The Season of Sadness
I don’t remember when my brain got sad. It wasn’t like I woke up one morning and noticed that a melancholy had set in, deep into my bones, and said to myself, “I must be depressed.” All I know for sure is that winter holidays made my spirit feel heavy and growing up - going through middle school into high school - really took a toll on my mental health.
*suicide trigger warning*
I do remember, very clearly, one cold December day after the school bell had rung: I had opened up my locker in the basement of the middle school and found that my uneaten container of apple sauce had spilled open all over my belongings. I had stared for a good long time, not really processing the situation, before laying my forehead against the door of my locker in defeat. I was completely overwhelmed... Too weary to deal with a small mess.
I think it was then that I realized I was in the midst of a season of sadness. I didn’t have the words to describe what I was going through. I didn’t yet really comprehend the meaning of the word ‘depression’ and it certainly never occurred to me to bring up the topic of mental illnesses to a parent, teacher, or even a friend. But I did realized that feeling sluggish, weepy, and isolated was not normal. But those feelings continued on for years. I wrote terrible, sorrowful poetry, I threw myself entirely into schoolwork as a distraction from my circling thoughts, but still I struggled. I self-harmed and developed an eating disorder. I tormented my body, synchronized with my brain tormenting me.
Realizing that my suffering, although seemingly unconquerable, could eventually have an end, came on another cold day. I was sitting on a cliffside near my house (in Oregon where hills and cliffs are many) contemplating jumping. Wondering if I’d die. Wondering if I’d just break my legs.... Wondering if I actually had it in me to go over the ledge. As goosebumps rose on my skin and my breath blew out in a fog around my face I heard a voice, whether it be God, nature, or simply the will to live buried away deep in my heart, I will never know. But the voice said, “Wait. Just wait and see. It gets better.”
And so I walked back from that ledge, crunched through the leaves on the hard ground. I set my jaw, slowly building up the determination that I would get through, I would live to see sunnier, brighter, happier days. That I would wait - wait and see - what life had to offer me, eventually.
Join me next Saturday for a guest feature post!!