I’m not an advocate for pity. I pined for it relentlessly as a child because life was so hard to understand and more days than not, I was exhausted with fighting and simply wanted warm arms to disappear into. When I did receive the pity I fished for, I realized it did nothing to soothe me; sympathy wasn’t as strong as I had imagined, so fighting was my only option.
My relationship with my mother at the beginning of my adolescence offset years of depression for me and I had no escape, so I had to find ways to balance the suffering with hope. I developed many interests and took on hobbies to keep myself feeling fulfilled enough to counter the blows. Although my mother triggered my depression initially, she wasn’t continuously the trigger throughout the years. Anything that required maintenance had potential to set me off; from the negative effects of puberty to trial and error with relationships, I’d try, fail and repeat until a tough break would snap something in me and I would want desperately for it all to end. For many of those years I had no idea that what I felt had a name or medicine to “fix it”, I chalked it up to the moment and let it go. It wasn’t until I took on an internship at a juvenile detention center that I associated my feelings with depression. I listened to the questionnaires the center’s intakes had to answer and assisted the case workers in their evaluation and in the end, I diagnosed myself as well.
It wasn’t something I took too hard, I imagined that there were many people living with depression that was never officially diagnosed – I wouldn’t allow that realization to further depress me, I just knew it was something I had to beat.
It took a few moments on the edge for me to decide that I would proactively deal with my “condition” rather than continue to wait for myself to fall into it. I took a month, last summer to trace my thoughts, moods, triggers and assessed what I needed to prevent to keep myself above water, it was successful. Since then, I haven’t gone dark once. It’s a big step for me, considering that the winter is generally the hardest to get through.
It took putting my mind and emotions under a microscope to realize how much of my depression was directly relating to my decisions and actions and how much of a role my triggers played. This lead me to distance myself from a lot of people, self serving friends and associates, dramatic family members, stressful lovers – they were all things I had to get rid of to keep my mind at peace and they were all things that I had to monitor going forward. It’s been important for me to keep new associations from quickly progressing to friendships and prospects from prematurely becoming relationships.
Even while micromanaging my interactions, it was easy to let some things go unchecked – making exceptions for stressful men because of potential or revisiting toxic friendships for the sake of not feeling lonely.
I recently found myself in the position to chose between a relationship with a man who needed some work and keeping to myself and maintaining my peace – I chose myself, initially and then began to make excuses for why I should give it a try – lucky for me, it didn’t get anywhere, I don’t know how I would have managed, but there was still a hint of sadness after all was said and done.
But even a hint of sadness, left unchecked, can grow. I wouldn’t let it though, I allowed myself to think about it enough to not avoid it but I would walk myself to the conclusion, each time, that, timing is everything. But while I was talking myself down from that, life came around through the left with the Kansas city shuffle and issued a blow to my chill – loving my mother unconditionally has been a cross made of live wood, growing exponentially with time. She is the only known trigger that I haven’t discarded. She has never been a “go to” kind of mother so she doesn’t even know the task it is being an apple from her tree. I’ve considered, many times, telling her – but I don’t know what that knowledge would do to her.
I allowed my feathers to be ruffled and attempted to put it out of my mind, it’s hardly ever that simple though, so I am writing it out, in this post – hopefully it will help someone else and be worth more than venting.
I often forget, during my times of peace, how skilled we are, as people, at suffering in silence and how fragile and susceptible we are to outside influence. We quietly reach out for positive energy to pick us up when we’ve been trampled by our own existence and often, we’re met with the boot of those running away from their own triggers – it’s not right, but it’s life. If only the amount of cars that drive by our plight and splash water up at us were outnumbered by the ones who would pull over and give us a lift, these moments would be a little easier to climb out of – but you can either wait for a good Samaritan to pick you up and brush off your bruised humanity or you can learn how to do it for yourself. I’d suggest the latter, it’s working for me.
Kimolee Eryn is an artist and writer who believes in creating for a purpose beyond the purpose of creating. She believes that a life should be lived not just to sustain itself but to cultivate peace, love and growth in all adjacent beings and hopes to exemplify that in all she does.