comparison to the horrendous acts of bullying that take place nowadays, my experiences were nothing. But when you are the little girl going through the torment day after day, it feels monumental, no matter how insignificant in comparison to others.

Throughout my life, I’ve thought about my bullies more than I’m sure they’ve thought about me. I remember each and every one of their names…Chris, Loan, Laura, Nicole, Tina, Tricia, and Maria.

When I joined Facebook, I looked up every single one of them. I carefully studied the pictures of the ones I found. I tried to imagine what their lives are like now. Are they happy? Are they living a fulfilling life? Has life been good to them? But my curiosity goes beyond their personal well-being. Because what I really have wanted to know is:

Monday, March 16, 2015

The D Word

So here’s the deal. I’ve battled depression for the last 15 years. It is something I’ve wondered if I would address on here since it is one of those shameful, taboo subjects. But it’s a part of who I am and something that I know a lot of the population deals with. So I’m sharing with courage, because I think it’s an extremely common condition that many shamefully suffer through silently. I personally know a lot of people who suffer from depression – some of them are probably unaware that they do, but I see all the signs. 

Depression has probably been a part of my life since 1986 after my mom died, but back then I didn’t even know what it was so it’s hard for me to say for sure if I was clinically depressed. I do know with complete certainty that I officially began battling depression in 2000 after the loss of my unborn baby, Gabriel. The grief and despair I felt after losing him was so life-shattering, that I spiraled down, down, down to the lowest of lows and I couldn’t climb back up out of the dark hole I was in, without the help of medication and therapy. 

I have always been a deep thinker and a deep “feeler”. I never learned the skill of numbing out my emotions. I never ran away from them. I still don’t. When something happens that hurts or upsets me, I allow my emotions to run their course. I never understood how there are people who can turn off their feelings about something. My friend Maya used to tell me that she could switch her thoughts like she changes the radio station. If something happened that she didn’t want to think about, she was able to just not think about it and think of something else instead. What?! That is such a foreign concept to me! I don’t know how to do that but there have been so many times I wish I could. Instead, when something happens or when I have a revelation about something, it consumes me. I face my emotions head-on and allow myself to feel it all – grief, sorrow, frustration, anger, etc. Hence, the depression that creeps in. 

What I have learned in the last 15 years, is that depression has many faces. I used to think depression meant being sad all the time, crying non-stop while curled up in the fetal position. After I lost Gabriel, my depression looked like what I just described. But as infertility and other drama and injustices unfolded in my life, depression took on a new look. I learned that my anger, irritability, lack of energy, withdrawal from my friends and family, desire to escape by sleeping a lot, and the loss of interest in doing things I enjoyed were all symptoms of depression too.