Depression: Dealing with the Hard Stuff

Just looking at that title I’ve used makes me cringe, but I don’t know what other words to use.  Trying to figure out my thoughts before going to see my new counselor tomorrow.

I always feel like I’m not worthy of saying that I have trouble dealing with problems…. it feels like there are a hell of a lot of people out there that have much bigger problems to deal with than I face.

But is that what depression is all about?  I was diagnosed with clinical depression seven years ago when I was 18.  I’ve always felt that I had been battling it since I was much younger.  I was never really a stroppy child.  I only remember having one incident of teenage anger when i was about 16 years old.  It was to with something about the housework, I remember vacuuming and being sent to my room because I was violently assaulting the furniture as i pushed the vacuum cleaner around.  That was the only extreme outburst of anger that has left a lasting impression on me.

There were incidents of intense sadness once I reached intermediate school.  I had trouble making new friends after leaving primary school.  Most of my primary school friends had gone to different intermediates and the ones who had gone to the same intermediate as me were in different classes.

There was one night while on camp in Form 2 / Year 8 where all the other girls in my tent had gone to another tent with the rest of the girls from my class, but I was invited.  I stayed in my tent and quietly cried.

It was a little easier to make friends once I got to high school.  There was a group of about twenty of us.  I got invited to parties, going shopping etc but I never really fully connected with anybody, and I’m not friends with any of them now (except for Facebook, but that doesn’t really count).

I dropped out of school near the end of 7th Form / Year 13.  I wasn’t going to pass the final exams, so I didn’t really see much point in staying.  My parents agreed I could leave school if I found a job with semi-decent hours.  Luckily, I was already working part-time and was able to get my hours increased.

Once I was working, I decided I would be happier if I moved out of home and moved in with my second boyfriend (S).  What followed was emotional abuse, with him lying and arguing with me constantly (which he has since apologised for).  While still with him, I started a fashion design course.  Got three-quarters through the first year when I dropped out, around the same time I was diagnosed with depression.  It didn’t help that the first meds I was put on was Prozac, I couldn’t get myself to leave the house.

Broke up with S and moved back to Mum and Dad’s.  Changed to Aropax.  Got a new, full-time job.  Things were looking on the up, then I got made redundant after working as a receptionist for only three months, a month before Christmas.

I was still on medication at this time, but I stopped going to counselling.  I found it way to easy to lie to my counsellor (a problem I still have today).  I wanted to appear stronger than I was, had this silly notion that getting help was weak.  My subconscious still thinks this, even though now I now that it’s actually a show of strength to ask for help.

While looking for a new job, I started going out with AC, who I met through the old MSN chatrooms.  After three months, I found a new job (the one I still have now).  The office manager at this new job was/is a bully.  She makes herself seem smart by making others feel stupid.  Didn’t help so much with my self-confidence issues and I nearly lost my job after a year.  The rate of staff turnover at that place is stupidly high.  Anyway, she’s much easier to deal with now that I’m working from home while I’m at uni, and luckily she’s going to be on maternity leave when I go back to working in the office over summer.

Moved in with AC after being with him for ten months, got engaged at the same time.  Once we moved in together, I seemed to have lost my right to have an opinion unless it was the same as his and he certainly didn’t like me going out by myself.  I was at a friend’s hen’s party on the same night as the groom was having his stag party, with both groups meeting up partway through.  I didn’t want to spend time with him, as I was having fun with the girls (and actually enjoying some freedom for once).  He lost it and came very close to hitting me in front of everyone.  I left him a week later after the wedding.

I’m still pretty sure AC was cheating on me with an ex of his during our relationship, hence all of his mistrust.  In saying that, I did sleep with a mutual female friend of ours while we were still together, after he kept changing his mind over whether he was ok with it or not.  I was 19 and wanted to see whether the attraction I felt towards women was true.

There was also a lot of lying about various other things on AC’s part, found out later he was claiming unemployment and going out all day when I thought he was going to work.  I also ended up paying for rent, power, food etc.

After the breakup I kinda started what I thought was a relationship with my best friend, B (not the same female friend as above).  Turned out I was a lot more into the relationship than she was and we had a falling out.  I was left feeling used again.

About three months later I started going out with a mutual male friend of ours, T.  The relationship started out pretty good, so I thought at the time.  Looking back I realise there were warning signs everywhere, he even had my mother fooled.

Moved in together a week after I had my gall bladder removed.  I had stopped all antidepressant medication by this stage.

Once T and I were living together, everything changed.  He lied all the time.  Claimed he couldn’t get a job and was put on the sickness benefit.  After I kicked him out after living together for two years, I found out he had actually been working when his work posted some pay slips.  I opened them because there was no return address on the outside and I didn’t have a forwarding address for T.  He was getting all this money for himself while I was paying for rent, food, power, even registration for his car.

He used to hide things around the house, said and did things to make me think i was going crazy.  He hated me spending time by myself with my family and constantly accused me of cheating on him.  Where he thought I had time for this, seeing as I was either at work or with him was beyond me.  I did find out after we broke up that he did cheat on me though.

Breaking up with T was the best thing I’ve ever done.  It was getting to the point that I didn’t want to go home after work and be around him.

Mum and Dad had moved away out-of-town by this point, so I lived by myself for a couple of months.

This was the beginning of my “slut phase”.  Slept with several different guys, including one who was my flatmate for a short period of time.  Became a mistress for one guy, BT (fell for the old “of course I’ll leave her for you, just give me time” trick).  Fortunately I only waited for a couple of months.  Unfortunately before I called things off, BT actually anally raped me, though it took me until about six months ago to realise what he had done was rape (I said no, he went ahead and did it anyway).

