Back to the Beginning

I haven’t really written anything in a while, because to be honest, I’ve been having some pretty good days lately.  But I know that’s just a temporary thing: with my type of depression, I can be riding high and suddenly crash and burn.

But those of you who have read this blog (and shock of all shocks!  I actually have people reading what I write!!!) might be a little confused, because I tend to allude to things that have happened in my past but don’t explain.  So I thought I’d write a little bit of my backstory, in an effort to keep this blog up and running (not to mention it’s good therapy).

Looking back, if I had to pinpoint an age at which my depression first manifested itself, I would have to say it started at around 10 years old.  A lot of things happened to me that year.  I was told the truth about why my grandmother kept me but kicked my parents and sister out two years previous, when we had all been living together.  It turned out that she had had legal custody of me since I was 18 months old.  When I was 5, she had gotten into a bad motorcycle accident and wasn’t physically able to care for me, so my grandfather had given me back to my parents.  In the interim, my grandmother healed, divorced my grandfather, and when I was 8, we’d gone to live with her.  It didn’t take long for my father’s violence and alcoholism to bring her to breaking point, so she told them to leave.  But she kept me, because she had the right.  Nobody explained this to me at the time, but when I was 10, the truth started to come out.  (I suspect because the family thought that at 10, I was mature enough to understand at least the basics of the whys and the hows.)

My father was also sent to prison that year, for abusing both me and my sister.  (Kind of explains that mini post before, doesn’t it?)  I wasn’t put through the trauma of having to testify against him, mainly because he plead guilty.  But I had gone through a lot of interviews with psychiatrists and lawyers, and that was traumatic enough.  Not only because of what he’d done to me, but because when he did it, he’d threatened to kill my mother.  I believed him.  So when everything came out and I was questioned, I was terrified of saying anything for fear that it would come back to bite everybody on the ass. 

Then I made a big mistake.  I didn’t know it would be a mistake at the time, but it turned out to be something that would haunt me for years and years.  There was one girl in school, named Kristin, that I thought was my friend.  She lived pretty close to me, and she invited me to come over to her house to play.  While we were playing, I made the mistake of telling her about what my father had done to me.

Within a day, it had gotten all around the school.  I wasn’t just asked about it, it was thrown in my face.  Suddenly, people would shout at me, “at least I didn’t fuck my own father!”  I had trusted this girl with something that haunted me day and night, and she used it against me in the worst way possible.  For weeks and weeks, I would come home from school every day in tears, dreading the next morning when I would have to go back and face the abuse again.  It was sheer torture.  And the worst part was that these kids assumed that I must have wanted it to happen to me; they never questioned Kristin’s motives for telling them what I had told her in confidence.

Now that I look back upon it with over 16 years of having a diagnosis and understanding a little more about why my brain does this to me, I think it was stress, largely.  A ten year old child subjected to abuse like that is naturally going to feel stressed.  But if that weren’t enough, I also somehow managed to keep my grades up while in the midst of my abuse.  The lowest grade I got that year was a C (and if memory serves correctly, that was in Gym).  And not being able to talk to anybody about it due to shame put even more stress on me.  It’s hard to hold something like that in, you know?

That’s when the depression really started to hit.  I didn’t want to go to school and face my tormentors, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell my grandmother what was really going on, either.  I just knew she would blame me for trusting somebody with my deepest, darkest secret.  It was all my own fault, really, for daring to trust someone.

Eventually, it got too much.  I came home from school one day – in those days, I was often on my own, because my grandmother worked two jobs just to keep a roof over our heads – and decided I would end it all.  In one of the highest cabinets in the kitchen, there was a bottle of pills that had belonged to my other grandfather (not the one she was married to, my mother’s stepfather, whom we had lived with before moving in with my grandmother when I was 8).  I didn’t know what they were, I just knew that they were for his kidney problems (he’d been on dialysis for years).  And I knew that any medication, taken in large doses, could be fatal.  So I pushed a chair over to the cabinet, climbed up, and got the bottle of pills down.  I sat at the kitchen table with a big glass of Kool-Aid and took every pill in the bottle, one by one.

The strange thing was, I should have been scared or at least nervous, but I wasn’t.  I felt numb.  All I could think of was that my pain and torture would be over.

But I was wrong.

I laid down on the couch after finishing (and hiding) the bottle of pills, waiting for death to come for me.  I lay and wait… lay and wait… and….

nothing happened.

I didn’t even get sick to my stomach.  Absolutely nothing happened.  My grandmother came home from work in the early evening, and it was just like any other day.  Only it wasn’t just any other day.  I had tried to kill myself, and it hadn’t worked.  I was absolutely devastated, because it meant that I would have to face more torture at school.  But still, I didn’t say anything to my grandmother.  She didn’t find out for years about what was going on.

But, I have to admit, something good happened that year, too – although it was much later on.  When we went back to school after summer vacation, there was a new girl: Sheryl.  She was a quiet, shy girl with long dark hair and warm brown eyes.  I saw her one day, looking lost, and offered to help.  She became my best friend, and didn’t give two shits about what the other kids at school said about me.  For years, we were inseparable.  We drifted apart when we got to high school, but then became friends again a few years later.  And I still call her my friend.  We’re not as close as we once were, obviously, but in all that hell, one good thing came of it, and that good thing is still in my life.

So I guess it’s not such a bad thing that my first suicide attempt failed.  🙂

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~ by nuckingfutz on November 11, 2007.

One Response to “Back to the Beginning”

  1. Guess who just brightened up my day? 🙂 Thanks a lot!

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