Staring the Darkness in the Face
Running away is easy. Burying pain behind a forced smile or laugh can became such a habit that it can be done almost without thought. But confronting your demons, admitting that everything is NOT ok, and coming face to face with the darkness inside can be more difficult than actually living surrounded by it sometimes.I had been living amongst the darkness for several years before I even realized that I had a problem. I thought that I would just get really really sad sometimes. It wasn’t until I hit high school that it occurred to me that I might be dealing with a bigger problem than just chronic sadness.
For a long time after I realized that I was indeed suffering from depression, I still tried to hide it when at home. My family is very conservative and my parents set extremely high standards for me and my siblings. The whole get straight A’s, get into a prestigious university and then graduate with honors sort of thing. No where in their immaculate depiction of how their children were supposed to turn out was there room for a mental illness.
Needles to say, I was nearly shaking when I finally did get the courage to try and confront my parents about the fact that I was struggling and needed help. I remember walking up to my mother in the kitchen, quietly and timidly explaining to her that I felt like I was depressed and wanted to get help so that I could get better, and then being met with a look that depicted way more anger than concern. My mother considered what I had said for a moment, and then without much forethought told me that if I wanted to go kill myself that badly, than I should just go do it. Yep. You read that right. That’s what she said.
I was left speechless for a second. Unable to comprehend that that was really the solution that I was getting from my own mother, but from that moment on I did my best just to handle things on my own. Of course that didn’t end very well either, for two weeks after I had the confrontation with my mother my friend committed suicide, and I almost died right along side her. It wasn’t until after my family realized the gravity of how bad off I really was did I actually end up in therapy.
Nearly a decade has past since I first tried to confront my family about my mental illness and because of my mother’s initial response I still find it very difficult to talk to my family about my ongoing battle with depression. Thankfully, I have found other people to reach out to, and I am striving to slowly build a network of people to lean on when things get difficult. Reaching out is still an ongoing battle in and of itself for me though. I have had to hide my pain for so long that sometimes simply burying it is the easier solution. Hiding it behind hundreds of carefully constructed walls where none of it can escape instead of doing the right thing and letting it speak.
Unfortunately though, hiding my pain for so long has made it all the more difficult for my to heal, so I would caution you to try and find someone to open up to if you are struggling. As hard as it can be to admit, there are certain battles that you simply can’t fight on your own.