I recently joined a support group for people just out of toxic relationships. Obviously because of COVID, we can’t physically meet, but I already feel so welcome in our online community.
Joining a support group has been on my mind for a bit. Last spring my mother offered to take me to her friend’s support group. The group was for people who were abused and survived.
A few days ago I decided it was time to find people who have experienced what I have. The choice was scary. I thought I wouldn’t fit in. I thought my story would be nothing compared to someone else’s. But, I also knew that wasn’t true. So, I researched and joined a group that seemed like a good fit.
I have anxiety. I have depression. And I have been emotionally abused. I’m not perfect. In fact, I have done things abusive too. Not intentionally, but still. When I was reading into emotional abuse, I could check off the red flags I’d seen like a list. Some of the examples would stick out, because they made me think. Pull away and observe. Like I said, I’m not perfect. I can be jealous and insecure. I can have unrealistic expectations. And I don’t always handle rejection well.
But I also know that I have been blamed, endlessly. I have been gaslighted and made to believe everything was my fault. Because I am so insecure, because I question my worth–I blamed myself too. Terrible things have been said to me. Cruel words have been used to define me. The person I love the most, who I trusted, used my emotions against me. And chipped away at my heart multiple times.
I say love, because I still love this person. I’m trying not to, but that is a difficult task. You can’t turn your heart off like a switch, although that would be convenient.
I am not happy. I’m still struggling and falling into depressive episodes. Honestly, the past few months just seem like one continuous one. I still love the person who hurt me the most, but am also trying to move on.
I know my support group is going to help with that. These are people who have gone through hell, yet have seen the light at the end of the tunnel. These are people who I can trust and believe that I too can be happy again.
It’s a scary thing. Being open and vulnerable to strangers. But, I can only hope it will be enlightening too.
I have thalassemia. I have a genetic blood disorder.
I would fill the bowl up with blood and clots. I have heavy menstruation.
I need to wear glasses. I have astigmatism.
Sometimes I wheeze or my chest feels heavy. I have asthma.
And, I have chronic depression. I have a mental illness.
Each of the above conditions take a toll on me physically. Including my depression. It is an illness, a disorder, an affliction that I must deal with. Just as I deal with my anemia, eyesight, periods, & breathing.
It does not go away like the common cold, after sipping warm tea and sucking on cough drops. It doesn’t even go away with medication. It takes a lifetime of rewiring your brain to accept and move forward from internalized traumas. To train yourself into loving who you are. To breathe through the nonstop onslaught of aggressive verbiage. To exercise the will to live even when every part of your brain is screaming for you to disappear into nothingness.
My depression is an illness. I do not believe there is a cure, but there are treatments and therapies that help. Just as there are for my asthma and anemia.
Depression is not something I choose. Although it may have grown from how I was nutured, I also know it’s been carried down by nature.
I accept this as my truth. And I try to not let it hold me back, just as I try to move forward with any other issue my body must indure.
I accept that depression is part of who I am. But it’s not all of who I am. It does not define me. And it should not be used against me.