I’ve decided to do a series of blogs on Clinical Depression. Twelve years ago (approximately), I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression and was on anti-depressants and going to therapy. It affected me, my family and my friends in ways you would not be able to imagine.
Part one of this series is one of the major experiences I had when I was in the midst of this stage of my life. It’s written in the first person, since it was my experience, and I am attempting to take you through the events and the way I was thinking at that time.
It was my twenty-first birthday. I had spent the day with my friends and we had decided to go to my home to cut the cake my mother always bought for a family birthday, change and go for dinner and drinks. My new boyfriend was with me. When I reached home, I saw what I perceived to be a pissed off mother sitting at the kitchen table – seemingly waiting. I’m not sure what happened next or why either of us reacted in this way, but we ended up in a screaming argument in the kitchen.
My father walked into the middle of the argument as he got home from work and (
unwisely) asked what the argument was all about. The all encompassing wrath I had been holding within myself came out onto both of them. I accused my father of only caring for himself and money and that he only thought of us as some sort of collateral to show off to the world. I told him he was the most selfish person I’d ever met and to stay out of the argument.
That was when all the disappointment, frustration and wrath my father was holding within him came out. My mother had to physically hold him back from hitting me. He accused me of being ungrateful, he accused me of being lazy and informed me that everything I owned he earned. That shook me, but the wrong way.
I took my cellphone and anything else valuable I had on my person and put it on the table in front of them. I turned to my father and then malevolently said “keep it…” and walked out of the front door. I had no plan, but the gate was open so I walked out of the gate – and kept walking. It was already dark. I had no destination but I just needed to keep walking. The cool night air encouraged me to keep going…..the neighbour’s dogs barked constantly but I ignored them and just kept walking….the adrenaline required my movement….the huge bubble inside me was threatening to dangerously explode….and I needed to walk….I just needed to get as far away from there as possible……
I am not sure yet to this day why I chose to go to there. I started heading for the “clubhouse”, a mangled bunch of bamboo we used to play in as children, but it was so dark that I didn’t dare walk through all of the overgrown bushes in the old playground to get there. Instead I collapsed onto the concrete floor of the recently built shed. It was there that I broke down. I do not know how long the hard sobs wracked my body, but when I finally came to some semblance of sanity, I found myself lying on the cold, cracked concrete floor.
My eyes had gotten used to the dark and I noticed lines of ants walking all around me. The steady military-style rhythm of the ants calmed me down. I put my finger and broke one of the lines, wondering if they were biting ants. They were not. They just strategized for a few seconds and walked around the new obstacle. I do not know how long I stayed there staring at them, but it was only when I noticed my body cramping that I sat up. The tears would not stop. I was no longer hysterical, but it was as if I had no control over my tear ducts. Every other time I had cried, I was able to somehow stop it. This time, no matter what I did, the salty water in my eyes kept spilling down my cheeks.
It was only at that time that I realized I had left my boyfriend sitting at the kitchen table with my parents. He had witnessed the entire thing. I didn’t care. He would just call his parents and go home. I would see him another time. He knew where I was coming from – he was on the same anti-depressants I was on. We sometimes shared our pills when the other forgot to take them.
Why did he attack me? Where was the cake? WHAT HAPPENED?! These questions swam around and around in my head, prompting more tears, more wails, more of the small tantrums I was experiencing in my own private hell in the middle of no where. The neighbouring dogs wailed with me every time, disturbed by this mass of confusion that had come into their midst.
I do not know how long I stayed on that concrete floor, but I do remember hysterically laughing at one point because it all seemed so unreal. Things like this did not happen to me, they did not happen to this family….I even tried pinching myself thinking it was all just a realistic nightmare. My insanity had taken over and I was not in the least bit logical. I even tried to sleep, thinking I’d spend the night out there, but the concrete was too wet and hard. The sounds of the frogs were freaking me out and adding to my personal hell. I wondered if this is what crazy felt like.
I decided that I was going to carry out the plan my boyfriend and I had come up with – but I wanted to do it on my own. I needed to get back to Canada – but I didn’t want my parents involved, I didn’t even want them to know. I needed money. I needed a friend. I decided to visit my neighbour, who was my confidant when I was younger. He was quite wealthy and no doubt he would lend me the money to flee the country. I would pay them back eventually. Somehow. I trusted that he would keep me hidden from my family and help me get on a plane away from this place that had suddenly become alien to me. I hadn’t spoken with him in years, but I believed that our connection from childhood would be strong enough for him to support this crazy plan. Yes, that was what I was going to do.
I went to his home and rang the bell and he answered. He let me in but as soon as I saw him when he came to greet me I broke down crying..and collapsed on his driveway….I don’t know what he must have thought. I remember him helping me up but I cannot remember how I reached into his living room. I kept telling him not to call anyone at my home and he didn’t . His mother brought me water and I lay on his sofa with my head on his lap, my tears soaking his pants. I didn’t even know why I was crying – part of me just was, the other part was that part of me realized that I had done something so bad that my father had physically attacked me – and I didn’t know what it was. I seriously did not know what it was.
Eventually somehow, my neighbour convinced me to call home – or his mother called home and brought the phone for me. I cannot remember these details too well. I refused to speak with anyone except my older sister – and after a long time I finally told her where I was. She came immediately. My boyfriend, who was still at the house, came with her. He had not gone home even though this was now hours later. He had called all my friends who were supposed to meet me and cancelled dinner. He had called his parents and let them know that he would be home late and would need them to pick him up. I switched laps from my neighbour to my sister….who eventually convinced me to come home. I cannot say much about it because I don’t know what convinced me to go home. Something my sister said. I know I came home and did not say anything to either of my parents. I did not even want to wake up to see them. I did not ever want to see them again.
The next morning, I woke up early but stayed in my bed for 3 hours, just to avoid seeing her. I would have to apologize, that was the way it was in this house. She was always right, and she would take no blame. I would have to if I wanted the next few months to be bearable. I had to leave this place. I no longer belonged here, I wanted nothing to do with it. The only realistic way, was to go back to school and make a life for myself without anyone linked to my childhood home…..It took all the energy and all the willpower I could muster to get out of bed…..
That night was the turning point for me. I decided to bring myself out of the hell of depression not because I was hurting people, but because I was so angry with everyone around me that I felt as if I needed to get away from them. The only way I could do that was to go back to Canada. The only way I could realistically go back was to go to school. So I did – but the story was not yet over….
Please have a look at Part 2 on Escapism and Part 3 on what the Caretakers go of a depressed person goes through. Also, please have a look at Part 4 where I give advice to the family members on how to get through this difficult time.