Surprisingly during this period, I didn’t hook up with any women, though it wasn’t for lack of trying.  I just didn’t really know how to go about it.  I was more experienced with meeting guys, so meeting guys was easier.  Although I’m more experienced with meeting guys, all of the ones i did meet in this time were through NZD, except for one who i met on a bus trip.

Shortly after this I connected with J through OkCupid.  We met in person after talking to each other online for about a week and there’s been no stopping us!!  We’ve now been together for just over two years and got engaged early this year.  He’s the one who encouraged me to go to Uni, seeing that I was getting completely bored and stressed with my job.

Unfortunately, once I started back at Uni, full-blown depression started creeping back up on me and I was off to the doctor to get some antidepressants again (first Citalopram then Effexor).  I managed to get through the preparation course, but the first semester this year was a complete failure.  I kept getting repeated sinus infections then I had to get a tooth removed.  Result, mental breakdown due to being overwhelmed.  Failed entire first semester.  Virtually no one knows this though.  J (at my insistence) and I told both of our families that I did fine.  I didn’t want to appear as a failure, specially not to my Mum, having already failed fashion design.

While I have done somewhat better this semester, the earthquake and several strong aftershocks have really put a spanner in the works.  I don’t like leaving the house, I know that my house is safe if there is another large aftershock.  I just get so overwhelmed feeling.  I had a panic attack on Wednesday and couldn’t go to my final Political Science test, luckily I’ve done all the assignments for the paper, so I should still pass with aggregate.

It all links back to my burning need to be liked by everyone, to please everyone.  When I do my best and I still fail to make friends, it causes me great pain.  I can’t figure out what I’m doing wrong.  Why is it that I can only make connections with people online? Even those only seem to be half-hearted, I feel like I put in an awful lot more than I get back.  I let myself be used, let people do anything to me, in hope that they will like me.

I still don’t feel that what little I’ve been through really justifies why I get so overwhelmed, why I spiral down into my deep black hole.  there are thousands of people out there who have things a lot worse off than I do.

10 thoughts on “Depression: Dealing with the Hard Stuff

  1. i think that is why depression is depression – it isn’t the circumstances but our reactions to it.. i’ve dealt with depression and probably mania since i was about 13 years old.. and i’ve realized after being on an anti depressent that actually has worked for me, that it isn’t the flow of events, but just the ability to respond to those events. and it isn’t something that you can explain to someone who doesn’t have depression, or who has never suffered from it…or that you could explain to someone even who had never really been ‘ill’ in any way. the ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps’ mentality doesn’t always work, and in fact can put a lot of guilt on someone w/ mental health issues (like me), rather than just treating the bloody disease and letting us get on with our lives.
    i hope your new counselling session works well & gives you the relief/ perspective you need..
    big hugs to you…

  2. While I don’t have depression, I’m fighting an anxiety disorder; the end result on my emotional life has been very similar. I let my left revolve around trying to make everyone happy, letting myself be used, and feel awful when I can’t get the friendship I need. I get overwhelmed a lot.

    I’m saying all of this to tell you that I know where you’re coming from. I know how it feels to think you don’t deserve to feel overwhelmed. I keep reminding myself that yeah, other people may not fall to pieces, but you know what? They’re wired differently. They don’t suffer from my mental illness. I can’t hold myself to that standard any more than I can expect a diabetic to deal with blood sugar swings with just willpower.

    Sometimes I can even make myself believe that; those are really good days. I hope this helps you, even a little bit. Good luck with your new councilor! It’s hard starting a new therapy relationship, but it’s worth it.

  3. It helps to know other’s are going through the same thing, makes me feel a little less crazy 😛

    I need to start having good days again, hopefully this new counselor will help with that. Going for a male counselor this time, I need someone who will be blunt with me, who will actually realise when I’m lying. I wouldn’t do it if I knew I couldn’t get away with it.

  4. It takes real courage to put it all out there. I hope it has made you feel even the tiniest bit better to have gotten that off your chest in a public domain.

    Depression can be extremely detrimental on somebody’s quality of life, and it’s so important to persevere in dealing with the issues surrounding the past and the present. Even though you’ve dealt with so much in your past already you still have long life ahead of you. We all hope that in that time it all gets better and that life truly becomes what you want it to be.

    While there are still many uncertainties surrounding the future, you’ve made some great starts and should be proud for realising and confronting your demons.

    Stay strong 🙂

    – Wil

    • thanks Wil 🙂 you certainly are one of my oldest friends, even if it is only online

      are you happening to be coming through Christchurch over your summer break?? I think we’ve known each other long enough now to actually meet 🙂

      Good luck for your exams xx

  5. Honey… your honesty and matter-of-fact-ness slays me. I don’t think I could ever be that up front and honest about my battles with depression and bulimia. I have to justify and explain everything away.
    You’re awesome. I know next-to-nothing about you but I know that for a fact. Stay strong. xo


    • we should really do something about not knowing much about each other over summer 🙂

      i’ve tried doing the justifying and explaining things away, along with the good ol’ plain burying things under a hard, thick slab of no emotion. I’ve been doing it for so long, that my Mum thinks I’m just not that emotional. It only works for a while thgh (and I’m surprised how long it has worked) before the cracks start to show. Burying stuff under that slab sure is a hard habit to break.

      I think it’s important to be honest, that the only way the stigma comes off these types of things, when you begin to realise that it’s not only you, but others suffer from the same types of problems you do

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