A Late Epiphany

“Why Am I Like This?”The love story that nobody tells.

Introduction

      The love story that nobody tells, is the greatest love story of all. It is the love story within all love stories. Now normally I am not the type of person you would see falling over the chance to write a love story, but this one is different (isn’t that what they all say). This particular one is arguably the greatest kind of love story there is. You may relate as the story surpasses your typical reading, or you may not. If you don’t, then congratulations, you realized this a hell of a lot sooner than I did. Either way, I hope to God that by the end of this you will feel the way I feel now, or hell, even better.
Pre-epiphany

     I thought I started having major doubts about humanity in ninth grade. At the very beginning of my freshmen year in high school, just a tiny, innocent fourteen year old. A fourteen year old that really, up to that point, hadn’t experienced anything, yet had experienced too much. After doing some thinking, I figured out I was probably having these doubts and lost expectations at a very young age. I had lost people that I thought I needed in my life. My parents got divorced when I was still a baby. My mom remarried twice and divorced both, causing me to lose four siblings and two stepdads, and countless other family members. My father remarried and divorced, causing me to lose a stepmom and other family. At this point, I had convinced myself that people aren’t meant to stay with one person forever. At this point, I had stopped believing in love all together. Quite honestly, I’m still not entirely sure I believe in it now. Because of this, I have never even attempted seeking a true, loving, honest relationship. Of course I’ve had crushes just like any other girl my age, but I’ve never acted on any of them. It always frustrated me, why couldn’t I develop feelings for anyone? Why did I get bored of everyone I thought I liked? I thought for sure something was wrong with me.
     After my mother realized her third marriage was failing, she made several comments about committing suicide, about how my stepdad would have to explain to me that, “your mom slit her wrists because she wasn’t happy.” I was fourteen so I knew this wasn’t right, something was seriously wrong. My mom was not in a good place. She had made some suicide attempts that thankfully, were not very well thought out. This really affected me throughout high school. Was I not enough for her? Did I not make her happy enough? Why did she hate her life so much? I thought that I had been a weight she didn’t want to carry. I truly thought that if I was not so present in her life that she would be happier. Thus, I decided I would move in with my dad, having to switch to my fifth school district. Two months into my freshmen year, I moved. I thought finally I wouldn’t feel like a burden anymore. This fantasy movie I was living in kept playing as I’d hoped until the beginning of my junior year.
     I started feeling the way I did when I lived with my mom, like a burden. I began feeling lethargic and unhappy all the time. I had lost a lot of good friends at that time and felt all alone. I was pushing everyone away, I didn’t want to trust anyone. I was too trusting and had gotten let down far too many times for my liking. I no longer felt like I could confide in anyone, so I didn’t. Instead, I started confiding in alcohol and drugs. They made my feeling of hopelessness go away, and suddenly for a couple hours, I didn’t feel worthless anymore. They didn’t make me feel happy either, they just made me feel nothing. I liked feeling nothing for a little while, I wasn’t nervous, or anxious, just okay. I started telling things to anyone that would listen, I didn’t feel like my life was important enough to keep private. Because of this, I made some not so great friends. They convinced me that getting drunk and high was the key to my problems. That partying and confiding in strangers was how I would be able to move on. Then, my parents discovered the mischief I was getting into and blamed it on normal teenage angst and disobedience. Except, that’s not what it was at all. I was disappointed in myself and hated letting them down, but it made me feel so much better.
     I didn’t feel like myself. I tried to explain this to them, but no, it just HAD to be a “rebel phase”. I had been really hitting heads with my current stepmom. Having to live with her all the time gave me god awful anxiety, and still does. I do not feel she truly cares about me, therefore, I am unable to trust or confide in her, it’s just how I am. I didn’t dare mention this to my dad, because it would be all my fault and even more of a cold shoulder would be turned to me. Plus, I didn’t want to hurt him and the rest of my family. I didn’t like talking to my parents because I thought that no matter what I told them, that somehow I was “overreacting” or “delusional”. There was nothing I could say to my parents that would make me feel better or help them understand what I was feeling. I had told them several times that I needed help, but none of my cries seemed to affect them enough to make them realize that SOMETHING WAS WRONG WITH ME. I no longer feel safe in my home, it doesn’t even feel like a home. I feel like I’m living in someone else’s house. My parent’s/house no longer seemed like a comforting or safe place to be. If anything, I felt safer in some stranger’s house or walking by myself.

