Something great has happened to me since living in Germany-I’m discovering myself. It’s been emotionally grueling for years, but now it’s utterly rewarding because I’ve found an understanding of why I feel the way I do. And for once I’ve finally had the time to focus on myself to really analyze my thoughts and feelings.
WARNING: This is all true.
Some of the feelings I have about myself on a daily basis can be negative and in turn can reignite dark moments that I’ve had in the past or in the present. I wake up everyday wondering why I’m like this and how I got this way-so dark and dismal. It sucks. I try to live a lifestyle nurturing a positive attitude while uplifting others, but sometimes it gets difficult because I feel that I’m not honest within myself. I can’t expect myself to lift other spirits while my mind is diluted. With that, I feel that I’ll never be fully healed of my depression. Even so that some of my friends and family don’t even know that I’ve been struggling for years. I don’t like to talk about it and I certainly don’t tell people about it. As any person knows when actively living and pursuing any type of lifestyle staying consistent can be tough when dealing with personal issues. My thoughts and my emotions and my personal hardships get in the way so often that it seems like my body and mind are fighting a war that I can’t win. But if I can’t win then I’ll at least put up a fight, and try to help myself. I have to. I need to. This is why I decided to explore myself; so I can begin to live happily.
My depression is no joke. I must conquer it everyday. I was about 12 years old when my parents and I started noticing that my thoughts weren’t happy nor typical of a child. It started out slow but progressed as I got older. I didn’t care about anything or anyone and I completely alienated myself. In middle school I’d come home after school, go into my bathroom, lock the door, cry and sob for hours on end about something stupid someone said about my face, my weight, my hair, my teeth, etc. and then I would write about it in one of the journals that I left in my bathroom closet. It was practically my after-school ritual. I would write about how I felt, ask why people were so mean, how did I become so hideous, etc. All in hopes that it would make me feel better, and unfortunately it didn’t. Plus sobbing in my bathroom was the lesser of the evils I encountered in middle and high school. I just didn’t want to be living. I was frustratingly tired of feeling alone and sad and mad. I kept thinking and telling myself that I can’t be like this. I’m a kid! When I got older my habits changed but my thoughts and feelings didn’t. In fact, my first semester of college I was going to school in San Antonio and went to classes but never took a note. Then after school I would exercise vigorously for three hours, and eat only chips and salsa for dinner. To make matters worse I was in an unstable and unhealthy long distance relationship. This relationship lasted too long and therefore created massive turmoil within my family and myself. I didn’t study and I didn’t go out and I didn’t make friends. I didn’t care that I didn’t eat nor do well in school. Nothing mattered. I never talked to anyone about how I was feeling or what I was going through because who would care? Things appeared to be fine from an outsiders’ point of view even though I was a distraught and depressed mess inside. I wasn’t ok. My self-esteem was completely shot as it had been for years, and to make matters worse within those short four months in San Antonio I lost 20 pounds and was emotionally and mentally screwed up. I wanted to feel good and be happy but it was easier said than done. I would think of ways to stay away or get away, but it didn’t help. I didn’t want to go to a doctor or take pills or go to therapy or any of that because I didn’t want to believe that I actually had a problem; I thought I was just “growing up”. I was wrong. I had no idea how to conquer my thoughts and feelings without being negative or harmful. I was lost and had no idea how to help myself. Something had to be changed. My depression was consuming my life.
After years of trying to figure out, without professional help, how I became depressed and stayed depressed I found the answers were staring me right in the face. The two biggest sources of my depression are my acne and my weight.
It was no mystery that I started developing at a young age. I was wearing training bras in the second grade and noticed my first stretch mark on my hip in the third grade. I also had an crooked top jaw and various gaps in my teeth which resulted in over five years of orthodontic and dentist work that began at age 12. I was undergoing puberty and I was hideous. This was just the beginning. My face and weight were hit the hardest and instantly; blemishes started to pop up on my face and my weight increased significantly. This was also the same time Mother Nature made its mark on me. I was 11 years old. I was miserable. I’d wake up everyday with various, huge, red, sore knot-like pimples everywhere on my face, chest and back. Pustules, blackheads, whiteheads then dark scars. For my acne and weight combination I tried everything in the book from changing my diet to over-the-counter meds to expensive TV regimens. Nothing helped or worked. Then at age 13 my parents and I got helpless and desperate so they started taking me to multiple doctors for my acne. Finally after years of various doctor visits I was diagnosed with severe chronic acne. I didn’t even know that was a real thing nonetheless an actual diagnosis. My face hurt so badly and nothing the doctors gave me or did to me worked, whether it was topical or oral. I quickly became discontent and infuriated because my face and body weren’t being healed by anything. I would cry every morning before school or before going in public because I was afraid of what people we’re going to say or think. I hated it. I kept thinking how this was even possible; there are cures for cancer but not my acne?! My awful face mixed with my weight gain caused me to think that I was the ugliest person in the world simultaneously inducing low self-esteem. How could anyone look at me? I was a monster. Then one day when I was 14 years old my father had enough. He found one doctor through countless phone calls and tireless research. This doctor did significantly help treat my acne but even he said it would be hard to cure without harsh drugs. He along with other doctors said that I’ll have acne forever, and I’d have to work at it daily. It’s in my blood and I’m infected for life. I just want it all gone and done.
This is how I help myself daily without professionals:
From those vivid moments and experiences, I gathered that it was harder to stay hiding away from people than it was to actually get up and try to fix it. I had to find a better way to live while I battle my depression because the things I’m doing, saying and thinking aren’t healthy. To help treat my exterior I must monitor what I eat and what I put on my face. I don’t drink or eat dairy products. I seldom eat breads and white starches. I have my own skin regimen that I created and it works better than anything I’ve tried. I make my own masks and toners with all natural, organic ingredients. The only unnatural exception is an OTC, dermatologist tested face wash and bar soap. But treating my exterior wasn’t an answer for treating my interior. To help my body and mind inside, every single waking day I have to tell myself that I’m not the only one and I’m not the worst off and that I have no reason not to be happy. I think of happy times and places, my family, my friends, my accomplishments, my fortunes, etc. Then I take a minute to relax and breathe so I can reduce any other kind of excess stress I might have from the day. Another huge factor that helped me heal inside came into my life later but right when I really needed; John has been my outlet to open up to about absolutely everything. He’s never judged and always encouraged. I’m utterly grateful for him. Again the things I do on a daily basis are no cure and I know that, but it’s just what I to do because it actually helps me.
So what is the connection between my depression and the understanding of myself?
Well, for the first time in years I’ve finally had time to reflect and find an inner peace. I’ve done a lot of thinking about myself and my life thus far. For the first time in my life all I have to be responsible for is me and John. I don’t have school to stress with nor a job. I don’t wake up sad or start my days crying like I used to. I’m completely engulfed in understanding myself but not in a conceded way, but rather in how I can make myself, others and the world around me better. Everyday I’m finding myself, my real self, just like I always said I would. I know what I want, what I like, what I want to do, who I want to be, who I want in my life and how I want to live my life.
I still cry. I still write. I still have pimples and extra weight. But I must admit I feel that my depression has lessened and is lessening everyday and that’s all I can ask for.
P.S. I’m open to questions and suggestions, but please no negativity. It took a lot of courage and time for me to write this nonetheless make it public. Thank you for your discretion.