Depression took years to get me cornered. A lot of people might have mistaken many points in my journey as a place of depression, but they would be wrong. They would be misusing the word. I was definitely sad, even heartbroken many times, but that wasn’t depression. It took years of repeated battery of my heart to finally turn to depression.
The end of my middle school years marked the first time my heart was broken. I was in eight grade and I had a “thing” with a boy at my school for the whole year. We slow danced at the middle school dances and I am pretty sure he even kissed me on the cheek once. At the end of the year he wrote me a note, a real paper pencil note, and told me that he had to move to Kansas, but that he loved me and would come back for me in four years when he graduated.
My little middle school heart obviously didn’t know what love really was – and neither did his – but I was still elated. This boy was so taken by me that he was willing to wait four years and then come riding in on a white horse to sweep me off my feet. Wow. That’s a lot of commitment for a middle school boy. Too much, as a matter of fact. Two weeks later he went on a two day trip to DC with many other eighth graders from my school and came back with a girlfriend.
I was just crushed. Had he not told me he loved me, had he not promised himself to me only a couple weeks prior, this still would have hurt. But he did, and that made it hurt so much more. What it told me was that I was not worth the wait. I was not worth the fight. He was not that captivated by me.
Fast forward to the summer after my freshmen year. I met another guy. He was three years older than me and I still wasn’t allowed to date, but we were just really good friends, right? While I was at a summer camp that year, God told me that I should not be involved with this guy. When I told him that, he didn’t take it very well and eventually I just decided to ignore God’s voice telling me to back off.
We “dated” for a year and a half. At the end of that first summer he had gone to volunteer at a camp and told me that he cheated on me, and I had my heart broken all over again. But he assured me that it would not happen again and I let him back in. He was a senior that year and he chose to let a scholarship at a better school go to stay close to me. Shortly after that I told him I needed to end our relationship and something changed in him.
For the next few months, by day he would tell me how much he loved me and wanted to be with me, talking about our future. At night though, he would tell me things like, “I hate you,” “You are stupid,” “You are ugly,” “You should just kill yourself.” Months of this. Until one night when I was at the movies with some friends and was not responding to his calls and texts, he threatened to come in and make a scene if I didn’t come out and talk to him. I did. He yelled at me as I walked home and when we got there my dad came out on the porch and told him he was not welcome to come around anymore. I had just turned 16.
My junior year my best friend since seventh grade was changing. I didn’t really know what was going on, so I didn’t press her. After a few months of this, she came out and told everyone she was gay. That was weird for me, but it wasn’t like I didn’t want to still be her friend. Her girlfriend convinced her that since I was a Christian that I was definitely judging her, so she cut ties with me. Everyone assumed, since I was a Christian, that I was the one to end our relationship, so they “chose her side.”
So, here I am in my senior year of high school: broken, lonely, vulnerable. It was at this point in my life that I remember telling a friend that I was just done feeling. I just felt everything so deeply and I didn’t think I could bear anymore heartache. I couldn’t handle the internal whispering that I was not enough. That maybe that guy was right to say those things to me. That I didn’t deserve friends anyway.
I couldn’t leave my heart open and vulnerable for one more minute. So that was it. No more emotions. I was not going to let anything affect me. And that right there, my friends, that lack of feeling and sense of numbness, that is depression.
Check out a post about how my depression feels here.