     Starting about six months ago, whenever I drove I thought I literally saw another car hit my own. I’ve never had a fear of being in a bad accident, and I didn’t know anyone who was in one either. It felt so real I would slightly flinch or swerve. My heart would start beating insanely fast and my legs and hands would shake so fast that the first time it happened, I had honestly convinced myself I was having a seizure. Everytime it happens I have to tell my body that I’m just seeing it and that I am alive and okay. I also began having a major paranoia. I keep feeling like someone is following me or stalking and planning to kidnap me. Whenever I’m in a dark place I always think I see things out of the corner of my eye. I have a chronic fear of being kidnapped. It has gotten to the point that when I have days where it’s really bad, I’ll sleep for four or five hours during the day so that I can stay awake and alert at night. Shortly after I started to get paranoid all the time, I would wake up from the same nightmare over and over. I’ve had the same exact dream at least fifteen times. It’s always about being kidnapped by three men and never found. I finally escape when I’m thirty-four and by then, my family wants nothing to do with me.
     Whenever I get in trouble my mom always asks me, “why are you so reckless?” I always just say, “I don’t know.” But I do know, I know exactly why. I honestly didn’t care what happened to me, I figured it had to better than what I was feeling. I have these fears yet, rarely think through any precautions. I think it’s because maybe if I actually do experience something horrifying that I’ll feel better about my life. I was in denial, “I’m not like my mom. This is normal. This happens to everyone at some point, right? I’m not really depressed.” I wouldn’t really consider myself “suicidal” and it’s not that I want to die but, if I did, oh well. I don’t think I would ever actually willingly and intentionally end my life, even though during really awful times it crosses my brain. I’m not scared of death, I’m scared of feeling this terrible and depressed the rest of my life. That is why I am so reckless, because I can confidently say that my mind is the scariest place to be; left alone with my thoughts is absolutely terrifying.

Post-epiphany (Kinda)

       I try my best not to show how I truly feel, I have siblings that I don’t want to know that I feel like this. I don’t want them to think this is normal. I don’t want them to feel confused and scared about their constant mood swings, one minute feeling like they can conquer the world, and the next minute feel like their existence doesn’t mean anything to anyone. I don’t want them to think it’s normal to be so stubbornly untrusting and that it’s okay to never feel safe. I want them to see a successful future for themselves, in every aspect possible. I want them to be able to love, to feel loved, and allow themselves to BE loved.     
     I wish someone would’ve explained what this felt like, or how to avoid it. I wish someone would’ve told me that it’s okay to trust. I wish someone would’ve taught me it’s okay to love. I wish someone taught me it’s not okay to be, or feel alone. I wish someone would’ve taught me how to permanently escape this dark fog. I wish someone would understand it.

      I wish all parents knew how to listen to their kids. I wish they knew that their kids were struggling. I wish they were easy to talk to. I wish they were comforting. I wish they didn’t place blame. I wish all kids knew that they cared. I wish they understood. I wish they didn’t tell you that you were wrong when you tried to explain. I wish they didn’t get mad when you tried to confide in them. But they all don’t.
     I wish schools taught more kids about mental illnesses. I wish they taught them how to recognize it, that it’s NOT normal. People spend so much time telling us about how it IS normal, but it’s NOT. Stop telling children it’s normal and okay to feel alone and sad all the time. Stop telling kids that it’s common to think they are worthless. When you say it’s perfectly normal or common or “everyone has it”, it takes away the importance of getting help, or recovering. It is a sickness, regardless of how many people have it. People need to realize they have it, and that they need to get help before they go weeks, months, or years before acknowledging that they are sick and ARE NOT NORMAL.
Conclusion

     The world needs to have an epiphany and learn that these feelings are uncommon, irregular, abnormal, unusual, and noteworthy. Depression is disastrous, destructive, miserable, and God forbid you will ever have to describe it as sometimes fatal. And people need to realize that falling in love with yourself is wonderful, valuable, acceptable, allowed, and hell, so damn satisfying. And it is the single greatest love story of all.

AH