“I start to feel like I can’t maintain the façade any longer, that I may just start to show through. And I wish I knew what was wrong. Maybe something about how stupid my whole life is. I don’t know. Why does the rest of the world put up with the hypocrisy, the need to put a happy face on sorrow, the need to keep keeping on?... I don’t know the answer. I know only that I can’t. I don’t want any more vicissitudes, I don’t want any more of this try, try again stuff. I just want out. I’ve had it. I am so tired. I am twenty and I am already exhausted.” ~ Elizabeth Wurtzel quotes (American Author and Actress, b.1967)
I am 37 years old. I have two beautiful children who haven’t given me a minute of trouble their whole lives. I have a supportive family. I am smart. I am not horribly unattractive. I work hard and have a fantastic career. I can run for hours. I have some unique talents. I am well educated. And I hate myself profoundly.
Why is this? I don’t understand it myself but I am trying to now, finally. I cannot remember more than a handful of moments that I can honestly say I was happy. I have periods of being ‘okay’ more periods of sad and some of total blackness. I hate this more about myself than anything. I can’t stand people who whine and feel sorry for themselves. I despise people who sit around not doing anything for themselves. People who complain and take up my time going over the disappointments in their lives bore and disgust me. But this is exactly who I am on the inside.
I wasn’t raised this way. My family is strong. Every one of them accomplished in their own way. In my family, if you have an issue, you suck it up and deal with it. We don’t have time or the patience for weakness. My family is amazing and has always helped one of the other of us in need, don’t get me wrong. But depression is not something to be tolerated or succumbed to. But I am clinically depressed and am an embarrassment. They haven’t said as much and probably wouldn’t. I have been for as long as I can remember and I am not capable of sucking it up anymore. As Elizabeth Wurtzel said, I am exhausted.
I am so tired of wishing I would disappear. I have gone through my whole life hoping this “one thing” would make me better. Better grades, higher achievement, a promotion, another marathon medal,a better figure, and most intensely…a great love. Love had eluded me and this, I feel, is my biggest failure of all. But if I do something fantastic, I will be okay. If I can find someone to love me. I will be better. But it is never enough. I know even that wouldn’t be enough.
Admitting this makes me sick. But not admitting it makes me sicker. I find myself jealous of cancer patients and dead crime victims. How pitiful is that? But often times I could leave all of it behind and that would be ideal. My children would be taken care of and I would not be stigmatized. I would not be seen as a horrible person. I always thought people who take the easy way out are selfish people. The worst kind of person.
So I cannot leave. I will not leave. But I need help. And finally, I am getting it.
Feeling this way means I am a terrible parent, right? How could I feel like leaving them? Aren’t they enough to live for and to make me snap out of it. Of course they are. They are wonderful and I feel the one reason why I am still here today. But many times I feel like they would be so much better off without me. But in leaving them, I would leave them to always blame themselves because that is what children do. So I cannot leave. I will not leave. But I need help. And finally, I am getting it.
I am beginning to understand this is a medical condition. Not entirely my fault I suppose, even though I feel like it is. Like I am weak. I remember darkness even when I was a child. Even growing up in the ideal ‘Leave It to Beaver’ household. I could not have asked for better in a childhood. Don’t feel sorry for me. Do not look at me with a sad look on your face and ask if I am okay. I will just say that I am fine. I will not burden you with my illness. My mother says I have said even as a toddler that I can do it myself. And I can. I will. I just need to say this. I had to write it. It is time to admit it to get better. This is an illness and I have to believe that.
I will be okay.
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