The Eye of the Tiger, Part 4

Chapter 4 – Depression
A Five Part Series, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

 

I’ve built walls,
A fortress deep and mighty,
That none may penetrate.
I have no need of friendship; friendship causes pain.
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

Don’t talk of love,
But I’ve heard the words before;
It’s sleeping in my memory.
I won’t disturb the slumber of feelings that have died.
If I never loved I never would have cried.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.

And a rock feels no pain;
And an island never cries.
Paul Simon

Years passed and I carried on with reckless behaviours – drugs, booze, late night walks. My friendships were superficial and guarded. I eventually had long term relationships, but only with impossible men. I felt unworthy of better.

I graduated from university. I had a good job. I bought a house. On the outside I looked how I was supposed to look – successful, happy, energetic and vibrant. On the inside I was still broken, angry, alone, scared, ashamed, guilty and ever silent.

I managed to keep emotionally distant from everyone for years, but then I met my husband. He was everything a man was supposed to be. And I was nothing that I was supposed to be. I was a fraud. And he would eventually find out. At times I hated him and I tried to push him away. But he wouldn’t go.

I was furious at the world. I hated just about everyone. I was still very angry that I had to live through both an assault and a year and a half with an abusive partner. Why? And why was I still alive? Why did I have to be alive? And here I was with a man who truly loved me and I still wished I was dead.

He moved in with me, we got engaged, I got pregnant and we got married. But still in my mind I was a worthless piece of shit that had no business having a happy life. I hated my body and I would punish it. Sometimes I wouldn’t eat for days. I thought that maybe I could starve myself to death. He finally convinced me to seek therapy when the days spent in bed were happening too frequently. The therapy didn’t help me. I had gotten way too good at lying.

We went through years of difficulties – my depression was overwhelming at times. Still I was silent – refusing to talk because I was embarrassed and ashamed and I didn’t want pity. His continual pleas for me to get help made me angrier; they only reminded me that I was broken and needed fixing. I had to heal my way on my own time. Reading this will be the first time my husband learns the details of these events. I hope he will still love me. I still have doubts about my lovability.

It took me a long time to feel like I deserved to have a real life. The way I felt about myself even made me question my ability to be a mother. I felt no bond with my daughters until they were born and in my arms. I am ashamed of that – but I felt nothing. But I believe now that it was just my brain’s way of keeping me safe…in case something happened. My brain knew that I wouldn’t survive another blow.

For years, I struggled with anxiety and depression – refusing to deal with either of them. I often retreated in isolation – pushing everyone away and hiding in my room. I believed that everyone was better off without me; even my children would be better off without me because I was too damaged to give them what they deserved. Fear dominated my life. The cycle of anger and depression crippled it.

I eventually discovered that physical pain relieved the pain in my heart and my brain so I started exercising again. It felt good to hurt. And it was the only time that something hurt more than my mind. If my body hurt, then my brain was silent. I couldn’t get rid of the pain, so I was forced to let it out another way. So I started to run. I still run. It calms my mind and it soothes my still wounded soul. And when I can’t run, my fears become ridiculous in their demands, the pain returns to my brain and the demons get louder – shouting loathsome things at me.

You’re worthless
You’re damaged
You’re weak
You don’t deserve happiness.

So I run. RUNNING is my THERAPY. Most people in my life think I run just because I like it. I do like it, but I also need it. It’s my solace. It makes me feel strong – powerful and invincible. Running makes me feel strong enough to finally let myself feel vulnerable again. When I run, the burn in my legs and lungs just spurs me on because I am reminded that I have survived so much worse. Every mile rebuilds a tiny bit of my soul. Every run is a win for me.

About The Author

SDFMy story began 20 years ago.  It began with a sexual assault – all because I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then my broken soul left me vulnerable to another predator – an abusive boyfriend.  Posting this story will finally end my silence; I will finally be free.

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6 comments

  1. Oh boy can I relate. I’ve been married 10 years and still don’t see how Hubby can love me, or that I’m loveable. I have a hard time feeling. Thank you for writing further about this. xo

  2. I can also relate to this

  3. For me it became a self-fulfilling prophecy where I believed that I was worthless and lived my life like it was worthless; my existence was irrelevant and no one would care if I was there or not. I didn’t trust anyone…most all – myself – and that led to further isolation and deeper depression.

    I am very sorry to hear that others can relate to this…

  4. Your husband will love you and will want to protect you even more. Allow him the space to love you and embrace you and to help to heal you.

    1. It has taken me very long time to let him help. i think the biggest obstacle though has been that we have different ideas of what “help” is. And I think that now he understands better and I have been honest we have no where to go but up and I am excited to take this step in my journey and our journey together.

  5. […] Chapter 5 – Acceptance A Five Part Series, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4 […]

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